18 November 2018


Gaobuse holding her own in a male dominated construction industry 

by: Ipeleng Matlabe   date: 29 june 2018

Pinky Gaobuse grabbed an opportunity that was presented by government learnership programmes to empower herself with construction skills. Today, she plies her trade alongside male competitors in an industry previously deemed suitable for men. She has challenged the stereotypes and defeated the odds, thanks to her determination.

Gaobuse from Dihatshwane village outside Mahikeng, is the founder of Lutubukwe Construction, a company she started in 2015. Like any young person in South Africa, Gaobuse found herself faced with unemployment, but refused to feel sorry for herself or give up.
“I decided to open my own company because I was not working and was not going to wait for handouts from government,” said Gaobuse.

Gaobuse did not have an opportunity to pursue her studies beyond Grade 12, but she participated in learnership programmes provided by government. That is where she started honing her skills in construction. 

She told Semphete that she has always had an interest in the construction industry because she enjoys working with her hands.

“I believe we have so much at our disposal to make a life for ourselves, we just need to find out what it is and use it,” she said.

Gaobuse admitted that starting her own company was not a walk in the park, but none of the obstacles she came across were shook her enough to deter her from her goals. 

“Starting your own company requires a lot. One must be well vested about processes. Fortunately in my case, I had a lot of support and help from my family,” she explained.

She has been sub-contracted to erect fence along the Mahikeng to Lichtenburg dual carriageway road. Gaobuse said employing men helped a lot because of the labour intensive nature of the job. 

One of the challenges she noted was that managing people was not easy and it seemed even harder when you are a woman. 

“Sometimes workers leave the site when they do not get paid and that causes a delay, resulting in failure to meet deadlines,” said Gaobuse.

She said there still remained a need for more women to join the construction industry and that government had to put more efforts in attracting more women, starting at an elementary level. 

“It is also important that more construction opportunities be given to women so as to empower and establish them,” said Gaobuse.
One of Gaobuse’s long-term goals is to keep growing her company by tendering for more projects in order to boost her grading.

“I also want to give back to my community by recruiting more women into construction. They need to know that it is difficult, yet very possible,” she said.