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SANRAL RESPONDS TO ALLEGATIONS OF COURT ORDER DEFIANCE

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SANRAL RESPONDS TO ALLEGATIONS OF COURT ORDER DEFIANCE

Pretoria, 27 January 2022 – The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) wishes to state on record that it has not been nor is it currently in any wilful defiance of any court order. Any assertions to the contrary are simply sensationalist and will be dealt with through legal processes.

On the 15th of November 2021, Her Lordship Mrs Justice Van Der Schyff J granted a default order against SANRAL, in favour of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA). In response, ENSafrica, acting on behalf of SANRAL, informed OUTA’s attorneys of the instruction to issue an application overturning the default order. OUTA’s attorney was fully aware of SANRAL’s intention to submit the application.

SANRAL’s failure to timeously oppose the application, which lead to the default order, was as a result of an error and will be dealt with fully during the court proceedings.

In addition, OUTA has instituted two other identical cases against SANRAL, involving the Bakwena concessionaire contract and the N3TC concessionaire contract, where private and confidential information of the concessionaries in question, is being sought, without the consent of the concessionaires. SANRAL is equally opposing these applications.
SANRAL’s position regarding the matter is as follows:

  1. ) In 2020, SANRAL received an application wherein private, proprietary and confidential information in relation to the N3TC concessionaire contract was sought by OUTA.
  2. ) On 22 February 2021, OUTA delivered further similar applications involving information on the Bakwena concessionaire contract and TRAC concessionaire contract, here, an error occurred which resulted in the confusion of the case numbers. SANRAL opposed the application pertaining to the Bakwena concessionaire contract.
  3. ) The matter involving TRAC’s concessionaire contract was heard on an unopposed basis on 15 November 2021 and the default order was then granted without SANRAL’s involvement, due to human error.
  4. ) The default order was then served to SANRAL on 19 November 2021 following which the agency sought legal representation to challenge the order. This was fully communicated to OUTA’s attorneys. TRAC’s attorneys also informed OUTA’s attorneys of an objection to the release of TRAC’s private and proprietary information as well as an intention to intervene in the court proceedings as soon as possible through the institution of a rescission application.
  5. ) In December 2021, SANRAL’s attorney invited OUTA’s attorneys to withdraw the court proceedings and allow SANRAL to respond to the PAIA application (and provide TRAC with an opportunity to respond). OUTA refused to do so. From this it was clear that OUTA does not have benevolent intentions in its PAIA request. Instead, it seeks to coerce SANRAL into delivering private and confidential information of third parties, by pursuing an application to have SANRAL declared contemptuous of the default order and ultimately have its former CEO committed to prison, which SANRAL considers to be a scheme of sort.
  6. ) OUTA was invited as long ago as 8 December 2021 to permit SANRAL to respond to OUTA’s PAIA request. OUTA, however, elected to put SANRAL to the pains of applying for the rescission of the Order. A matter that was not brought to the attention of the court in its current application for contempt of court, which SANRAL is in the process of opposing.

The issues above will be dealt with fully during court proceedings. What is important to mention at this stage is that SANRAL reacted swiftly to the default order as it was received and is willing to cooperate with the rule of law.

Home stretch for the completion of N14 Kathu intersections

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Home stretch for the completion of N14 Kathu intersections

Northern Cape, 25 January 2022 – Construction will commence in the next two months on the uncompleted intersections on the N14 between Olifantshoek and Kathu, which have caused much frustration to road users.

Following an exhaustive procurement process, as directed by government’s Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act, the South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) yesterday handed over the project to the new contractor to complete the outstanding works over the next 12 months.

SANRAL met with SMMEs and communities in the Gamagara Local Municipality on Friday, to explain the economic and project participation opportunities that come with the completion of the project.

“We are delighted to see this project finally entering the final stages of completion. The intersections are a major road safety concern, and we are happy that SANRAL is prioritising road safety in our community. The jobs and subcontracting opportunities are a welcome boost to our local economy,” said Councillor Ophaketse Hantise, Mayor of the Gamagara Local Municipality.

