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Doing it ourselves

Written by Mbulelo Baloyi
The S’hamba Sonke - Moving Together road construction and maintenance programme has been modelled on the successful KwaZulu-Natal-based Zibambele Road Maintenance Contract System.

Zibambele, which means “doing it ourselves” was started in 1999 by the KwaZulu-Natal Transport Department as a poverty-relief project under the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).

Its main aim is to provide work opportunities for rural households headed by women. It currently employs 40 000 contractors, the majority of whom are women.

Rural roads

The objective of the project is maintenance of approximately 1 200 km of rural roads. Activities include cleaning of the road surfaces and edges and clearing of drains and channels.

Each woman-headed household is tasked with the maintenance of a specific length of community access road in the rural areas where they live.

Kamoso Awards

The project has won a Kamoso EPWP Award for four years in a row. The Kamoso Awards is an annual event of the Public Works Department to recognise excellence in the carrying out of EPWP projects.

Savings Club

The 12-year old road-maintenance project has also seen the formation of Zibambele Savings Club programme  through which contractors organise themselves into savings clubs. To date, they have collectively saved more than R6 million.