The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) this week announced it has commenced with roll-out of a R120-million community development and SMME training programme which forms part of the small business support strategies to optimise local economic development through the N2 Wild Coast Toll Road (N2WCTR) development in the Eastern Cape’s OR Tambo District Municipality and Alfred Nzo District Municipality.
SANRAL’s community development and SMME training programme is giving construction SMME’s and new construction start-ups in the Wild Coast skills and opportunities to participate in the development of the N2WCTR. Pictured here is SANRAL’s Gcobani Socenywa with Learner SMME’s recipients Nombali Hlongwe, Mongezi Gcuma, and Ntomb’zonke Ngwekazi.
“The aim of the projects are to provide local labour and local SMMEs with the necessary skills to optimally partake in the forthcoming N2WCR opportunities, enhance road safety for both through traffic, local traffic and non-motorised traffic utilising the N2WCTR, and enhance access of local communities to the N2WCR to facilitate socio-economic development,” said Gcobani Socenywa, SANRAL project manager.
SANRAL’s SMME training programmes in Mbizana, Lusikisiki and Port St. Johns is empowering 31 local business owners of construction SMME’s and new start-ups (CIDB levels 1 – 3). SANRAL has appointed three training service providers tasked to primarily train, mentor and develop ‘learner subcontractors’. Following stakeholder consultation and candidate selection, the business owners selected to the programme will be provided with National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level 3, 4 and 5 training, leading to a full learnership, which is an official qualification, which is accredited by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). The programme will also be inclusive of a selective training to CIDB grading 3-6 local SMME’s.
SANRAL is also preparing local labour forces for these SMME’s. The programme will also train an additional 330 individuals to help create a local skilled and semi-skilled labour force for the N2WCR. SMME’s that employ their own labour from local communities will also be supported as labour will also receive accredited training.
“The programme’s ultimate goal will ensure that SMME’s benefit and participate in forthcoming Mtentu and Msikaba mega bridge, the new greenfields section and legacy projects such as road maintenance of the N2WCR,” said Gcobani Socenywa, SANRAL’s N2WCR community development project manager.
As part of their practical training, the business owners will be responsible for upgrading and constructing community access roads in Ingquza Hill Local Municipality, Mbizana Local Municipality and Port St. Johns Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape.
“The upgrading of the community access roads itself forms part and parcel of the work package of the N2 Wild Coast Highway as reduced informal access points along the N2WCTR will improve road safety for motorists and pedestrians,” said Socenywa.
“Between now and February, business owners are attending business management, tendering skills and financial management training. We have included these modules because we want to create sustainable, capable and empowered road construction SMME’s and start-ups,” said Socenywa.
“In February next year, we will move into the theoretical dimension of road construction and a practical component through community access roads. In this regard, the SMME’s and start-ups will be responsible for building storm water drainage system, upgrade roads from gravel to surface standard, construction of sidewalks and concrete pavement works,” he said.
Daliwonga Sibeni, Ngxathi Trading Enterprises in Mbizana: “This project will help me create work for people in an area where almost 85% of youth are unemployed. My goal is to learn more about the construction industry. I am also excited about the N2 Wild Coast road project. This project will boost tourism in the area and create much needed jobs.”
Wandile Mngeni from Dubana Administrative Area outside Lusikisiki believes the N2WCTR project is a “great project for the community”.
Mngeni’s company WM Construction Projects is a CIDB level 1 grade. He is a former training project manager for a motoring company in Port Elizabeth and also worked for a non-profit organisation in Lusikisiki.
“I have worked all over South Africa. Development must come to rural areas, then we don’t have to flock to bigger cities to find work.
“I heard about this SANRAL training programme from the PLO and was called to meetings by the municipality in Flagstaff. I have not experience working in the construction industry but believe this course will be a great help.
“The N2WCTR project is a good project for us to get involved in from the start. It will depend on us to maintain that road. I have already hired a supervisor for my company and this person is also part of the SANRAL training programme. There is going to be a lot of job creation in this area with this project,” said Mngeni.
Sivuyile Xuku, Port St Johns Local Municipality, enterprise manager said the SANRAL project “seek to assist and empower our people to alleviate poverty and create employment.”
“A lot of people will benefit from the N2 Wild Coast road project. The project will boost our tourism economy. There are possibilities that once the road has been built investors would be attracted to the area,” said Xuku.