The three intersections have largely remained incomplete due to the original contractor being in breach and failing to perform in accordance with the contract. SANRAL therefore had to terminate the contract. Attempts to award a new contract were also scuppered when the tender process had to be cancelled as there were no eligible or compliant tenders received.

As an interim measure, and in the interest of road safety, emergency road repairs to the temporary bypasses for the three intersections, which were badly damaged during incessant flooding in the Northern Cape, were completed in 2021. Fortunately, the SANRAL Routine Road Maintenance team have also assisted with managing traffic accommodation, maintaining the bypasses and effecting pothole repairs.

“While those emergency repairs to the temporary bypasses were pivotal in maintaining safe passage, it is a huge relief that a contractor will finally be able to complete the intersections in line with the original engineering designs,” said Friedl van der Merwe, SANRAL Project Manager.

The completion of the works will furthermore have a direct economic impact on the community, with project participation opportunities for SMMEs and work for local labour in the John Taolo Gaetsewe District.

In line with SANRAL’s Transformation Policy and government’s Preferential Procurement Regulation, a minimum of 30% of the contract value of all projects is to be subcontracted to targeted enterprises, in a bid to prioritise economic development opportunities for black-owned entities. These include women-owned businesses, youth-owned businesses and persons with disabilities,” explained Morn? Windvogel, SANRAL’s Transformation Officer in the Western Region.

In the interest of transparency and fair business practices, all SANRAL projects are guided by a 14-point plan that sets the tone for project liaison, subcontracting and labour sourcing, as well as a commitment to its transformation policy.
This plan also includes the appointment of a Project Liaison Committee (PLC) which has oversight over SANRAL projects – but does not influence who is awarded tenders or who get jobs on those projects.

“We are currently engaging with various stakeholders in the province, including business chambers and sector formations, local government, SMMEs and other civil society interest groups, in a bid to attract nominations for PLC members, so that we can ensure a well-constituted PLC that will represent the interests of all stakeholders,” explained Van der Merwe.
SANRAL remains committed to completing this project as quickly as possible and appeals to road users to be patient with road conditions during the construction period. There may be some short-term inconvenience experienced in and around the construction area, but the long-term benefits of safer intersections that will aid improved traffic flow, by far outweigh the inconvenience.

SANRAL GOES BEYOND ROAD SAFETY ENGINEERING THIS FESTIVE SEASON

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SANRAL GOES BEYOND ROAD SAFETY ENGINEERING THIS FESTIVE SEASON

Pretoria, 20 December 2021 This festive season SANRAL has gone beyond its core mandate of engineering safer roads and is using its WHOA! road safety campaign to actively engage road users at various rest and service stations across the country.

Fatigue and drunken driving continue to be major contributing factors to crashes on our roads every year. To this end, SANRAL’s WHOA! campaign promotes regular breaks during long distance travel and discourages drinking and driving. Among the activities offered during these activations are head and shoulder massages for drivers and a flavoured oxygen bar, both of which aid tension relief.

The N3 between Gauteng and KZN is a particularly busy road with thousands of holiday makers heading to the beach. A road safety activation was set up at Vaal Engen 1 Stop on the N3 outside Villiers, on the Day of Reconciliation (December 16) public holiday, where the interaction with SANRAL was lauded by motorists who stopped to refuel and freshen up.

Benginkosi Mdlalose, a 60-year-old taxi driver operating between Johannesburg and Newcastle, welcomed SANRAL’s intervention: “I am very pleased with the condition of the N3 and I am happy about how SANRAL maintains the road,” he said.

He sat down for a massage and curiously tried the oxygen bar. “The peppermint flavoured oxygen is soothing and cleared my nasal passages. What a great way to relax before I tackling the rest of my journey. Thank you SANRAL for caring about our safety on the road,” said Mdlalose on his way back to his taxi.

In Graaff Reinet, a similar activation was set up at the Caltex Fresh Stop, where scores of holiday makers passed by and stopped for a break. Masibulele Tafeni, from Graaff-Reinet, said: ‘’The SANRAL road safety message is a good initiative to keep people safe on the road. SANRAL encourages people to rest, stay safe on the road and to obey the speed limit.”

