Black Owned Civil Engineering giants, Khato Civils and South Zambezi are officially among the few black owned construction companies to achieve the maximum Construction Industry grading, Grade 9 rating, otherwise known as the CIDB grading in South Africa.
During their recently held Annual General Meeting in Johannesburg, the executive chairman of the two civil works and engineering companies Simbi Phiri proudly announced that his companies have been graded level 9 in Civil Engineering, general building, mechanical engineering and electrical infrastructure.
To put the Khato Civils and South Zambezi’s impressive grading credentials into context , the latest CIDB report released in July says that most black owned contractors make grades 2-4. The CIDB report also observes that black ownership is lower in mechanical, electrical and specialist engineering contractors and significantly lower in grade 9, at around 25-30%.
Khato civils and South Zambezi are in that special group making the 25-30 per cent mentioned by the CIDB 2017 report. While the report laments that most black owned contractors do not make the grade in mechanical, electrical and specialist grading, Khato Holdings are celebrating grade 9 certification in many areas including mechanical and electrical engineering that is said to be in short supply among the majority of black owned enterprises in the whole of South Africa.
Khato Civils’ celebrations of their Grade 9 ratings comes at a time when the CIDB report shows that about 24 per cent of contractors struggled to maintain their cidb grading at three year renewal during the period under review due to poor economic conditions and diminishing work opportunities.
The Khato Civils impressive rating interestingly comes out in a year when seven of the leading construction giants were involved in a scandal of bid collusion and price fixing, while the report also observes that the year under review exposed poor adherence to safety by some of the leading companies as shown by the charlotte maxele roof collapse expansion project .
From his Khato Holdings AGM notes however it is clear that executive chairman Simbi Phiri’s secret ingredients for success in the cutthroat industry has been their recruitment policy which emphasises on recruiting only the best, while their work ethics demand that staff should act with absolute professionalism.
Khato Holdings’ prudent financial management policy also continues to set them apart from the rest. As their finance director Pride Phiri puts it, “When funds come, we understand that this money does not belong to our pockets, we are only paid in trust so that we distribute it to tax authorities, employees, sub-contractors, to our supply chain, before the shareholders can have their bit.
Khato Holdings CEO Mongezi Mnyani says it is not by fluke that his company has acquired so many Grade 9 ratings in a short
Mnyani says the location of their headquaters, at Midrand, as well as the size of resources they put towards erecting their state of the art headquaters, over R600 million, attest to their seriousness.
The CEO also says that his company had not been shy to spend big on acquiring revolutionary equipment unlike others who prefer to rent machinery.
Mnyane says Khato Holding made a statement when they invested in latest technology equipment worth about R1.7 billion rand.
According to Mnyane they had made it their mission to complete their projects before deadline and within budget. “ We realized our little profit from completing projects on time and within budget and this allowed us to invest in advanced technology like tesmic trenchers, also known as rockeaters; each machines accomplishes in one day, what would otherwise take 20 excavators; we have all the machinery we need and are able to establish a site within one day after being appointed”, the CEO said proudly.
Meanwhile executive director Phiri also briefed the AGM that their signature project at Giyani was progressing well with current phase expected to be completed by December this year, should client have the funds to commit to the last mile of the project.
The signature project is a 345km of bulk pipeline laying, overhauling of existing booster pump stations and sewer pump stations on the pipeline as well as revitalizing existing services.
Khato Civils and South Zambezi have already succeeded in restoring clean and potable water to the local Nkhensani hospital, as well as solving the sewer issues in the city.
The project had been marred by controversy mainly due to funding issues that have seen the contractor sometimes going for extended period without payment. The scale of the project has also been revised downwards from the initial estimate of R 11 billion.
However it is believed that about R1 billion would be needed to get water flowing to the people of Giyani by December as this phase of the project aims to close on a high.
Khato Civils with South Zambezi and LTE consulting were appointed by Leppelle Northern Water on an engineering, procurement and construction basis for the Mopani District Municipality Water and Sanitation Revitalization programme to address the short term water and sanitation challenges in the Greater Giyani municipality as well as provide the medium to long term solutions to the water and sanitation challenges in the area.