Mabotha aims to excel in building sector

MANAGING a construction project remains a major gap in the industry, but Phuti Mabotha aims to master this skill.

Mabotha, 28, of Centurion, Pretoria, manages the construction of Kingsway Secondary School, near Benoni, Ekurhuleni, which is scheduled to be completed next month.

He also works as a quantity surveyor on the same project.

When Mabotha was doing the first year of his diploma in building at the University of Johannesburg in 2004 he worked for quantity surveyors Maqsicon.

He spent three years at Maqsicon before moving to another quantity surveyor, Davis London, where he also worked for three years.

Mabotha's turning point came when he joined Mafuri Infrastructure Africa last year.

He was placed on a school building project in Benoni, where he first worked as a quantity surveyor.

"I was responsible for the finances of the project and later became an assistant site manager," Mabotha said.

"I was assigned a mentor to help me on the project."

Among his duties is to monitor the payment of subcontractors.

"In the construction project we look for local people to do bricklaying, glazing, carpentry, painting and plastering," Mabotha said.

He said subcontractors are expected to employ at least 40 percent of locals in their workforce.

Mabotha is one of the beneficiaries of incubation programmes by Mafuri.

Established in 2006, Mafuri specialises in building schools, mining surface infrastructure, water reservoirs, roads and bridges.

Bernard Magabe, chief executive of Mafuri, said a lot of black SMMEs were not equipped to run big projects.

"We create an incubation environment in which small contractors thrive," Magabe said.

He said Mafuri hired consultants to do the architectural design, cost the project and then gets small contractors to do the rest of the job.

"We are calling for engineers, foremen, technicians (plumbers, electricians, draughtsman) and planners to be part of this great opportunity," Magabe said.

Anyone interested in the Mafuri initiative can send an email to:

"We also teach subcontractors financial management while they are working in our projects," he said.

Mafuri has built 16 schools in Gauteng using small businesses.

"Our job is making small contractors build quality buildings, within budget and within the specified deadline," Magabe said.