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TRACN4 Rally to set eMakhazeni alight

With the 2020 TRACN4 Rally drawing even closer, TRAC is pleased to announce that it is ready to rally! The event – taking place on 27 and 28 November – will boast an impressive field, with the organisers confirming that 30 teams have entered.

This is the second consecutive year that TRAC is sponsoring the South African National Rally Championship series, with the event also serving as the grand finale of the 2020 championships. The Dullstroom Epilepsy Centre will serve as rally headquarters and Day 2’s service park, while the service park for Day 1 will be at the Lakenvlei Service Park.

TRAC’s sponsorship of this exciting event goes hand-in-hand with its corporate social investment (CSI) commitment to communities along the N4 Toll Route. The main beneficiary of this year’s event is the Dullstroom Epilepsy Centre, where upgrades and renovations will be done by TRAC. The centre will also benefit in other ways, including through initiatives by TRAC’s co-sponsors, such as Prepsol that has been created to raise funds for the facility.

According to TRAC CEO Alex van Niekerk it’s full steam ahead for the exciting affair, the first official event for TRAC since the start of the national lockdown and the first for him as captain of the TRAC ship. “When we were approached to again sponsor the rally we didn’t hesitate. We see it as the perfect opportunity to promote and preserve road safety and invest in local communities. Road safety is one of TRAC’s priorities and this event, which takes place just before the festive season, will enable us to further promote our message. “I have never been to a rally like this before and am amped to witness it live and in person. I am confident that I, and everyone fortunate enough to be in the area during the event, will not be disappointed with the impressive driving and top-notch competition,” he said. The organisers and participants agree, adding that they believe this will be the best rally yet!

PRESS RELEASE

More details can be obtained on the SARallying (@SARallying), TRAC (@TRACN4), Safcol (@SafcolSOC) and Dullstroom Events (@dullstroomevents) Facebook pages. In addition, both stages will be broadcast on the SARallying social media pages and RaceDay TV. Motorsport enthusiasts are reminded that due to the global coronavirus pandemic, strict protocols will be in place throughout the event. For more comprehensive information, visit our website www.tracn4.co.za or contact the race secretary via email at samrallies@mweb.co.za.

Dr Pixley Ka Seme Local Municipality ear-marked for road upgrades

The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) will start new routine road maintenance and periodic maintenance projects in the Dr Pixley Ka Seme Local Municipality as soon as January 2021.

SANRAL works hand in hand with the different spheres of government, contractors and other stakeholders  across South Africa to showcase existing and upcoming projects that will benefit communities that live around them. Speaking at SANRAL’s  flagship ‘Taking SANRAL to the People’ community engagement programme in Volksrust on Friday 20 November 2020, SANRAL’s stakeholder coordinator  Melba Geca said: “ SANRAL is here to engage directly with local community members, particularly, local small, micro, and medium enterprises (SMMEs) on planned road upgrades and available tender opportunities. Our objective is to ensure that local SMM’s benefit from SANRAL projects in the Dr Pixley Ka Seme Local Municipality.”

The Routine Road Maintenance (RRM) Projects planned in Dr Pixley Ka Seme Municipality are scheduled to start in January 2021 and are estimated to take 36 months to complete. The scope of work on the RRMs will include general road maintenance such as potholes and road surface repairs, grass cutting, storm water drainage, fencing, and road signs. Roads that will undergo maintenance include:

  • N11 from Volksrust to Msukaligwa municipal border
  • R23 from Volksrust to Lekwa Municipal Border
  • R35 from Amersfoort to Lekwa Municipal Border

Through its community development and RRM projects, SANRAL will identify, train and develop local labourers from small contractors to attain the relevant skills needed for the projects.

“Adequate road infrastructure is critical to the socio-economic status of local municipalities, as it impacts on the empowerment of emerging contractors, particularly its contribution to transformation within the construction industry. SANRAL is committed in enabling that local contractors are equipped with the necessary skills and given support required to complete planned projects.” said Geca.

The Dr Pixley Ka Seme Local Municipality’s Executive Mayor, Phalaborwa Vincent Malatsi, commended SANRAL for taking the time to engage directly with the local community on its  planned projects.

