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Kuhle: Pearl Khuzwayo

The construction industry is still a largely male domain, but this has not deterred Durban’s Pearl Khuzwayo. Her company, Kuhle Utility Services is part of the Ilimbe consortium which is building Durban’s new R7 billion La Mercy Airport.

Monique Verduyn

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Pearl Khuzwayo

Khuzwayo dreams big. Armed with adiploma in project management and some savings, she launched Kuhle in 2004 andregistered the business two years later. Her first project was a R50 000 onebuilding roadside stops for the eThekwini Municipality. Today she employs 74people and the business has been given a level six grading for general buildingby the Construction Industry Development Board. This means Kuhle has thefinancial and works capability to take on projects valued up to R13 million.

“Entering this industry was achallenge,” says Khuzwayo. “It was hard for clients to trust that a young womancould run a construction company, and even more difficult for them to believethat I could manage a full construction project from start to finish. Today,our track record speaks for itself.” Where some might be intimidated at thethought of working with the big boys, Khuzwayo’s experience of buildingalongside listed companies WBHO and Group 5 has only boosted her drive to turnher enterprise into a company that has the resources to take on major projects. Kuhle is currently involved in theconstruction of schools, clinics, roads and industrial buildings. Another 2010 project that Khuzwayo is workingon is the major upgrade and renovation of the KwaMnyandu train station inUmlazi.

“I like getting my hands dirty,” shesays. “Being involved in many different projects has helped us acquire thetechnical, management and administration skills which are essential for thegrowth of any business.” Khuzwayo says her determination alongwith government’s empowerment policies and millennium development goals havehelped the business to grow at an average of 40% a year. Recession, whatrecession?

Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.

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