Still in the Eastern Cape, the WHOA! team descended on Port Alfred on Sunday morning, waking up the town with music, and engagement at the Caltex Fresh Stop, at the entrance to the town. Curious passers-by stopped at the SANRAL zone. From taxi passengers to drivers, they were alive to SANRAL’s road safety message and applauded the activation, some even saying there should be more such activations all year round.

“While our core mandate is to engineer safer road infrastructure, we realise that roads are built first for people and then for vehicles. As such, it is important for us to engage these stakeholders about our collective responsibility to create safer road environments for all road users,” said Vusi Mona, SANRAL General Manager, Communications and Marketing.

The activation also targeted pedestrians, with promoters handing out reflective arm bands that aid in pedestrian visibility, particularly at night.

“We appreciate the efforts of law enforcement agencies across the country, who have increased their visibility to influence road user behaviour and create an environment that is conducive towards compliance. We continue to appeal to road users to be patient, courteous and compliant during this festive season. Safer roads are created by safety-conscious road users,” concluded Mona.

STATE OF THE NATIONAL ROAD NETWORK DURING THE FESTIVE SEASON

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STATE OF THE NATIONAL ROAD NETWORK DURING THE FESTIVE SEASON

Pretoria, 12 December 2021 – The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) hereby advises road users of the state of the national road network, during this festive season.

While the national road network makes up just over 22 000km of South Africa’s total road network of 750 000km, it carries the bulk of traffic during the December/January holiday period, when interprovincial and international road travel peaks.

On the main, the road construction industry will shut down operations on the 15th of December 2021 and resume on the 10th of January 2022.

“However, there are instances where minor work will be ongoing during the holiday break, for essential operations. We will try as much as possible to minimise the impact on traffic flow by containing works to daylight hours and limiting work on weekends and public holidays,” said Vusi Mona, SANRAL General Manager: Communications and Marketing.

The following traffic accommodation should be taken into account when planning holiday travel:

Northern Region (Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and North West)

Stop/Go traffic accommodations can be expected on the R37 Section 2, near Lydenburg, and on the R33 Section 14 outside Vaal Water.

“No Routine Road Maintenance (RRM) is anticipated on the network during this time. However, should an emergency arise, such as the development of a pothole, urgent RRM arrangements will be made to attend it,” said Madoda Mthembu, SANRAL Operations and Maintenance Manager for the Northern Region.

On the N4, the following should be noted.

RRM will continue with day-to-day tasks which include grass cutting and painting of road markings. Road markings will specifically occur on the Mozambique side, between Tchumene and Xai Xai Interchanges, and on the South African side, between Kaalrug and Komatipoort.

Southern Region (Eastern Cape)

There will be ongoing maintenance works on the N2 Section 13 between Grahamstown and the Fish River, with speed restrictions in place. The work involves patching and is expected to continue throughout the holiday period.

On the R355 and R342, between Addo and Nguni River Lodge, approximately 15km is under construction. There will be two Stop/Go closures along this stretch of road, with reduced speed limits of 60km/h in place. The potential delay in travelling from Addo to Paterson is about 20 to 25 minutes.

Eastern Region (KZN and Free State)

“Generally, two-way traffic will be maintained on all construction sites. For the N3 upgrades, a minimum of two lanes per direction will be maintained,” said Ravi Ronny, SANRAL Design and Construction Manager for the Eastern Region.

At the N3 Town Hill project in Pietermaritzburg, a minimum of two lanes are open in each direction. The construction team will however aim to have three lanes open on the southbound side. Work will continue for a short period during the holiday, making sure to minimise disruption to traffic flow.

Western Region (Western Cape and Northern Cape)

With the upgrades to the Huguenot Tunnel complete, there will be no tunnel closures. The N7 and N1 will largely have free-flowing traffic. On the N2, there will be ongoing patching, between Swellendam and Riversdale, and a short portion east of Wilderness, throughout the holiday period.