“SANRAL is doing a sterling job in collaborating directly with the Dr Pixley Ka Seme Local Municipality and the community at large. It’s important that the community understands the policies and procedures attached to doing business with SANRAL, as this will enable them to present their businesses better and access the opportunities SANRAL has made available in our region.” said Malatsi.

SANRAL condemns threats of violence and intimidation

The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) has noted with great concern and rejects reports that the agency is party to causing tensions on the Wild Coast in Eastern Cape province. SANRAL is focussed on construction of the N2 Wild Coast Road as part of the national government’s Strategic Infrastructure Projects and conducts all its activities in line with the country’s laws.

SANRAL takes these allegations very seriously and wants to make clear that the roads agency has not and will never participate in illegal activities. On the contrary, SANRAL’s activities are guided by good governance and transparency. Open communication and public participation with all communities have been at the core of SANRAL’s ongoing endeavour to build the multi- billion-rand N2 Wild Coast Road.

SANRAL has held extensive engagements with the affected community stakeholders over the past few years. Recent engagements include those held on 21 September 2020 and 7 October 2020 involving officials from SANRAL and the committee established by the Amadiba Traditional Council to assist in resolving misunderstandings pertaining to the N2 Wild Coast Road by a small group of residents.

The committee comprises representatives of both the inland and coastal or Umgugundlovu traditional sub-authorities, councillors, community trusts, Amadiba Business Forum and the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC). Ms Nonhle Mbuthuma of the ACC was part of both meetings as one of the ACC representatives.

The meetings discussed, among others, how the specific route approved for construction was first identified in 1979 and was included in network planning in the 1980’s, long before minerals were discovered in Xolobeni. It was agreed with all stakeholders at the meeting that the planning of the N2 Wild Coast Road project long predated the discovery of the minerals in Xolobeni by more than a decade.

These facts are evidence that the N2 Wild Coast Road is not being built to allow easier access to the proposed Xolobeni mine. SANRAL is not involved in mining and the road is not being built to facilitate mining activities in the area.

It is also important to note that sections of the N2 Wild Coast Road have been under construction since 2011. The project entails the upgrading and construction of a 410km stretch of road from East London to the Mtamvuna River on the border of the Eastern Cape and the KwaZulu-Natal provinces. The new route will shorten the current distance by 85 kilometres in comparison to the current route, delivering a travel time saving of between one-and-a-half to three-hours for road-users once it is completed and saving the economy R1.5 billion annually.

The project is endorsed by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) as a catalyst for economic development in the region. It is a major project for the province and forms part of government’s 18 Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPS).

The overwhelming majority of local communities support the development of this crucial major infrastructure project because it holds significant socio-economic benefits for local communities, including an estimated 8,000 direct jobs envisaged for construction work, whilst operational work is anticipated to create 900 direct jobs in addition to the 16-20 000 indirect jobs that will flow from the project.

Roadworks on schedule to meet new completion dates

The four major construction projects underway on the N4 Toll Route are on track for completion as per their new completion dates. The projects’ timelines had to be extended earlier this year, following the interruption of work due to the coronavirus national lockdown.
The rehabilitation and/or upgrade projects underway are the rehabilitation of the concrete section between the OR Tambo and Van Dyksdrift interchanges in Middelburg, the rehabilitation and upgrade between Belfast and Machadodorp, the Karino Interchange and the rehabilitation and upgrade between Kaapmuiden and Kaalrug in the Nkomazi region.

Rehabilitation between OR Tambo and Van Dyksdrift Interchanges Roadworks commenced earlier this year and are 38% complete. The extensive project, being managed by Raubex Construction, is valued at approximately R380-million. This 19km stretch was
originally built as a concrete road in 1972 and was overlaid in 2008.

The rehabilitation and expansion project includes the removal and replacement of failed concreteslabs and overlaying the entire section. An additional seven kilometres of passing lanes will also be constructed. This project was initially scheduled for completion in November 2021 but has been rescheduled for completion in March 2022.

Belfast-Machado upgrade

The extensive upgrade between Belfast and Machadodorp is moving along effectively and is 50% complete. The R400-million project is being done under the auspices of WBHO and includes the construction of an interchange as well as the rehabilitation of 30km of Section 5B. The road in this area will also be upgraded to a four-lane carriageway. Roadworks have been rescheduled for completion in May 2022.

