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Note to editors: the following speech was delivered by City of Cape Town Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille, at a lunch that she hosted for the City’s all-women road repair teams today at the Civic Centre Banqueting Hall.

Mayoral Committee Member: Transport for Cape Town (TCT), Councillor Brett Herron; TCT Commissioner, Melissa Whitehead; TCT officials; my special guests; all of the women from the road repair teams; and members of the media.

Good afternoon.

It gives me great pleasure to be with you all today as we honour 24 women who have made this city proud.As an opportunity city, we are committed to empowering residents so that they can develop skills, access opportunities and design their own futures.

Since 2015, the City has established four all-women road repair teams based at TCT depots in Ndabeni, Fish Hoek, Heideveld and Kuils River as part of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) within TCT.

Today it is my pleasure to host the 24 women who have been trained to do repair and maintenance work on roads, footways and stormwater infrastructure in these areas.

We established these teams because we wanted to change perceptions.

Not too long ago it would have been unthinkable for women to wield heavy tools and repair our roads.

But we wanted to empower women, achieve gender transformation, and show that women are equal to men in the workplace.

Today, we can say that we have made progress in achieving this.

And the credit goes to you: the 24 women who make up the four all-female road repair teams.

This programme has not only empowered you and taught you new skills, but has also been recognised nationally. In May this year, it was named the Most Innovative Women Programme at the fourth annual Women in Construction awards ceremony held in Johannesburg.

I am immensely proud of what you have achieved.

I am proud that you have taken your destiny into your own hands and that you took this leap to learn new skills and empower yourselves.

You have shown that women can compete with their male counterparts in physically demanding jobs such as repairing potholes, laying kerbs, cleaning stormwater infrastructure and building sidewalks.

I know that our city is full of hard-working women who are valuable members of their respective teams.

Women all over our city – women like you – are the heroes in their families and an example that young girls can look up to.

In the coming years, we aim to expand the number of women teams so that the work environment reflects our gender transformation agenda.

We plan to increase the number of female workers at our depots and will provide supporting training programmes, including change management, to achieve this.

We will initiate various programmes to achieve uniform professionalism in the City’s transport sector.

Our TCT Training Academy will build capacity and serve as an incubator for innovation and learning.

It is my hope that TCT will become an agent for change and progress.

By working together, we can continue to make progress possible, and make our great City even greater.

Thank you once again to all of you for leading the way, and for doing so with pride and excellence.

We are so proud of all of you.

Thank you, baie dankie, enkosi, shukran.

God bless.

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