Paper presented at the 23rd Annual Southern African Transport Conference 12 - 15 July 2004 "Getting recognition for the importance of transport", CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa. The policy of the Department is to promote and establish SMME’s on the one hand and on the other to provide a better and more comprehensive service to the people. This can only be done if alternative delivery mechanisms are employed and the execution arm of the Department is therefore repositioned in the private sector in the form of SMME’s coming from the ranks of officials or directly from communities.
The Roadworker Empowerment Programme (REP) was initially developed to carry Roadworkers (officials) as SMME’s from the public – to the private sector in five phases of development. The REP started as a pilot project in the operational field of “blading of gravel roads” during November 2001 and achieved remarkable performance improvements up to the end of February 2004.
The REP task team also had to fast track the development of SMME’s in routine road maintenance when the South African National Road Agency Limited (SANRAL) offered contracts to two SMME’s (from the ranks of officials) as designated Sub-Contractors under their Main Contractor for a period of two years. The REP task team prepared the two teams in two months for the venture and coached and guided them to become profitable after a few months.
The REP task team also embarked on project to develop and empower SMME’s outside the Department. The two SMME’s had limited practical experience but have completed a contractor training programme before they were employed to do elementary pavement maintenance work. They were taken through a coaching and grooming period of ten working days after which they were only paid for work completed. In the end they were fairly effective and efficient and managed to make a healthy profit.
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