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Women and Youth at the centre of RBIDZs skills development

12 SEPTEMBER 2017

August is the month where we celebrate the contribution of women towards the dismantling of inequality, a notion that is described as crime against humanity. 

In acknowledging the role played by women in ushering this freedom, RBIDZ is steaming ahead with efforts aimed at ensuring that women-owned enterprises and youth owned enterprises benefit from this democratic dispensation.

Critically RBIDZ remains concerned that poverty stings deeper on females this being the case 23 years after the attainment of democracy. It is for these reasons that the eradication of poverty remains our key objective.

Studies have shown that the largest number of poor people live in and around major cities and urban areas in KwaZulu-Natal, but a higher percentage of the population of rural districts live in poverty especially women. The districts where women live in abject poverty include King Cetshwayo where RBIDZ is located.  During this financial year we invested millions of rands to fast-track their entry into the mainstream economy.

Our intervention programmes are focusing on affording investment towards their education, skills development, and involvement in the development of infrastructure to leverage inclusivity.  Importantly, we are inculcating the culture of entrepreneurship in order to enable many local women and youth to lead active and fulfilling lives.

It is most pleasing to highlight that as the RBIDZ we are ensuring the emergence of a new generation of high caliber small, medium and large entrepreneurs owned by women and youth. Our major focus is on construction and we are also guided by the radical economic transformation programmes championed by the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mr Sihle Zikalala.

Small contractors have been fully involved in construction projects of RBIDZ Phase 1A, to current developments in Medway Road, Bayside and Phase 1F.  In addition, more than twenty small contractors have been asserted with various training skills namely Project management, Business and Financial management, quality management, health and safety practices and information technology. These are the soft skills that pave the entrepreneurial ability and direction.

It is our view as the entity that more women owned and youth owned enterprises are to be supported to get the proper mentorship with the established contractors to accelerate skills development and transfer. This could then result in them being allowed to be on their own in the sector as established contractors armed with various expertize to thrive into the industry.

Remarkably, about 75% of the trained contractors represent Black Youth Owned and 54% represents the Black Women enterprises. We must highlight that more than 60% of the total trained contractors have done work directly through appointment by the RBIDZ or indirectly through Contract Participation Programme (CPG). RBIDZ boasts in its belt more than R100 million worth of sub-contracted work which has benefited these local small contractors.

Job creation remains central to achieving government’s objectives of inclusive growth, radical structural economic transformation, distributing the benefits of growth more widely and consequently reducing dependency on the welfare system, by broadening economic participation.

The pattern and pace of economic growth needs to be adjusted and accelerated to achieve this outcome. It continues to require investment and interventions by both the public and private sectors to enable a conducive environment to further stimulate the generation of employment opportunities and inclusive economic growth.

RBIDZ understands that the call for radical economic transformation should not only remain a slogan, but that it should find practical expression in our activities and private sector programmes taking cue from the B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice including the revised Regulations of the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA) of 2017 aimed at transforming the economy of this province.

These revised regulations are meant to address the wide economic gap through a government procurement process, taking into account the plight of black-owned enterprises which have been marginalised for a long time in tenders.

The revised regulations prescribe new progressive changes that increase the threshold for the application of preference points during the tender process. For tenders between R30 000 and R50 million, an 80/20 principle applies, while the 90/10 principle applies in tenders valued above R50 million.

Importantly, the regulations allow government to enforce partnerships between big and emerging businesses through sub-contracting. The new regulations prescribe that 30% of the value of a particular contract has to be given to the designated group as mentioned in the procurement regulations.

As RBIDZ we reiterate our position as stated in the last SMME seminar that “Investing in skills development is similar to investing in the future and prosperity of this country” .