Dumbstruck by the
dump truck driver

Mpho Morudu’s journey is an inspiration to many young women who want to challenge the status quo by pursuing opportunities in male-dominated industries.

The 39-year-old from Bochum, Limpopo, is currently employed by Catnis as a dump truck operator transporting rubble for the construction of the Polokwane ring road.

This is an achievement for Mpho. She dropped out of high school, but has turned her life around and is now a proud parent able to put her children through university.

Her first experience with heavy-duty machinery was at Polokwane Bricks, where she secured a volunteering opportunity through her friend, Patson Masweu.

A front-end loader is a heavyequipment machine used to load rubble and crushed rocks onto dump trucks at construction sites.

“I would come in to assist Patson when demand was high at the brick company. This is where I learnt to operate a frontend loader transporting sand,” says Mpho.

“When I got a job at Catnis in January 2016 to operate a front-end loader, I soon realised that transporting rocks on the machine was much harder and more dangerous than transporting sand. “It was a challenge to keep the load steady,” she says.

But Mpho did not give up. Instead she tried her luck on another heavy-duty piece of equipment – the dump truck. The dump truck is equipped with an

open-box bed, which is hinged at the rear and equipped with hydraulic pistons to lift the front. This allows the material in the bed to be dumped on the ground behind the truck at the site of delivery.

She mastered the dump truck and Catnis assisted her with securing an operating licence.

“I really enjoy what I do, but it’s challenging. I also enjoy the attention, as I’m the only female on site doing this job,” she laughs.

Mpho is determined and has great aspirations. She has also tried her hand at the excavator (also known as the digger), which operates on a rotating platform.

She hopes one day to secure a licence to operate a road roller, which is used to compact soil, gravel, concrete or asphalt in the construction of roads.

“My message to women and girls is this: Don’t ever give up. Be strong despite the challenges you face. Stand tall and always work hard,” she says.

“I was a typical teenager, running amok and my family gave up on me. I took it upon myself to change my life and enrol at ABET [Adult Basic Education and Training]. Then I knocked on doors other women would not have.

“But look at me now! My future is so much brighter. I have been trained. Even when the ring road project is complete, I will have skills to offer other employers.”

R1.6bn investment
in NMB and Sarah
Baartman municipalities

Six new construction, maintenance and upgrade projects for the 2017/18 financial year will improve the quality of our national road network in the Eastern Cape.

SANRAL is set to invest R1.6bn into roads in Nelson Mandela Bay and the Sarah Baartman District Municipality in the upcoming financial year.

Three of the projects along the R334, R342 and R336 will improve the quality of roads from Somerset East, Kirkwood and Patterson to Addo, and from Addo to Motherwell/Nelson Mandela Bay, while

the remaining projects are focused on the R75 and N2 for Uitenhage, Joe Slovo and Colchester.

Mbulelo Peterson, SANRAL’s Southern Region Manager, said: “The forthcoming projects will not only advance road safety, but also deliver a world-class national road network to the province.”

He indicated that SANRAL would set SMME contract participation goals and community training programmes in forthcoming tender calls to ensure the development of SMMEs.

The upcoming road network projects will include

N2: The construction of the Colchester Interchange scheduled to commence in October 2017

R75: A 10-month resurfacing of the Uitenhage off-ramp to Graaff Reinet Road, which will commence in November 2017

R75: An 18-month rehabilitation of dual carriageway from N2 to Joe Slovo, which is scheduled to commence in 2017

R342: A 24-month special road maintenance project from Addo to Patterson

R335: A 34-month upgrade of the road between Motherwell and Addo

R336: A 24-month road improvement project between Addo and Kirkwood, scheduled to commence in November 2017