DURBAN – More than 300 local companies in the construction sector in KwaZulu-Natal are set to benefit from an empowerment project by the Department of Human Settlements and Public Works, according to a government statement.
Around 90 young business people signed an agreement with the department on Thursday to commence the project, which according to KZN MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works Jomo Sibiya demonstrates the efforts being made towards achieving radical economic transformation.
Sibiya said during the signing in Durban that a total of 346 emerging companies have been earmarked to receive construction work. Of these, 109 belong to youth, 129 to women, 101 to black men, five to military veterans and the remaining two to disabled people.
Sibiya said that the companies will be utilised in the procurement of building materials, particularly in department housing projects.
“We are forging ahead to ensure that these designated groups benefit throughout the housing value chain process, including construction, material and equipment supply processes,” Sibiya said.
A total of R153 million (about US$11 million) has been set aside for training and allocation of work to the designated companies.
According to the National Treasury, KZN received a total infrastructure budget of R16.449 billion for the current financial year, of which R9.514 billion went to existing infrastructure, R2.202 billion to non-infrastructure and R1.166 billion to new assets.
All unspent funds during a financial year are refunded and given to performing provinces, explained Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Pam Tshwete, who was present at the signing.
“I want to inform you, MEC, that should you spend all your allocation for the year, you are placing your province in a better position to benefit from funds that will be taken from those underperforming provinces,” Tshwete said.
Tshwete urged the project beneficiaries to grab the opportunity with both hands.