R118m skills programme for emerging road contractors

3 March 2014

Emerging road contractors in South Africa’s Gauteng province are set to benefit from the provincial government’s R118-million Vuk’phile programme, aimed at boosting skills development and job creation in the sector.

The three-year project, aimed mainly at small contractors, women and youth, was launched by Gauteng Roads and Transport Minister Ismail Vadi at Finetown Community Hall, south of Johannesburg on Thursday.

The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport is running the programme in partnership with the national Department of Public Works and Nedbank.

“Emerging road contractors are empowered to manage labour-intensive projects, while Nedbank provides seed funding based on its financial viability criteria,” Vadi said at the launch.

He said that 24 small contractors had been appointed by the department for a period of 36 months, during which time they will receive training in project management and roadworks at the Zwartkop Training Centre. Six more contractors are to be appointed later this year.

According to the department, the successful contractors will be responsible for the maintenance of 479 kilometres of the provincial road network, and the project is expected to create 2 125 jobs.

Work to be carried out under the programme includes cleaning drainage structures, removing grass and debris from grids, clearing bridge drainage ports and scuppers, repairing damaged fencing and road signs, installating and replacing road studs, mowing grass in road reserves, cutting firebreaks and assisting with veld fires, and providing emergency assistance to motorists.

Vadi said he was particularly pleased that 50 percent of the contractors are women-owned companies, two percent are people with disabilities and more than half of the contractors are under 35 years of age.

At the launch, Vadi and his departmental officials carried out maintenance work on the D1861 road near Lawley and the R554 along Eikenhof, south of Johannesburg.

Source: SAnews.gov.za