Karino Interchange

This Mbombela-based project, valued at R390-million, is 50% complete. Also managed by Raubex, the project will see the existing intersection transformed into a grade-separated interchange, with on- and off-ramps and a bridge that will separate cross-traffic from through-traffic and thus ease traffic flow at this extremely busy intersection.

PRESS RELEASE

Kaapmuiden to Kaalrug Upgrade

This 15.5km road construction project is being managed by Tau Pele Construction and includes the upgrading of the carriageway to four lanes and the rehabilitation of the existing road. This initiative, valued at R340-million, is 50% complete. Although it was expected to take 22 months to complete, it will now only be concluded in August 2021.

Although TRAC endeavours to prevent major traffic disruptions due to road construction, traffic flow may be affected in certain areas, at specific times, and during peak-traffic time. We therefore urge road users to visit www.tracn4.co.za for regular, real-time updates that will assist them to plan their trips accordingly.

SANRAL seeks to work with local SMMEs in eMalahleni to build better roads

A productive economy needs a reliable road infrastructure to connect supply chains and efficiently move goods and services. With reliable  roads, trade becomes possible, job opportunities for struggling communities and small businesses are created, reliable road infrastructure also connects those who are employed with their jobs.

As a key agency in the delivery of the country’s massive investment in economic infrastructure, the South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited’s (SANRAL) visits various provinces across South Africa to showcase upcoming road(s) projects that will be taking place in the targeted region and how the community and local businesses can be involved.

On Wednesday, 18th November 2020 SANRAL visited Mpumalanga to provide a platform for the residents of eMalahleni Local Municipality to interact with its Northern Region project team responsible for all national road networks that pass through the municipality. These engagements form part of SANRAL’s existing stakeholder initiative called ‘Taking SANRAL to the People’ which encourages robust conversations to take place between the roads agency and local community members.

Addressing the community and businesses at the stakeholder engagement session, SANRAL’s northern region stakeholder coordinator Melba Geca mentioned that SANRAL is committed to directly collaborating with local community stakeholders on various road development projects in the region.  “The purpose of today is to ensure that as a critical stakeholder to SANRAL you understand our business and how you would be able to interact with us and benefit from the projects that will be presented to you,” Geca outlined.

Echoing Geca’s sentiments around the purpose of the session, eMalahleni Local Municipality’s Executive Mayor Linah Malatjie emphasised the importance of creating ecosystems where roads agency like SANRAL can come to the people and share information with local business owners.

“We appreciate that SANRAL is coming to the communities of eMalahleni Local Municipality to engage in meaningful discussions regarding the upcoming projects. We want the community to understand the policies and procedures attached to doing business with SANRAL. Such understanding will enable them to present their businesses better and access the opportunities available in the SANRAL road network in our region.” noted Malatjie.

The SANRAL Northern Region project team presented several upcoming projects and were supported by the Regional Manager Mr. Progress Hlahla.

A major project that will fall under the eMalahleni Local Municipality is the Routine Road Maintenance (RRM) scheduled to take place on the national roads R573 (commonly known as Moloto Road); R555 as well as the N12. Scope of work for this RRM will include general road maintenance such as potholes and road surface repairs along the affected network of the road, grass cutting, storm water drainage, fencing, and road signs. This RRM is estimated to take 36 months.

Another planned project that was presented was the repair and resurfacing of National Route 12 (N12) section 20. SANRAL Project Manager Hannes Van Der Merwe indicated that the expected construction duration will be 15 months long. He also indicated that typical work to be done will include concrete pavement repair, pre-treatment of the existing road, traffic accommodation as well as drainage and structures improvements.

SANRAL Project Manager Madoda Mthembu highlighted the importance of small, micro, and medium enterprises (SMMEs) to ensure that their businesses are compliant in order to participate in the tendering of SANRAL’s RRM work. Mthembu took the audience through the evaluation criteria which is made up of three stages that SMMEs need to go through in order to be considered for subcontracting opportunities on RRM.

RRM projects bring hope to Naledi Local Municipality

Two Routine Road Maintenance (RRM) projects to the value of R116m will see small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) access economic development opportunities and create scores of jobs for the people of the Naledi Local Municipality over the next three years.

This was the message of the South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) during its flagship Taking SANRAL to the People programme in Vryburg, in the Naledi Local Municipality recently.

