From do­mes­tic worker to build­ing side walks

Vuk'uzenzele - - General -

A WOMAN FROM the East­ern Cape is prov­ing that women can make it in road con­struc­tion.

Non­tem­beko Khenku was strug­gling to make ends meet as a do­mes­tic worker when she came across an ad­vert for a learn­er­ship by the South African Na­tional Roads Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL) in a news­pa­per.

She ap­plied and her ap­pli­ca­tion was suc­cess­ful, and she un­der­went a gru­elling two-year learn­er­ship that helped her make in­roads into the tough world of road con­struc­tion.

“I’ve learnt how to build ac­cess roads, side­walks and gen­eral con­struc­tion skills,” said Khenku.

She is now the owner of Cam­beni Con­struc­tion Com­pany, which is con­tracted to do work on the R61 near Port St Johns in the East­ern Cape.

“I started in Au­gust last year, I am a su­per­vi­sor and we build side­walks. They are very im­por­tant be­cause peo­ple are be­ing knocked over by cars but now they will have some­where to walk on. This will help re­duce the num­ber of ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing pedes­tri­ans walk­ing on, and cross­ing, the road,” she said.

She now has a level 4 cer­tifi­cate and is proud to own an in­de­pen­dent SMME that cur­rently em­ploys eight peo­ple.

“In the next five years I’d like to see my com­pany grow from grade 5. It makes me very happy to have th­ese many peo­ple in my em­ploy as this gets rid of poverty,” said Kenkhu.

She said while women face unique chal­lenges in crack­ing it in a pre­vi­ously male-dom­i­nated sec­tor like con­struc­tion, there is ab­so­lutely noth­ing that stops them from mak­ing a suc­cess in this field.

Be­ing a woman mak­ing her mark in this field ini­tially pre­sented chal­lenges in terms of at­ti­tudes by some men who doubted she could de­liver be­cause of her gen­der.

“But be­cause I have the skills, I cope very well by us­ing my ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Then they re­alise that women can in­deed do this job,” she said.

Non­tem­beko Khenku is build­ing side­walks and run­ning her small busi­ness thanks to SANRAL.

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