Women paving their way to the top

2016-04-20 15:31
Kashiefa Beck (34) from Heideveld, Nomzamo Feni (43) from Gugulethu, Joyleen Melton-Gordon (40) from Heideveld, Pumla Mfana (39) from Gugulethu, Ilhaam Ely (39) from Heideveld and Akeelah Abrahams (34) from Heideveld are part of the all women team currently repairing potholes, maintenance on footways and stormwater pipes.

Kashiefa Beck (34) from Heideveld, Nomzamo Feni (43) from Gugulethu, Joyleen Melton-Gordon (40) from Heideveld, Pumla Mfana (39) from Gugulethu, Ilhaam Ely (39) from Heideveld and Akeelah Abrahams (34) from Heideveld are part of the all women team currently repairing potholes, maintenance on footways and stormwater pipes. (Chevon Booysen )

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A team of six women are taking it to the streets to do their jobs “better than men”.

The City of Cape Town recently introduced its all women team from Heideveld – who fixes potholes and do maintenance work on footways and stormwater pipes – and the energetic team say they are more than capable of doing their job better than men.
This all-female roads-repair team is the fourth to be appointed by the City of Cape Town and is part of the Women at Work Programme. The programme has been nominated for the fourth annual Women in Construction Awards in the category for the most innovative programme.

The all-female roads repair team is based at the Transport for Cape Town (TCT) depot in Heideveld and has been appointed as part of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) within TCT to repair and do maintenance in Heideveld, Manenberg, Tambo Village, Athlone, Surrey Estate and the areas adjacent to Jakes Gerwel Drive.
Mayco member for transport, Brett Herron, says the programme is to empower women in the workplace.
“Women at Work is a gender transformation programme within TCT which is collaboratively implemented by the TCT Training Academy, the EPWP and selected roads depots across the city. The purpose of this programme is to empower women in the workplace by providing them with skills for manual work that is generally associated with men,” he says.
With the skills and entrepreneurial abilities they develop during the 10-month employment period, these women will be better equipped to find placement in the permanent job market, Herron says.

The team was established in March 2016 and consists of Kashiefa Beck (34) from Heideveld, Nomzamo Feni (43) from Gugulethu, Joyleen Melton-Gordon (40) from Heideveld, Pumla Mfana (39) from Gugulethu, Ilhaam Ely (39) from Heideveld and Akeelah Abrahams (34) from Heideveld.
They follow in the footsteps of the all-female teams of the TCT depots in Ndabeni (introduced in August 2015), Fish Hoek (introduced in November 2015), and Kuils River (introduced in February 2016).
“The team from Heideveld now counts among the 24 pioneers of a long-term process whereby the City is tackling gender transformation in the transport realm. Women are generally under-represented in the transport sector – for example, within TCT, women constitute only 3,4% of those involved with the physical maintenance of roads and stormwater infrastructure,” he explains.

Herron says he is confident that this project will assist in changing perceptions about the type of work that women can do.
The fourth annual Women in Construction Awards will take place in Johannesburg on Tuesday 10 May.
“The City is extremely proud of this programme. I am confident that it will also be recognised on a national level as one of the most advanced and game-changing gender transformation projects in the country,” Herron says.
The women underwent a physical assessment to test their ability to perform the type of work required and they were interviewed and evaluated by members of the depot management.
“A total of 24 women would have benefitted through the Women at Work Programme by the end of the financial year. We have spent approximately R1m on this programme. We now aim to establish 10 all-female roads repair teams accommodating another 60 women in the next financial year,” Herron adds.

The 24 women will exit the programme on Thursday 30 June. Thereafter, TCT will embark on a new recruitment process to find candidates to replace them, as well as to expand the programme with a further six teams situated at other suitable roads depots across the city.
On-the-job training is provided at the depot, covering the following technical fields:
• Stormwater infrastructure: cleaning, unblocking, and repairing pipes, manholes and catch pits
• Footways: edging, paving, operating rollers, and raking pre-mix used to repair surface patches
• Roads: repairing potholes, surface patches and edges, laying kerbs, and operating a plant
• Line marking: painting straight lines and legends on road surface, planting poles and signage, stencilling street names on kerbs, painting kerbs, and street name kerb moulding
Apart from the technical training, the women are also coached in life skills, entrepreneurial skills, conflict management and team work.

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