Acting Mayor for Naledi Local Municipality, Cllr Lukas Ekkelton, expressed his gratitude to SANRAL for coming into his constituency to engage all relevant stakeholders and was particularly pleased with the economic development opportunities that the current and future projects would bring, benefitting not only small businesses and local labour, but in fact the region at large.

The two RRM projects cover 155.70km on the N14 Section 9, N18 Section 4&5 and R31 Section 1 as well as 163.50km on the N14 Section 8, N18 Section 2 and N18 Section 3.  The main contractor was appointed at the start of this month, so the way is now being paved to ensure that 50% of the contract, i.e. R58m that must be subcontracted, benefits as many of the SMMEs as possible. The scope of work includes general road maintenance of the road reserve, grass cutting, storm water drainage, fencing, road signs, potholes or road surface repairs, etc.

With President Ramaphosa having identified infrastructure development as the flywheel that will kickstart the SA economy post-COVID-19, SANRAL is committed to expanding the net of economic inclusion for emerging black businesses to participate meaningfully and profitably in its projects.

“We understand that the tendering process can be challenging, particularly for start-ups, and as such, all contracts have a training component that is geared to mentor, train, develop and capacitate sub-contractors,” explain SANRAL Project Manager, Luyanda Mashaba.

Furthermore, SANRAL recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC), that prioritises development of SMMEs in the road construction industry.

That MOU with SAFCEC is specifically geared to enable mentorship, development, capacity building and training of small contractors, giving them the skills and knowledge needed to access economic opportunities and participate profitably in road construction and maintenance projects.

“Apart from SANRAL sharing vital project information with the audience, this engagement session was also an opportunity for robust and frank discussions, which afforded our stakeholders a platform to voice their concerns and seek clarity on terms of project participation. We are satisfied that we have addressed these and remain open to ongoing engagement in a bid to facilitate genuine transformation that will give SMMEs an opportunity to grow and prosper,” said Jullecsia Saul, SANRAL Stakeholder Coordinator for the Northern Region.

SANRAL remains committed to SMME development and community engagement in the quest to transform the industry, as well as its overall strategy that is aligned to the government’s National Development Plan.

SANRAL strengthens relationships with stakeholders

The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) shared information on several road construction, special maintenance and routine road maintenance projects being undertaken in Mbhashe and Mnquma local municipalities.

A presentation on the various projects in the Amathole District Municipality was shared at SANRAL’s Taking SANRAL to the People stakeholder engagement session held in Idutywa yesterday. The key intent at this engagement session was to make local community members and SMMEs aware of how they can benefit from the roads agency’s projects in the area.

“Road infrastructure is critical and is important for economic growth.  For the economy to grow we really need infrastructure. The SANRAL projects are also attracting interest from stakeholders,” said Samkelo Janda, Mbhashe Local Municipality’s executive mayor.

Janda also said the platform created an opportunity for SANRAL to address the stakeholders on roads projects. “Infrastructure becomes critical and SANRAL is fulfilling that role,” he said.

SANRAL engaged stakeholders at the Idutywa Village Lodge in Idutywa and used an online platform to address stakeholders at satellite venues in Ndabakazi, Butterworth. Virtual links were also shared with stakeholders who could not attend the venues, and they also had the option to view the engagement on YouTube.

The Taking SANRAL to the People stakeholder engagement session is aimed at promoting dialogue between the roads agency, all spheres of government, traditional authorities, business fraternity, public transport associations, industry bodies, communities, and other key stakeholders that are affected by SANRAL projects.

At the engagement, SANRAL shared its mission to transform the construction industry to be more inclusive.  Stakeholders were given an update on current projects being undertaken in the Amathole District Municipality, as well as imminent projects planned. SANRAL also used this platform to deliberate on salient issues affecting SANRAL’s service delivery in the area.

SANRAL Southern Region’s transformation officer, Thandile Makwabe gave an overview of the Transformation policy.

“Through our transformation policy, at SANRAL we are mindful of the impact of the construction industry and its procurement has on the people of South Africa in terms of business and job opportunities. We also accept the responsibility to maximise the participation of black contractors, professionals, suppliers and designated groups in all our projects, said Makwabe.

SANRAL in the Eastern Cape manages a road network of 4 952 kilometres. The national road network consists of 22 214 kilometres.

