Nomahlubi Mrubata dedicates herself to giving back to her community

“I was born in Upper Gxulu village, a previously disadvantaged community in Keiskammahoek, one of the smallest towns in the Eastern Cape,” relates Hlubi, a project manager at Gamtoos Irrigation Board. “I was one of seven children born to my parents. My dad passed away in 2003, but we still have my mother, who is now 87.”

After schooling in Keiskammahoek, Hlubi was determined to study. She started with short courses in computers and office practice at Damelin. Then she enrolled for a Catchment Management social development course at Saasveld Forestry College in George. Her passion for education stood her in good stead.

“By 1996 I was employed as an administrator with the Working for Water programme, implemented by the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries in Keiskammahoek.

“Four years later I started working for SANParks in an admin role at the Woody Cape Working for Water project in Alexandria.

Then she moved on, always looking for something to challenge and inspire her. “I got my foot in the door with GIB as an admin assistant in the PE office. At this time my colleague, Sue Swain, told me about a position being advertised for a project manager at GIB. I took a chance, applied and, thank God, I got the job. That was in 2003 and I have been working for GIB ever since. This place is my second home!”

Hlubi says that working for GIB was an important turning point for her. “It gave me job security. I knew that I could trust and rely on my employers.

“They take care of skills development and look out for their employees’ well-being. The salary at the end of every month meant that I could take care of my family. I was able to send my kids to school, and my first-born daughter graduated while I was in their employment.”

Area manager of the East Gamtoos Irrigation Board region, Andrew Knipe, is full of praise for Hlubi. “She is a remarkable and very hardworking lady.”

As a project manager based in King Williams Town, Hlubi has oversight of the clearing of alien plants in the Katberg and Post Retief areas.  She works closely with about 200 community members employed on these projects.

“Another project that we worked on is thicket rehabilitation – we were planting spekboom at the Great Fish Nature Reserve with 144 community members. These projects are all in the Raymond Mhlaba Local Municipality area”.

What inspires Hlubi about her job?  “It’s the opportunity given by the Department and GIB to implement these projects, enabling me to make a difference in the lives of many people in these communities.”