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Schalk Burger | 1 February 2023

Photo by Creamer Media

he South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) has awarded four major construction tenders collectively worth nearly R7-billion for projects in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, which will help boost the construction sector and should be seen as part of the broader national effort by government to invest in economic infrastructure, it said.

Additionally, in line with its commitment to the economic development of black businesses, at least 30% of the contract value of each tender will be subcontracted to small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMMEs).

Stakeholder engagement sessions will also be prioritised in the affected communities to ensure that local business and jobseekers have access to relevant information that will enable them to pursue and participate in the economic opportunities flowing from these tender awards and projects.

“Through the establishment of project liaison committees, we will also ensure fairness and transparency in all the appointments of subcontractors and the engagement of local labour. We want to see meaningful transformation that truly changes people’s lives for the better,” says Sanral chairperson Themba Mhambi.

In the Eastern Cape, the construction of the N2 Wild Coast Highway from the Msikaba Bridge to the Mtentu Bridge was awarded to construction company WBHO H&I joint venture (JV) at a cost of R25-billion. On this 54-month project, which includes three months of site mobilisation, no less than 35% will be subcontracted to black-owned SMMEs, exceeding Sanral's transformation targets.

Further, the rehabilitation of the N2 from Mt Frere to Ngcweleni river was awarded to construction company Rumdel Construction Cape at a cost of R1.2-billion, and the 45-month contract will see SMMEs benefit from 30% of the subcontracting.

Additionally, the construction of the N2 Wild Coast Highway from Lingeni Intersection to the Msikaba Bridge in the Eastern Cape was awarded to WBHO-Edwin Construction JV, valued at R2.2-billion. This project, which spans 45 months, will see SMME project participation at 35%, also exceeding Sanral's transformation targets.

In KwaZulu-Natal, the upgrade of the N11 from the N11/R103 Interchange to Elandslaagte, with a contract value of R864-million, was awarded to construction company Raubex Construction. The contract, which will span 39 months, will see more than R250-million, or 30%, subcontracted to SMMEs.

“Over and above the substantial subcontracting, which is collectively worth R2.1-billion, these projects are a platform for large-scale job creation, skills development, knowledge transfer and poverty relief, especially in the rural communities of South Africa. The significantly long construction periods afford sustained economic opportunities for these communities,” says Mhambi.

“When the Sanral separately funded community development projects are factored into the equation, the number of SMME opportunities as well as training and job opportunities for ordinary members of our communities significantly increases, thus tangibly reducing unemployment, inequality and poverty,” he adds.

“We are alive to the cries from our industry for more projects to be put out to tender, but we are equally committed to fair and transparent procurement processes, as well as the need to prioritise the economic development opportunities for historically disadvantaged people on Sanral projects.

“Moving forward, striking a balance between safeguarding our big and established companies and creating opportunities for black businesses at higher and lower industry standards organisation Construction Industry Development Board grades will be a material deliverable within Sanral,” Mhambi notes.

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

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