The Southern Region plans to advertise 70 projects in the 2020/21 and 2021/2022 financial year.  Some are in the planning phase, some in the design phase, and some in the construction phase.

SANRAL’s mandate also entails performing routine road maintenance (RRM) of the national road network. In this regard, the agency maintains several routes within Amathole District Municipality.

Part of the engagement was also to inform stakeholders of some upcoming projects.

SANRAL’s major road infrastructure delivery projects in the Amathole District include:

  • RRM on the N2 Section 16 (Km 13.26) to Section 18 (KM 50.38) and National Route R63 Section 16 (KM0.00) to (KM 43.64), and
  • N6 RRM

Projects planned for Mnquma Local Municipality include:

  • N2 Butterworth bypass: Expansion, improvement and maintenance of road infrastructure. The project is in the design phase;
  • Ibika to Tetyana: Expansion and maintenance of road infrastructure. The project is in preliminary design phase; project anticipated to start in 2022; and
  • Ndabakazi interchange: a new facilities project. The project is in the design phase and construction is anticipated to commence in September 2021

Projects planned for the Mbhashe Local Municipality:

  • N2 Idutywa Bypass: a new facilities project. The project is in design phase and is anticipated to commence in 2024.

SANRAL also has completed and has planned upcoming projects in Ngqushwa, Raymond Mhlaba, Amahlathi and Great Kei local municipalities, which also fall under the Amathole District Municipality.

Makwabe said SANRAL has partnered with few key role players to assist black business in entering the mainstream. He said SANRAL has signed memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with certain role players in industry to ensure rapid transformation is doable. The MOUs were signed with BELL, Barloworld, WIRTGEN, Pilot Crushtec, NAFBI and SAFCEC to assist with training of supervisory personnel.

Welekazi Ndika, SANRAL Southern Region’s stakeholder engagement coordinator, shared a detailed presentation on the agency’s 14-Point-Plan, which serves to facilitate better project level liaison with local communities and structures.  The Plan also serves to ensure communication and transparency in the execution of works, ensuring inclusivity in the allocation of projects to benefit black business and local communities. She also elaborated on the principles for the project liaison subcontracting and labour sourcing on all SANRAL projects.

SANRAL brings four projects in Maruleng Local Municipality

The supply of appropriate skills in local communities is a central instrument for promoting long-term growth and development of the South African economy and the construction sector at large. The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) engaged local communities and businesses of Maruleng Local Municipality in Limpopo Province to inform them of the projects they will be rolling out from February 2021 to July 2022 and how the broader community can benefit.

Speaking to SMMEs and local communities in Maruleng Local Municipality regarding the purpose of the day, SANRAL’s stakeholder engagement coordinator for the northern region, Moloko Masenya, said that these engagements with local business and community are a proactive effort that the road agency uses to bring change in the South African construction and engineering sectors. They also promote SANRAL’s contribution to broad-based black economic empowerment, skills development, and the growth of small, micro, and medium enterprises (SMMEs).

“These projects will only succeed and potentially put the construction industry on the verge of transformation if we work hand in hand with the municipality, traditional authorities, and other stakeholders represented under the Project Liaison Committee (PLC). The opportunities these projects would bring include training of unskilled labour, creating job opportunities  for the local community , and  empowering  emerging sub-contractors under the guidance of the main contractors,” Masenya said.

SANRAL’s transformation officer Tshegare Moletsane echoes the same sentiment: “SANRAL is mindful of the impact of the construction industry, and its procurement has on the people of South Africa in terms of skills development and job creation. We accept the responsibility to provide development support to black businesses through structured development programmes and partnerships with industry players to ensure a meaningful growth of black entities in the construction industry. SANRAL will launch the Supplier Development Desk Portal to publish projects relevant to local communities and SMMEs across South Africa. This will enable them to see where the opportunities are,” Moletsane said.

SANRAL, through these four projects, will train and develop local labour to attain the relevant skills in the construction sector. This will leave a long-standing mark for SMMEs in Maruleng Local Municipality, as they will be able to bid for bigger projects in the future using the experience learned from the SANRAL projects under the mentorship of main contractors.

