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SANRAL announces project plans for Joe Gqabi District Municipality


The South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) has announced its upcoming road infrastructure development projects for the road network within Joe Gqabi District Municipality at its Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME) Roadshow, held at the Limakatso Conference Centre in Aliwal North.

SANRAL manages a road network of 4 950km in the Eastern Cape. This is 22% of its total 22 190km national road network. Since 2009, SANRAL has injected R33.3 billion in the Eastern Cape's road network. Of this, R11.7 billion was allocated for the past two financial years, R5 billion for the 2017/18 FY. The roads agency has over 160 projects lined up in different parts of the province for the next three financial years (18/19, 19/20 and 20/21); these projects are in the initiation, design and construction stages.

SMME Roadshow: Welekazi Ndika, SANRAL Southern Region Stakeholder Relations Coordinator (left) and Thandiswa Nqunqa, SANRAL Southern Region SMME coordinator addressed SMMEs during the agency's roadshow, held in Aliwal North.

Among the Southern Region's top 10 capex projects for the 2018/19 FY, one is situated within Joe Gqabi District Municipality in Elundini Local Municipality.

This is a capital expenditure project that entails the upgrading of the R56 from Indwe through to the towns of Ugie and Elliot, to Maclear. The project commenced in February 2016 and is nearing completion, with the completion date having been extended from August 2018.

"The highlights of projects, current and upcoming in the district municipality, are the employment opportunities that will be created for locals," said Gideon Machethe, SANRAL Southern Region Project Manager.

Machethe added that the projects will create skills training and development of local labourers and will accelerate the CIDB upgrading for local SMMEs.

SANRAL projects in the planning, design and construction phases in the Joe Gqabi District include:

* R56 Indwe to Maclear (through Elliot & Ugie): the project is nearing completion * R58 Aliwal North to Lady Grey: the project is in the design phase * R58 Lady Grey to Barkly East slope 2: in the design phase * R56 Steynsburg (km 0) to Molteno (km 57.9): is in the planning phase * N6 portion from Jamestown boundary to Aliwal North (Routine Road Maintenance) * N6 Jamestown (km 0) to Nek (km 14): at award stage * N6 Orange River Bridge in Aliwal North: is in planning stage * R391: R56 Intersection to Burgersdorp (Special Maintenance): construction stage

Representing the Executive Mayor of the District, Cllr Dumisani Mvumvu, a Joe Gqabi District Municipality Mayoral Committee Member and Portfolio Head of Community Services, encouraged SMMEs to grow.

"The world is confronted with poor growth economic development and recession. These impact on job creation and the ever-increasing youth unemployment. South Africa is not immune to these realities.

Studies revealed that the SMMEs are considered as the engine of the economic growth all over the world. Economists discovered that in Africa SMMEs in countries like Ghana and South Africa have a huge impact in economic development and job creation," Mvumvu said.

"As a district, we appreciate the efforts by SANRAL to build capacity and share expertise with our contractors. We also wish to commend your organisation for supporting government's call to ensure that 30% of the total expenditure in a project goes to the local contractors," Mvumvu said.

The engagement session attracted more than 200 guests who consisted of stakeholders from the business fraternity, local government, sector departments, engineering consultants, contractors, SMMEs, project managers and project liaison officers (PLOs).

SMMEs present appreciated the engagement and requested SANRAL to have follow up engagements in the future

SMME growth: Cllr Dumisani Mvumvu, a Joe Gqabi District Municipality Mayoral Committee Member and Portfolio Head of Community Services, encouraged SMMEs to grow.

Welekazi Ndika, SANRAL Southern Region Stakeholder Relations Coordinator, presented to SMMEs the agency's Horizon 2030 strategy and its transformation agenda that seeks to transform the construction sector to be more inclusive.

She cautioned SMMEs against the trend of demanding projects to be ring-fenced for wards, saying this would be shooting themselves in the foot as it would translate to SMMEs only being able to work on projects within their wards and would take ages to upgrade to higher grading. It must also be borne in mind that it ring-fencing or setting aside projects for wards or forums is illegal and against procurement legislation, Ndika said.

She also said project disruptions, office invasions, threats to staff and damage to property are not only a threat to project completion because of delays, but they lead to cost overruns and infrastructure delivery paralysis.

"SANRAL recognises the clear and present risk of continued lack of inclusion of black business in SANRAL contracts; the result is socioeconomic and sociopolitical instability," Ndika said, at the engagement session in Aliwal North, on Thursday, 20 September 2018.

She added that SANRAL does not intend to destroy the large construction sector. It is not the intention of the Transformation Policy to reduce standards, compromise quality and erode technical excellence in roads delivery.

Speaking on challenges faced by SMMEs in SANRAL projects, Vanda Nqunqa, SMME Coordinator for SANRAL Southern Region, said she was available to assist to ensure issues raised by SMMEs are speedily addressed and resolved.

Athenkosi Mpayipheli, from the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC), explained the role of the ECDC and how it can assist SMMEs. He elaborated on the various loan options available to SMMEs, but highlighted there was a need to change the current system where subcontractors are paid by the main contractor. He said the delay in payments affects the SMME's cashflow and can have a debilitating effect on their operations.



Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER

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