Sparks Electrical News

Nompilo Vilakazi, owner of Sibani Holdings, is the highest achiever in the 2018 Eskom Contractor Academy. With an average of 89%, Vilakazi topped the class, which had a total of 176 graduates, all of whom were either Eskom contractors or suppliers, or entrepreneurs who had participated in other Eskom initiatives.

Young entrepreneur tops Eskom academy classAmong other things, Vilakazi’s company undertakes electrical connections, MV/LV line construction, pole changing/installations, electrical maintenance, and safety campaigns. The company is based in Hillcrest, near Ethekwini and mainly services Eskom across KwaZulu-Natal. Twenty eight year old Vilakazi started the company in 2014 and also uses it to promote one of her biggest passions, youth development and empowerment.

Currently studying towards her Business Management degree at Mancosa, the ambitious Vilakazi knows the importance of empowering herself first before she can help other young people by motivating and creating jobs for them.  She says the Contractor Academy helped enrich and broaden her knowledge. “I’m happy to be the best student in my class but more than anything else, I hope this excellence can spill into my business. As a young entrepreneur running a small business, I need to be able to plan the execution of my projects well and also know my way around the project and financial management side of things. The course really helped in reminding me how important that is, and it is going to help me grow the business.” The eight month academy is one of the Eskom Development Foundation’s key initiatives and part of the organisation’s commitment to enterprise development, skills development, job creation and poverty alleviation. The academy upskills people in projects, people and financial management, business sustainability,

Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ), supply chain management, legislation and technical acumen, all of which form part of the modules.

Eskom Development Foundation CEO, Cecil Ramonotsi, says the academy is an integral part of Eskom’s corporate social investment programme as it seeks to enhance quality of life of South Africans. “Many small and medium enterprises have benefitted as a result of their owners getting training from the academy, and some have even gone on to successfully secure contracts with Eskom. Since 2010, 645 contracts worth over R3 billion have been awarded to students/graduates of the academy. By equipping entrepreneurs such as Nompilo with the skills they need to build sustainable businesses, we believe that the country can begin to address some of its challenges,” says Ramonotsi. Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Eskom Development Foundation Chairman Chose Choeu said through initiatives such as the Contractor Academy, Eskom would help find solutions to the country’s challenges of poverty and unemployment.

“This training will help the entrepreneurs and their businesses not only to improve their communities but also the South African economy as a whole,” said Choeu.



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