Expanding on the projects that are in the pipeline in Maruleng Local Municipality SANRAL’s project manager, Lawrence Chauke said that SANRAL will introduce four major projects in the Maruleng Local Municipality. Tenders will be evaluated by consultants and Project Liaison Committees (PLC) to ensure transparency and equal participation.

“The first project is the Routine Road Maintenance (RRM) of National Route R36 from Greater Tubatse Border to Greater Tzaneen Border, the R40 from Mpumalanga Border to Ba-Phalaborwa Border, R526 from Mica to Ba-Phalaborwa Border and R531 from R40 to Orpen Kruger Gate. The contract duration for this contract is 36 months. The execution of the work is estimated to start on 1 February 2021.”

Chauke adds: “The second project is the upgrading of Provincial Road D3878 from Calais to Ga-Sekororo. SANRAL will be implementing the project on behalf of Road Agency Limpopo (RAL). Construction is expected to start by July 2022.

The third project is the upgrading the four-way crossroad into a new grade-separated interchange on national route R40 and R527/D5012 at Hoedspruit. Construction is expected to start by April 2023. The fourth project is the Road Marking of National Roads in the Limpopo Province. Construction is expected to start by February 2022”.

Supreme Court of Appeals ruling in favour of SANRAL

The appeal to prevent the South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) to claim guarantees from the joint venture that stopped work on the Mtentu bridge project in 2019 has been dismissed by the Supreme Court of Appeals (SCA).

The judgment between Aveng Strabag (Africa) (Pty) and Strabag International GmbH (ASJV) vs SANRAL was handed down electronically by circulation to the parties’ representatives on Friday, 13 November.

“We are happy that the court has dismissed the appeal with costs. Our position that there was no Force Majeure, and as the contractor refused to return to site after the suspension of works was lifted we had no option but to terminate for abandonment of the project,” said Craig Mc Lachlan, SANRAL’s N2 Wild Coast Road lead project manager.

SANRAL will now proceed with calling in both the performance and retention guarantees to help cover the additional costs that will be incurred to complete the project with a new contractor. “The contractor and not the taxpayer should be held liable for all additional costs,” said Craig McLachlan

SANRAL had advertised the re-tender for the construction of the Mtentu River Bridge and associated roads on the N2WCR project. The re-tender closes on Friday, 19 February 2021.

According to court documents, at the heart of this appeal was whether SANRAL was restricted by the underlying contract between it and the joint venture ASJV from demanding payment in terms of a performance guarantee issued in its favour by the second respondent, Lombard Insurance Company Ltd. The guarantee was issued pursuant to a written construction contract, concluded between SANRAL and the ASJV in August 2017, for the construction of the Mtentu River Bridge on the N2WCR.

In 2019 both SANRAL and ASJV purported to terminate the contract. The following circumstances led to the termination of the contract.

From 22 October 2018 there were disruptions of the works by some members of the local community. The community raised a wide variety of demands including employment issues (split of labour between different villages, hiring of local semi-skilled labour who had failed assessments, wages, additional job opportunities), prioritisation of SMMEs from immediately adjacent to the project, disbanding the Project Liaison Committee, removal of certain persons linked to the contract and the  use of a local quarry to supply aggregate. Some of the disruptions took a violent turn and threats were made potentially endangered ASJV staff and workers. The engineer, acting on SANRAL’s instructions, suspended the works between 22 October 2018 and 13 January 2019. After agreement was obtained from all stakeholders on 08 January 2019 for work to resume without disruption the suspension was lifted.

Against this backdrop, the joint venture, on 30 January 2019, gave SANRAL a notice purporting to terminate the contract, effective seven days after the notice. The ASJV stated that the civil unrest and commotion at the site constituted force majeure which had prevented it from performing the works for a continuous period of 84 days. Having given notice of termination, the ASJV considered itself entitled to be released from further performance of its obligations under the contract.

SANRAL denied the existence of the force majeure and asserted that, if it ever existed, it had to come to an end on 9 January 2019 following a meeting with the local community. It had communicated this to the ASJV and instructed it to resume the works on 14 January 2019, which it refused to do. Accordingly, SANRAL contested the ASJV’s entitlement to terminate the contract. It gave the ASJV until 4 February 2019 to withdraw its notice of termination and to return to site, failing which SANRAL would itself exercise its right to terminate the contract.

