The Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ) sais it is deliberately focusing on opening opportunities for emerging contractors as part of efforts aimed at fast-tracking their entry into the mainstream economy. The company said it is made of real people with a real dedication and passion to effect real change in South Africa. This commitment to delivery is apparent in all dealings with not only potential investors but also internal and external stakeholders as well.
“As an agent for economic development within the region, RBIDZ continues to live out its mission and vision to be the preferred Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for quality investment through utilising the competitive advantage of the Richards Bay area to attract sustainable investments that stimulate economic growth, job creation, and beneficiation of resources and the empowerment of people,” read a statement.
It said in the interest of recognising female talents and upskilling local people, it has confidently backed the employment of Nkosingiphile Goodness Luthuli, a female back-tip operator on Medway Road. Traditionally viewed as a male industry due to the intensive manual labour, Goodness has demystified these stereotypes by thriving in a male-dominated sector.
Goodness began her career within the construction industry in 2011 and has since never looked back. She was introduced to the field of heavy duty vehicles when she worked as a general worker, cutting and pruning trees at Port Dunford forest. Realising that only men where operating such heavy machinery she enquired on how she can also become an operator from her employer. She was advised to acquire a driver’s licence and once certified to drive the company would oversee to the necessary training needs. Through sheer determination Goodness acquired the necessary accreditations and was able to fulfil her dream of operating heavy construction machinery.
As a black female driver Goodness explained that she has faced vast challenges, such as being undermined due to her gender but encourages more females to consider the field of construction. “It is very interesting to note the reactions of my male colleagues when they realise that a female is skilled in operating such machinery. My ability to conduct myself professionally as well as efficiently is what ultimately wins their respect” she said. “This job is like any other, it is not gender that determines your success but it is skill and composure under strenuous situations”. My employers are very accommodative of me, further adding that she is allocated separate changing areas and also enjoys full benefits such as adequate maternity leave, etc. RBIDZ recognises that although significant progress in female empowerment has been made in numerous fields, much still needs to be achieved.
A locally-based company Yomndeni Sons is yet another emerging company that bears testimony to RBIDZ’s efforts of assisting SMMEs in order to bring about radical economic transformation. Operating in Richards Bay and the surrounding Zululand region, Yomndeni Sons focuses primarily on construction, civil works, building supplies and plant hire both in public and private sectors. The company started its operations in the year 2015. Their first breakthrough was in 2016, where they partnered with the RBIDZ in the construction of Sizabantu Piping System (SPS) Molecor, a PVC-O pipe manufacturing factory located on RBIDZ Phase 1A industrial estate. Since then, Yomndeni Sons has also been contracted to carry-out brickwork, plastering and paving for the Richards Bay Techno-hub also located within the industrial estate.