The six young women from Maitland Garden Village, Langa and Gugulethu, who have been appointed as part of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) within Transport for Cape Town (TCT), are pioneers of a long-term process whereby the City is tackling gender transformation head-on.
‘This is a TCT Training Academy project in support of our firm belief that gender should not determine one’s fitness for employment,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member: Transport for Cape Town, Councillor Brett Herron.
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.
‘I am confident that this pilot project will assist us in changing perceptions about the type of work women can do. The women who have been appointed to participate in this programme all share a passion for work that benefits communities and have the desire to prove their ability as women to compete equally in a workplace that is commonly associated with men. I am proud of this project and will follow it very closely as I believe that women should not be excluded from any profession on the basis of their gender,’ said Councillor Herron.
A second team of women will be employed in the next three months, with the project running over a period of 10 months.
‘The TCT training Academy has designed a monitoring system that will draw all the information from the first team’s process so that we can adapt this process by the time we hire the second group. After this we plan to partner with the private transport sector to embark on full developmental programmes that will fit the requirements of the industry,’ said Councillor Herron.
TCT’s Training Academy assisted the management at the Ndabeni depot to identify suitable candidates from the local Subcouncil database in accordance with the City’s EPWP policy. The candidates conducted 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.
‘All in all, we have budgeted approximately R500 000 to get the two women-only teams going. A female project leader from the TCT Training Academy has been assigned to support the team and to provide guidance as needed,’ said Councillor Herron.
On-the-job training is currently being provided by the depot management team, covering the following technical fields:
- Stormwater infrastructure: cleaning, unblocking, and repairing pipes, manholes and catch pits;
- Footways: edging, paving, operating rollers, and raking of pre-mix used to repair surface patches;
- Roads: repairing potholes, surface patches and edges, curb-laying, and operating a plant;
- Line marking: painting straight lines and legends on road surface; planting of poles and signage; stencilling of street names on curbs; painting of curbs; and street name curb moulding.
Apart from the abovementioned technical training, the women will also be trained in life skills, entrepreneurial skills, conflict management and team work. Ndabeni has been chosen as the ideal environment for launching this pilot project in terms of the infrastructure, training, support and resources needed to ensure that the women-only team succeeds.
‘Even though the women will not be employed permanently, they will be empowered to enter the job market, given the technical exposure and the experience they have gained in drafting a quality CV, efficiency in interview skills, and selling their inter-personal skills to add value in the workplace. They will, therefore, be empowered to apply for permanent work, or even start their own business,’ said Councillor Herron.
The women will probably be out in the field by mid-September.
‘We are looking forward to seeing them working on the streets and sidewalks of the city. I hope that this initiative inspires the private sector to follow suit in appointing women in positions that are generally regarded to be the ambit of men. Apart from building a city where we all feel welcome and appreciated, the City must lead the way in changing perceptions about gender and promoting gender equality in the workplace. We are very proud of this pilot programme and we wish the women well in their endeavour,’ said Councillor Herron.