SMMEs benefit from R58-million project

Six rural communities in Alfred Nzo District Municipality, Eastern Cape, have benefitted from a series of training programmes and employment opportunities in the construction sector.

During the construction phase, the participants were provided with further on-site training and mentoring. The quality of their work was then assessed and moderated.

Twenty small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMMEs) and more than 200 local community members have benefited from a R58-million community development project in the Alfred Nzo District Municipality in the Eastern Cape.

Situated in the poverty-stricken Umzimvubu and Ntabankulu local municipalities, the project has brought employment, training and skills development to six rural communities that have experienced first-hand the devastating effects of unemployment.

Via a series of theoretical and practical training programmes, local SMMEs and their employees gained experience while employed on construction sites overseen by the South African National Roads Agency (SOC) Limited (SANRAL). They also advanced their Construction Industry Development Board (CIBD) grading levels, expanding their opportunities in the construction industry.

Training in construction

Over R55-million has been spent on training and management services for the construction of community access roads and pedestrian facilities along the N2, between Mount Frere and the Ngcweleni River.

In keeping with its policy of localisation, SANRAL undertook a community development project focused on recruiting and training 20 100% black-owned SMMEs. The project provided local communities with the opportunity to develop skills and gain the work experience needed to improve their CIBD grading levels.

After the theoretical training, the SMMEs were contracted to complete various assignments related to the construction of the access road and pedestrian facilities.

Employing a minimum of 10 local people each, the SMMEs were given the opportunity to work on approximately 400m of community access roads.

During the construction phase, the participants were provided with further on-site training and mentoring. The quality of their work was assessed and moderated.

All the SMMEs completed their allocated work within the contract period and SANRAL-appointed consultants are assisting the qualifying SMMEs to improve their CIDB gradings.

Increase in value

“Simply by working on this project, the participating SMMEs have increased the value of the projects they are eligible to tender for in the future,” said SANRAL project manager Thabiso Ngozwana. “This has far-reaching implications for their success and the livelihoods of their employees.”

Although the construction of the community access roads and related pedestrian facilities has been completed, some aspects of the training are still under way. The project is expected to be wrapped up in September 2018. “This community development initiative was and continues to be a success,” said Ngozwana.

“There were no delays on the project and the communities are using the access roads and pedestrian facilities. Not only that, the SMMEs working on this project were upskilled, improved their CIDB gradings and increased their chances of future work.

“SANRAL is committed to empowering SMMEs. They can be proud of their achievements on this project and we look forward to seeing them grow and flourish in the construction industry,” Ngozwana said.