Opening up construction

Filbert Mokale, Elvis Mokoena and Shela Moyo. © Unknown.
Filbert Mokale, Elvis Mokoena and Shela Moyo. © Unknown.

The construction industry has been a tough nut to crack for many black people.

But bosom friends Filbert Mokale, 34, and Shela Moyo, 37, say it was a breeze.

The two are co-directors of Filbert and Shela Business Enterprise, a small construction company. They began their journey in a shack office in 2002 in Alexandra, where they were born.

Their clients now include the bus and truck-making company Marco Polo and its parent company Cyril Ramaphosa's Shanduka Group.

The company does the paving and maintenance at all the buildings where the two companies operate.

"We are trying to motivate other people to enter this market because many have a bad perception and attitude towards this industry," said Moyo.

Filbert and Shela Business Enterprise now has offices in Wynberg, a stone's throw from Alexandra. Shanduka and Filbert and Shela hosted the well-known US motivational speaker, Lisa Nicol, in May. She came to speak to students at high schools in Alexandra about career options.

The company has leased out nine offices at its headquarters in Wynberg to emerging black-owned companies.

"All that we are doing - from inviting speakers from abroad and giving out office space to others - is a way of ploughing back into our communities," says Moyo.

Among the company's projects are the Dube Community Centre in Soweto, a horse stable in Kyalami, Midrand, and the construction of a wall around the Number 3 Square sports field in Alexandra.

Mokale says that one day they hope to match giants in the construction industry, such as Group Five and Murray & Roberts.

"What is important is to have a vision of growing our business in a professional manner as we are under the supervision of Shanduka," says Mokale.

Donny Nicol, executive director for the Shanduka Foundation, says the two young men came across as very dedicated when she met them six years ago. They still exhibit the same trait, she says.

"They are exceptional people driven not only by an ambition to become good businessmen but they also take others from their communities with them," says Nicol.

Shanduka helps finance Filbert and Shela Business Enterprise's projects.