Eastern Cape projects inject R30-million in SMME development

The N2 is a national route in South Africa that runs from Cape Town through Port Elizabeth, East London and Durban to Ermelo. Its total distance of 2,255 kilometres makes it the longest numbered route in South Africa.

The South African National Roads Agency (SOC) Limited (SANRAL) utilised more than 200 local labourers from King William’s Town to work on a major road construction project, which is due to conclude at the end of November.

SANRAL has trained 26 CIDB grade one and two SMMEs on the first phase of the rehabilitation project of the N2 from Buffalo River to Breidbach and the R63 from Alexandra Road to Bhisho.

Six of these SMMEs were also directly employed on this project. Furthermore, a total of 21 SMMEs ranging from CIDB grade one to six participated in this project, with approximately R30-million being spent on SMMEs.

Mbulelo Peterson, SANRAL’s Southern Region manager, said: “SANRAL would like to express their gratitude to all motorists and residents for their understanding during the construction process, and their trust that the new improved road will result in safer travels for road users in King William’s Town.

“Already, SANRAL is receiving good feedback on the Hargreaves traffic circle with motorists commenting on the improved traffic flow.”

Phase two is the realignment of the N2 from the Bulembu Airport Road intersection to the Buffalo River Bridge, tying into phase one. “This project will include improvements in the horizontal and vertical alignment of the N2 and the construction of three new bridges, which will replace the current ones,” Peterson added.

Phase three will include the construction of the Breidbach underpass and partial construction of the Belstone interchange. “This system is designed to make travelling easier for travellers from East London to Bhisho,” he said.

Second phase

Phases two and three of the roadworks will start in mid-2018 and will run concurrently over a construction period of 30 months.

“It is envisaged that further opportunities for SMMEs will be created in the implementation of these phases, in line with government policy on empowering SMMEs,” Peterson said.

Progress Hlahla, SANRAL’s Southern Region project manager, said the construction went well and he looked forward to working on other phases. “I extend my gratitude to all government departments and private entities including SMMEs who participated in the realisation of phase one of this project, and [I] look forward to further partnering and intergovernmental cooperation in the implementation of phases two and three.”