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Vusi Mona | 19 September 2023

The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) submits, for the benefit of Moneyweb’s readers, the following perspective on the transformation of the construction industry in response to ‘Sanity will prevail’ in preferential procurement rules dispute – WBHO, a news article published by Roy Cokayne on 15 September 2023 without approaching Sanral for comment.

Given that Sanral’s preferential procurement policy is before the courts – and out of respect for the judiciary – we do not intend to ventilate the merits of our case in the media. However, it is untenable that the leadership of the construction companies involved in the litigation are given so much space to air their views while ours is ignored.

We, therefore, deem it important to share with the public that Sanral is vigorously implementing its transformation policy. Economic transformation is an important requirement of the Constitution of South Africa and is not only the imperative of government but of all fair-minded South Africans, not least of business. Overall, there has been progress in the first 30 years of democracy. However, certain sectors require specific interventions to increase the pace of transformation. It is no secret that the construction sector is lagging behind.

The transformation of our society must translate into meaningful change for the people who were disadvantaged by decades and centuries of apartheid and colonialism. In transforming the construction industry, we are not only advancing government’s broad transformation objectives but also ensuring that communities and black businesses benefit from the Constitutionally enshrined principle of economic empowerment.

Almost 30 years into our democracy, we have learned that the transformation of businesses and the economy must go way beyond ownership. It is not enough for companies to be black-owned; it is also important to look at how communities will benefit from their contracts.

Sanral’s intervention has ensured that communities benefit from jobs going to locals as well as smaller subcontracts going to local businesses. In many instances, smaller companies have used their interactions with Sanral as a way of upgrading their company’s status, ensuring that they are able to bid for contracts outside of their area of origin.

Sanral is aware that transformation is a highly contested area in South Africa and that there are many, particularly those in business, who rail against it because they perceive it to be negatively impacting on their profits. We ask them to consider whether any right-thinking business can allow the inequalities, poverty, and unemployment in our country to remain unchallenged. We are guilty of trying to correct this untenable situation, and of that we are proud.

Sanral will vigorously pursue our mandate to improve the quality of the country’s road infrastructure, contribute towards growing our economy and transform the construction industry in order to achieve greater participation from previously disadvantaged communities.

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


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