Women in the construction industry

Taking the bull by the horns

14 February 2020 | Business

Michelline Nawatises





Eva Tomas grew up in a large family and was raised by her parents who gave her most of what she needed through a lot of sacrifice and hard work. She had a fair chance to make new friends as she attended five primary schools, namely International Primary School, Oranjemund Private School, Opawa Primary School, Francis Galton Primary School and Afrikaans Medium, now known as Tsumeb Secondary School and one secondary school, Etosha Secondary School.

The phrase “old habits die hard” are evident with Tomas as her tertiary education was at three South African universities, namely Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), University of Johannesburg (UJ) and University of the Free State (UFS) where she obtained qualifications in architecture and town planning.

“I am currently a town planner in training and I have worked in the building/construction industry for 12 years now. I’ve also done events management in the past, through which we hosted women empowerment events and I also love farming which I currently do as well,” she says.

Her job is to supervise the architectural function from design to the production of drawings before submitting them to local authorities for approval and ensuring that design and documentation of drawings are completed on time and efficiently. It also consists of working with town planning consultants on the approval of subdivisions and consolidation proposals.

Challenges and Achievements

According to Tomas, studying architecture was one of her biggest challenges and accomplishments to date. “It was a challenging course and not many of us made it to the finish line,” she says. Tomas says there was a time she told her parents that she would rather drop architecture and go study psychology at the University of Namibia.

The second challenge was getting retrenched from an architectural firm due to a lack of work.

“A few of us were let go. I stayed at home for six months. It was a hard time but it passed. Finding my feet again career-wise wasn’t easy. I had to take up employment where I was earning three times less than what I was earning before. I persevered, and I made my way to a place where I am happy with my progress.”

“My daily routine involves checking and replying to emails, attending to queries and providing the required support on the projects we are busy with and provide required inputs to the Projects Department. Furthermore, checking drawings for correctness and signing them off and submitting them to my line manager for approval as well as local authorities. I sort out due payments and ensure the department has all it needs to progress efficiently.”

What inspires her is reading autobiographies. “Right now I’m busy reading Basetsana Khumalo’s, ‘Bassie, My Journey of Hope’. Seeing the world through the eyes of someone who has overcome so much and achieved so much inspires me and it opens one’s mind,” she says.

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