Roads bring opportunity and upliftment to Mzamba

The project is part of the community development and small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMME) training programme.  

Mbizana Local Municipal Mayor Councillor Daniswa Mafumbatha (second from left) during a ribbon cutting ceremony of the completion of the community access roads in Mzamba, Eastern Cape. Mayor Mafumbatha was joined by Welekazi Ndika, SANRAL Southern Region Stakeholder Relations Coordinator (left), Ntsizakalo Ngalo a Senior Facilitator for MAJV, and Hilda Cwele a Community Development Worker on the project.

Ten SMMEs received their SAQA accredited NQF certificates at the announcement of the completion of the construction of a 4.5km community access road in Mzamba in the Mbizana Local Municipality. 

The road construction project, which started in June 2016 and took two years to complete, is part of the community development and small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMME) training programme, which forms part of small business support strategies to optimise local economic development through the N2 Wild Coast Toll Road (N2WCTR) development in the Eastern Cape. 

Welekazi Ndika, SANRAL Southern Region’s Stakeholder Relations Coordinator, said: “The area has benefitted from the contract as the improvement of skills and knowledge has been critical to the built-environment capacity development within the municipality to assist the municipality to be able to support the provision of Sustainable Rural Local Economic Development.” 

In addition to the completion of the access roads, the community hall was also refurbished. 

Locals voice appreciation 

Chief Lunga Baleni said he was happy the project had been completed.  

“I hope this relationship with SANRAL will continue. I would like to encourage SANRAL to continue with their community development programmes in our area,” he said. 

Mbizana Local Municipal Mayor Councillor Daniswa Mafumbatha said they were happy to see the “great work” that was done by the SMMEs. 

“The roads built are beautiful. We can see that the money was spent well. We can see the growth in our SMMEs. I would like to take this opportunity to appreciate the job opportunities that were created on this project. We like what we see. The certificates handed out are not given to people because of their associations, but for their hard work and training,” said Mayor Mafumbatha. 

Mafumbatha added that it was “through the collaboration between the Municipality and SANRAL that the hall was also refurbished”. 

Dr Mongezi Noah, SANRAL Southern Region Community Development Specialist, said there more projects were on the cards and that the completion of the community access roads was just the beginning. 

“I encourage SMMEs to tender to work on other projects. The municipality can utilise the SMMEs from the area that have been developed,” Noah said. 

Ward 24 Councillor Ntlahla Hlebo said the community was “very happy” the road had been completed and the hall refurbished. 

Hlebo said: “Before this new road our road was gravel. During floods in the past, there would be big potholes. During heavy rains it was difficult for an ambulance to drive to a house, instead, people had to arrange for a lift or push someone in a wheelbarrow to the R61 and meet the ambulance there.  

“The training the SMMEs received has made them employable. They can look for work anywhere.” 

SMMEs benefit 

Nombali Hlongwe, a co-owner of Pumlani Construction, was elated with her certificate. 

“Now that the project is complete, I am looking at upgrading to CIDB level and am now looking at tender opportunities. Now that I have completed the project and received the certificate, I feel that the world has opened a lot of opportunities for me. The project has been successful for all of us,” said Hlongwe. 

Sethu Sibeni from Ngxathi Trading was very happy to have received his NQF level 3 certificate. Sibeni worked as a supervisor on the project. 

“The community appreciates the new road.  During heavy rains it was not easy to travel on this road. Having a tarred road means that public transport can now access the communities easier. The completion of the access road also means there is quicker access to the R61,” said Sibeni. 

Sibeni’s goal is to own a block yard and supply local businesses with material. 

The two-year project created opportunities for 50% women-owned Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs), 70% youth-owned SMMEs and jobs for 130 people from the local community. 

Fifty of the local community members were also trained and received SAQA accredited NQF Level 2 certificates in road construction, while the remaining 80 received certificates for technical skills gained on the job.  

Sixty-four local SMMEs who did not qualify to be part of the construction project, received tendering training for construction contracts. 

Upgrading contractors 

Following the completion of the project, it is anticipated that Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) upgrades will take place, with ten Grade 1CEs upgrading to Grade 2CE contractors. 

The training project entailed five phases, including: 

  • assessment of site conditions, socio-economic conditions of the area, and the availability of resources; 
  • design of approximately 4500m of community access road; 
  • local SMME participation through open tender process – 10 subcontracted on the construction of the haul roads; 
  • theoretical and practical training of the local SMMEs;  
  • construction of community access roads using labour-enhanced construction methods; 
  • CIDB Grading 4 local sub-contractor was used to construct earthworks and layerworks, while other suppliers were used to supply kerbs, water, sand and various materials to the project; 
  • Community policing forum was used for security on site; 
  • Various service providers used for catering and supply of toilets. 

“The community has benefitted from the contract as the improvement of skills and knowledge is critical to the building of capacity within the community. This will assist the Municipality in supporting the provision of Sustainable Rural, Local and Economic Development,” said Gcobani Socenywa, project manager for SANRAL Southern Region.