Women empowerment key focus for Human Settlements
Western Cape Minister of Human Settlements, Tertuis Simmers says, the empowerment and creation of more opportunities for women in the human settlements sector, remains a key focus area of his Department.
Minister Simmers said: “On the eve of this years’ woman’s day, I’d like to appeal to more women to seriously consider entering the construction and engineering arena. There is a great need for more women-owned companies in this sector.
We’re fully aware that many women face significant challenges when it comes to this male dominated industry, and transformation in this regard is a priority. I’d like to further suggest to our women to engage the relevant bodies and entities in the sector about what is required, and the criteria should be met.
Internally, we’ve already demonstrated our commitment to affording our women opportunities, as three out of four executive positions in the Provincial Department of Human Settlements are women. This includes our Head of Department (HOD), Chief Director Planning and Chief Director Implementation.
We further understand the bigger role we have to play in addressing this. Our goal is to reach at least 30% representation of women-owned companies working on our projects, but at this stage, we’ve achieved 13% and much work remains to be done.
For this and many other reasons, we have consistently ensured that not less than 50% of our Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) is allocated to Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME’s), and for this current financial year, it is no different.
Furthermore, and through the Contractor Framework, in January 2020, SMME’s, contractors with Historically Disadvantaged Individuals (HDI) status, and enterprises with women and youth representation, were once again invited to submit their bids for future tenders.
In addition, between June 2019 to date, 116 females from across the province and inclusive of Worcester, Swellendam, Plettenberg Bay and the Cape Metro, received accredited artisan training in plastering, plumbing, painting, bricklaying, carpentry, health and safety and other technical aspects of the sector.
Upskilling our young women will ensure they are either able to become entrepreneurs and eventually create opportunities for other young people or acquire meaningful employment.
As the Western Cape Government, we remain committed to empowering and training our women, so that equality can be achieved in this sector.”