Building better: investing in people

14 October 2021

GVK-Siya Zama Contracts Manager, Alice Lennox, can be described as a woman in a hard hat who is deliberate and not afraid of challenging the status quo. She strongly believes that the civil engineering industry is one that can be used to not only grow the construction industry, but the economy as a whole.

A path to construction

As a teenager, Lennox never imagined that she would become a civil engineer. It was after an aptitude test which she took in high school in 1992 that she realised she should consider studying civil engineering.

Lennox matriculated with high grades, which resulted in her securing a bursary from Transnet. Her bursary covered her tuition fees and enabled her to study civil engineering. Upon attaining her qualification as a civil engineer in 1996, Lennox started working at Transnet. She held a senior position, which was a great start for her, considering her age at the time.

In 1998, after being approached by construction company LTA, Lennox made a move and joined the company, who later merged with Grinaker to become Grinaker-LTA. A highlight during her time with Grinaker-LTA was being involved in the Limpopo Rail Line Rehabilitation Project and working with USAID who provided financial assistance during the reconstruction of the road and rail infrastructure in Mozambique after the heavy flooding in 2000.

Working on this project came with a location change when Lennox moved to Mozambique where she lived for three years. The role came with great exposure and involvement in bidding for new tenders and projects. She moved to Murray and Roberts where she became part of the Gautrain construction in 2005.

From managing projects, to bids to contracts

In 2010, following the opening of phase one of the Gautrain for the Soccer World Cup, Lennox was ready to take on a new challenge. She joined Stefanutti Stocks and moved to Namibia to work on the construction of the Trekkopje Uranium Plant for two years. Various civils jobs followed, and Lennox worked, among other roles, as a bid leader and then project manager, which included the design and construction of the Sedimentation Plant at Zuikerbosch Pumping Station, as well as the extension of the Gautrain Platform at O.R. Tambo Airport, and the construction of the Pollution Control Dams at Klipspruit Mine.

In October 2020, Lennox was offered the role of Contracts Manager at GVK-Siya Zama, where she has since become a key member of the team growing a new business unit in the GVK-Siya Zama fold. Her passion for the industry, combined with her cross-functional experience and vision, are some of the strengths that have stood her in good stead in various leadership positions.

“The construction industry can be tough, challenging and demanding,” says Lennox. “Although I have made the transition from safety boots to boardroom, I believe construction is in my blood and I really cannot imagine doing anything else.”

Building the path to an equitable industry

“My current role requires leadership skills and it’s incredibly rewarding to see change and to watch people grow in their roles. I also have a vested interest in not only growing my team, but being a mentor and pushing them to inspire others, particularly the younger members of our team,” she says.

According to, only one in five engineers in South Africa is a woman. “Although construction is deemed as a man’s domain, there are definite opportunities for women to enter the space, make a difference, and build the future of the country,” Lennox adds. Lennox has managed to achieve a balance between her career and her responsibilities as a mother to her twelve-year-old daughter. She has also built solid networks with her male counterparts.

GVK-Siya Zama aims to grow its Civils department through investing in human capital. Having someone like Lennox with a wealth of knowledge and exceptional leadership skills is a great start in ensuring that the department goes from strength to strength. “It is challenging joining the business during a time when the country and the world are trying to recover from the impact of a global pandemic; however, civils is one key industry that can be used to aid economic recovery,” concludes Lennox.

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