Small businesses pick up speed

ROAD TO SUCCESS: NMMU mentor Dr Malcolm Figg, left, stands with proud certificate holders, front from left, Sandra Lewis and Amanda Nhlapo and Sanral southern region manager Simon Peterson. Sanral project manager Roland Thompson is at the back
ROAD TO SUCCESS: NMMU mentor Dr Malcolm Figg, left, stands with proud certificate holders, front from left, Sandra Lewis and Amanda Nhlapo and Sanral southern region manager Simon Peterson. Sanral project manager Roland Thompson is at the back

A GROUP of Eastern Cape sub-contractors for the South African Roads Agency (Sanral) have graduated in Port Elizabeth after completing a mentoring development programme.

Sanral project manager Roland Thompson said the programme “is not about the numbers, but what we can do to make things better”.

It comprised five years of study, from adult basic education training to gaining construction contracting qualifications.

All the sub-contractors have worked on routine road maintenance along the N2 between Natures Valley and Colchester, as well as between Colchester and East London over the past five years.

Thompson said it was a first for Sanral in the province to offer this type of training and the achievement was “not a mere certificate on the wall, but a qualification” to help subcontractors in their jobs.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University lecturer Dr Malcolm Figg said the training had already helped the sub-contractors to evolve from survivalist entrepreneurs to sustainable businesses.

Some of the courses included subjects such as business and entrepreneurial skills, procurement and tender processes, surveying techniques, and health and safety requirements.

One graduate, Sandra Lewis, from Damian’s Contractors, who works along the N2 close to King William’s Town, said all of the subjects had helped her in her and her husband’s business, which employed 138 people.

“We have really benefited a lot,” Lewis said

Her fellow sub-contractor, who also works along the N2 in King William’s Town and employs 20 workers, is Amanda Nhlapo from Nhlapo Civils.

She said the training had helped her to tender for other contracts.

Sanral regional manager Simon Peterson said the agency planned to improve the roads in the western part of the Eastern Cape, and that there would always be room for SMMEs to “spread their wings” with Sanral.

The programme was run through a partnership with role players, including NMMU, Penny Farthing Engineering, the main contractor, and AECom-Mott McDonald PDNA Joint Venture.

Sanral prioritised 60% SMME participation on all routine road maintenance contracts in the southern region, it said.

SMMEs benefiting from the training included Tsitsikamma Fencing, Mosadi Business Enterprise, Nhlapo Construction, Damian’s Construction, CDA Construction, Stark Ark Trading, and Penny Farthing. – Cindy Preller

 

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