On 5 February 2019, after the ASJV had still failed to return to site, SANRAL terminated the contract. The dispute as to whether the disruptions at the construction site consituted force majeure, which entitled the ASJV to terminate the contract, was referrred to artibration.

In the wake of the second purported termination of the contract, the ASJV sought SANRAL’s assurance that, pending the arbitration proceedings, it would not call up the guarantee. SANRAL not only declined to give such assurance but notified the JV of its intention to do so. As a result, the ASJV applied to the Gauteng Division of the High Court, Pretoria, for an interlocutory interdict, restraining SANRAL from calling up the guarantee, pending the outcome of the arbitration proceedings. The ASJV asserted that SANRAL’s call on the guarantee would be unlawful, as it had not met certain conditions in the underlying contract which limited its rights to call up the guarantee. ASJV lost this initiall case but subsequently were granted leave to appeal to the SCA. The case was heard by the SCA on 14 September 2020.

In court papers Judge TM Magoka said that the ASJV has failed to show that SANRAL was not entitled to payment of the guarantee before any underlying dispute between them is determined. Accordingly, the appeal must fail.  The appeal was dismissed with costs, including the costs of two counsel.

N6 upgrade in Smithfield creates sustainable empowerment

“Thanking SANRAL for excellent service delivery in the road construction sector is like thanking the fish for swimming.” These were the words of Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula when he visited a SANRAL upgrade project on the N6 in Smithfield, Free State and lauded the agency for its engineering excellence.

The N6 provides the gateway to the Eastern Cape and is crucial for the economic development of the province as it links to the Free State. It also provides a vital cog in the commercial transportation of goods and services between Lesotho and Coega.

In accordance with SANRAL’s transformation objectives, the labour force was sourced locally from the Xhariep District Municipality and to date the project has generated 390 jobs to the value of R 28 073 197, given economic opportunities to 30 sub-contractors, at a cost of R 88 501 454 and provided training to all local labour.

“I am highly pleased to see that the people of this district, are in fact the ones who benefited from this project. We should not bring people from Johannesburg to benefit here. Empowerment is for the locals and those who have been empowered, must be seen in the community and should be supported to grow and develop to take on bigger opportunities and create work for others to benefit,” said Mbalula.

This popular route, particularly between Smithfield and Rouxville, has in the past posed significant road safety challenges to the scores of motorists who travel this way every day. In response to these challenges, SANRAL, appointed WBHO to upgrade the 34-kilometre stretch of road.

The upgrade entails widening and partial vertical realignment of the existing road, which fundamentally improves safety aspects.  One of the key results of the vertical realignment will be fewer blind rises on the route and a longer field of vision for motorists.  It will furthermore reduce the number of climbing lanes necessary to accommodate overtaking of slower traffic.  The road is also being widened to 12,4 metres, including a generous shoulder on each side.

“Most of the road is being constructed in half-widths, where the traffic is moved onto a widened shoulder on the one side of the road while work continues on the other side,” explained Jason Lowe, SANRAL Eastern Region Project Manager.

He further explains that the main bridge on the route is over the Caledon River, which was an extremely narrow bridge without shoulders. This has been widened on the left and right to accommodate the new road width.  Closer to the Rouxville side, the smaller bridge over the Eldorado River was totally demolished and rebuilt to larger dimensions.

“Both Rouxville and Smithfield have historic town planning challenges where the majority of the population has been positioned on the opposite side of the road to the town’s amenities, such as schools and shops. As a result, numerous pedestrians cross the N6 daily. In prioritising road safety for all road users, but particularly pedestrians in this case, we are reducing the speed limit, building sidewalks on both sides of the road, creating safe crossing points and installing streetlights. These measures will ensure that motorists are more aware of the pedestrians and will enforce reduced travelling speeds,” said Dumisani Nkabinde, Regional Manager for SANRAL’s Eastern Region.

While the project is not yet fully completed, the minister was pleased with the progress and the overall opportunities that were created for stakeholders to access economic development opportunities.

“This is exactly what President Ramaphosa was referring to when he spoke about infrastructure development as the flywheel that will unlock economic revival in a post COVID-19 South Africa. We are not waiting for that to happen. It has already begun, right on our doorstep with the N6 linking the provinces for increased economic development,” concluded Mbalula.