10 December 2012 - The Twenty Township Upgrading of Roads (20T) project, which involved addressing large backlogs in surfaced roads in previously disadvantaged communities, provided the City of Tshwane with an ideal opportunity to build capacity among existing civil engineering contractors in the region.
The project, funded by the Gauteng Department of Public Transport, Roads and Works, saw 11 learner contractors selected to participate in a two-year learnership which included classroom training and participation in road construction projects to the value of some R50 million across Atteridgeville, Soshanguve and Mamelodi as part of their practical workplace experience.
The learners were supported and mentored by KTW Consulting Engineers (now merged with Aurecon and Bagale Consulting) during their two-year training. Aurecon Project Leader, Johan Wiggett, previous owner of KTW with partner Neo Tladinyane, comments: “The City of Tshwane’s perceptive commitment to the 20T project has given the process of contractor development in Tshwane a tremendous boost. The project led to invaluable experiential training opportunities for the learners.”
Aurecon hosted the City of Tshwane’s 20T Contractor Awards Ceremony at its Lynnwood Bridge offices during November. At the event, one of Aurecon’s Business Development Managers, Fani Xaba, welcomed the Acting Executive Mayor, Councillor Terence Mashego together with other distinguished representatives from the municipality, the award beneficiaries and invited guests. Tshwane is one of Aurecon’s major centres of engineering expertise, Xaba said and “The company is proud to be a partner of the world’s largest municipality”.
Xaba complimented the City of Tshwane on their vision and commitment to make a success of the skills transfer opportunity presented by the programme, and congratulated the ten awardees: Martelle Mmanape, Gape Mosweu, George Matjila, Samuel Ramadie, Rebecca Ramatlo, Moses Rampeng, Milandée du Preez, ID Makena and Lilian Mothogoane. (The late Ola Letsoalo’s award was accepted by her daughter, Lethabo.)
Acting Executive Mayor Mashego praised the awardees for obtaining their National Certificate in Construction Contracting, and proceeded to present each of them with a certificate, adding that their exceptional achievements displayed commendable perseverance and high standards.
On behalf of the awardees, Samuel Ramadie thanked the City of Tshwane saying: “Participating in the Tshwane learnership programme was a great honour and a milestone in our personal development. My advice to others would be to walk before you try and run. You need to acquire basic qualifications and skills – matric is not enough. So many people rush into construction thinking it is easy and get into trouble.”
Since gaining their Certification in Construction Contracting, it has been a challenging learning curve for the contractors, many of whom have experienced the impact of the slump in the economy on the construction sector as well as municipalities having to cut back on infrastructure spending. Despite this, however, and with true strength of character, the awardees have all persevered – construction has given them the opportunity to earn a living and enabled them to create jobs for others, vital necessities for a successful South Africa.