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Road agency commits R4bn to NC roads

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Government was determined to see more people benefitting from the economic opportunities presented by infrastructure programmes

File picture: Neil Baynes / Independent Media.

THE SOUTH African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (Sanral) has committed more than R4 billion to road maintenance and improvements in the Northern Cape over the next three years and a large portion of this will go to small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs).

Of the R4 billion allocated, approximately R500 million is specifically set aside for Routine Road Maintenance (RRM). Between 40% and 60% of this value is specifically targeted at SMMEs, including approximately R50 million for entry level road maintenance subcontractors.

Chairman of Sanral’s board, Themba Mhambi, said that the agency was committed to transforming the construction industry, would not allow fronting and was entirely committed to ensuring that smaller players felt the economic impact of government’s road infrastructure programmes.

Mhambi was addressing close to 300 local entrepreneurs at Sanral’s flagship “Taking Sanral to the People” stakeholders engagement programme held in De Aar recently.

“You have to invest in those small contractors when you need grass cutting done, or cleaning of the road,” said Mhambi. “However, these subcontractors cannot be grass cutters and cleaners forever. You have to train and develop them to take on bigger projects. To date Sanral has more than 3 000 subcontractors countrywide who have been upskilled as a direct result of this method of contractor capacity building.”

The Northern Cape’s MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison, Nontobeka Vilakazi, said government was determined to see more people benefitting from the economic opportunities presented by infrastructure programmes.

“We, representing the Government of South Africa, are here to ensure that we widen the net of economic inclusion for all our people, to ensure that they benefit from the massive infrastructure maintenance and development programmes of Sanral,” said Vilikazi.

“Today, we are here as partners. We all want to see the people of the Northern Cape prosper. We want to see that you take the tools at your disposal, and collectively carve a pathway out of poverty for our people.

“Every South African deserves access to opportunities that will enable them to lead lives they can value, and as government, we will do whatever we can, to create the enabling environment for this to happen,” she said.

With a significant amount of Routine Road Maintenance (RRM) programmes planned for the next three years, the road construction industry will significantly impact on the Province’s economic activity. Fifteen RRM projects are specifically being rolled out in the Province.

The restructuring of the RRM projects allows for the contractor to monitor the training and facilitate the development of subcontractors, gives SMMEs space at the site office and creates a platform for the establishment of a Targeted Enterprise Training and Support Programme. Furthermore, the targeted enterprises will be assisted to institute a quality assurance system, with provision made for ongoing and adequate training, coaching, guidance and mentoring.

Sanral Stakeholder Relations Manager, Siphiwo Mxhosa, added: “We recognise the critical role Sanral plays in the construction and related industries and we are mindful of the impact the construction industry and its procurement has on millions of people.”