“I am out of words – I am truly humbled by being the contractor of the year and the winner of the best priority project award.”
This was the joyful reaction of Rachel Tladi, director of the Uvuko Civils and Construction Company, as she received the overall best contractor of the year award in the provincial edition of the 2014 Govan Mbeki Awards.
The recognition is meant to promote and inculcate a culture of excellence in the delivery of quality human settlements and dignity to South Africans.
The awards were named after Govan Mbeki in 2006 based on the role the anti-apartheid icon played and the vision he had on the preservation of human dignity and provision of human settlements for all.
At a ceremony for the Free State leg of the awards held at Goldfields Casino in Welkom on July 24, Tladi walked away with the grand prize of R100 000.
She won for the RDP project she undertook in the northern Free State township of Zamdela’s Amelia area.
“Thanks to our government for affording me this opportunity to showcase what we can do – it was not an easy task working in Amelia,” Tladi said after she accepted the accolade from human settlements MEC Olly Mlamleli.
“As I sat down in the audience I got a cell-phone message that at the Star Awards being held in Gauteng this same night my company was also selected the best contractor of the year and I’m so humbled by all this.”
The province’s Govan Mbeki best informal settlement upgrading award went to QuickLeap Investments Construction Company from Welkom, while the best social housing programme award went to Freshco Construction Company.
Thabo Phera got the best student award, with the woman contractor of the year accolade going to Mohlahleli Construction.
All category winners are going to represent the Free State province during in the national competition of the Govan Mbeki Awards.
In her keynote address, Mlamleli said South Africa and the Free State province in particular had come a long way in having citizens living in dignified and sustainable homes.
“A home is very important in our culture – it is the basis from which people can realise their potential and prosper,” the MEC said.
“Apartheid’s spatial patterns used to make sure that African people and blacks in general live on the peripheries of economic activity rather than in the centre of it, away from shopping malls, schools and churches,” she added.
“However, we are moving to undo just that with our new integrated housing settlements.”
Mlamleli said since the dawn of democracy in 1994 the Free State province alone has provided housing to 200 000 families.
“We are now on course of getting the Free State Development Corporation to act like a bank that will finance the gap market to get houses – that is people who are earning too low to qualify for a bond but are also earning too much to qualify for a free government RDP house,” she said.
Mlamleli said plans are also afoot to demolish the G-Hostel in Thabong and replace it with a habitable and dignified structure.
She announced her office was also busy with the construction of the Bokamoso Ba Bana Centre in the Moqhaka Local Municipality town of Kroonstad to cater for abused and vulnerable children.