The Mpumalanga continues to shine a light on women empowerment by affording opportunities to then to participate in the construction value chain. The Department of Human Settlements, Deputy Minister Pam Tshwete endorsed the provincial Human Settlements feat on preferential procurement to empower designated groups which include women, youth and people living with disability.
The deputy minister was addressing the virtual round table discussion with the Mpumalanga South African Women in Construction (SAWIC), entities and other sector stakeholders.
In her remarks, the Deputy Minister reiterated that women’s empowerment should be taken seriously through rigorous policy implementation. “We should take stock of our achievements in empowering women with constant monitoring of policy implementation. This will enable us to gauge our impact and transformation since our last summit in 2020”, said Tshwete.
She added that the sector will hold an Indaba to explore areas of improvement and address emerging challenges that undermine the participation of women in construction.
Speaking on behalf of SAWIC, Mpumalanga Chairperson, Ms Thembeka Mnisi, informed the session of the prevalent challenge of fronting, wherein men use women to benefit from the preferential procurement policy.
“We have a novel problem of men using women to access the 40% set aside allocation. That derails and undermines the growth of women in the sector”, stated Mnisi. She, however, commended the department for its efforts in ensuring that women are active participants. She added that SAWIC will intensify the training and capacity development for other women.
The issue of late payment was also flagged as a gnawing challenge with adverse effects on women’s work. To this end, Mpumalanga MEC for Human Settlements, Mr Speed Mashilo, undertook to look at the matter and reported that the department has been adhering to 30 days of invoice processing. “It is quite clear that we have not reached 100% compliance in this regard, and that calls for effective interventions at the administration level,” stated Mashilo.
He added that the department denounces fronting, and deliberate awareness needs to be conducted.
Regarding tangibles, the department has surpassed its target of 40% for designated groups. In the 2022/23 financial year, 177% Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) and 116% Informal Settlements Upgrading Programme Grant (ISUPG) were allocated to designated groups. For the current financial year, over R500 million is set aside for designated groups which will yield far-reaching positive economic spinoffs.
On the day, Mashilo and Kubayi started a day by handing over a house to Juana Ngwenya (71).
During the event, Ngwenya could not hide her excitement to finally get a fully furnished house, as she previously had a mud house. “I am so happy to finally receive my house after waiting for so long. I now have a place I can call my own. This will be a home for my daughter and my grandchildren too,” said Ngwenya.
Afterwards, they headed to the multipurpose community centre in Vukuzakhe, where 105 title deeds were given to beneficiaries.