“Repairing and maintaining the pavement is essential to road safety. We apologise for any inconvenience that may be caused as a result of the sporadic Stop/Go traffic accommodation. We will however endeavour to minimise the impact on traffic flow.” said Randall Cable, SANRAL Western Region Manager.

SANRAL’s Mona concluded: “After a trying year, many people are looking forward to the holidays, to spend time with their loved ones. We call on all road users to play their part in ensuring safer roads this festive season. If you will be driving, please take time to rest, ensure that your vehicle is roadworthy and safe, adhere to the speed restrictions, particularly around construction sites and be patient as some national roads are more congested than usual. Pedestrians are our most vulnerable road users, and we appeal to motorists to always be on the lookout for pedestrians.”

OVER R3BN SET ASIDE ON SANRAL PROJECTS TO BENEFIT EASTERN CAPE SMMEs

OVER R3BN SET ASIDE ON SANRAL PROJECTS TO BENEFIT EASTERN CAPE SMMEs

Eastern Cape, 9 December 2021 – The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) has set aside over R3 billion to benefit local small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in Mpondoland in the Eastern Cape Province.

Addressing SMMEs in Port St Johns, Eastern Cape, Mbulelo Sonqishe, SANRAL’s project manager on the N2 Wild Coast Road Project, said about 8 000 direct jobs and up to 20 000 indirect jobs will be created through this massive injection in the region.

“On the Msikaba Bridge project alone, which is one of our mega projects in the region, R243 million has already been paid to 103 local suppliers, service providers, sub-contractors and other targeted enterprises from surrounding municipalities. About R38.5 million has already been paid on wages to over 300 local community members employed on the projects,” he said.

The Msikaba Bridge project is expected to be completed in February 2024 and targeted goals on employing different sector groups have already been exceeded.

“We are proud to say that we have exceeded our targets on the Msikaba bridge project. The targeted labour for youth is 30%, but we have exceeded this by employing 87.4%. Other targets achieved were 38.4% for women which surpassed the 30% target,” added Sonqishe.

Four current tenders have already been advertised by SANRAL in the region. These include the rehabilitation of the Ingquza Hill Memorial Road, which was advertised in October this year; upgrading of roads in Ntlavukazi Village, which was advertised in November; upgrading of the DR8004 road from the R61 national road to Bambisana Hospital Road, which was advertised in November; as well as the upgrading of the R61 national road to Mbongweni Village.

Community development projects have also been initiated. “Our community development projects go way beyond bitumen and asphalt. They leave our communities with a legacy of road safety improvements, as well as economic opportunities that will benefit communities from project inception,” said Nwabisa Gxumisa, SANRAL’s Wild Coast district manager.

New community development projects that are in design phase are an access road leading to the Goso Forest Clinic, access road and pedestrian facilities in Mbotyi and Ntafufu Service Road. Construction on the DR08120 and DR08121 road from Bizana to Mbongweni will start in the new year.

SANRAL will also implement community legacy projects associated with each project. One prime example is the upgrading of provincial roads in the region to surfaced roads, on several villages along the route which will form part of the O.R. Tambo Heritage route.

“These projects are over and above the roads, training, and community development components of each projects. Some of these legacies will include simple and yet symbolic gestures such as leaving behind buildings built or rehabilitated for use by the contractor or engineering site staff during construction for use as community halls, business hubs, and tourist accommodation,” added Gxumisa.

The tender for the anticipated R3.5 billion Mtentu Bridge project has closed and is currently in adjudication. A contractor is expected in the new year.

Road safety prioritised on Mpumalanga construction projects

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Road safety prioritised on Mpumalanga construction projects

Mpumalanga, 7 December 2021 – With more than R3bn worth of infrastructure upgrades across the province of Mpumalanga, SANRAL’s commitment goes beyond economic impact, into the realm of road safety.

The upgrade of the N17 section 5 in particular, involves the repair and reseal of the road with safety upgrades at two intersections between Chrissiesmeer and Warburton.

“In responding to road safety needs in this area, we are cognizant of the fact that land use adjacent to the road includes plantations (forestry), cattle grazing, saw-mills and other agricultural activities. To this end our contractors and subcontractors play a vital part in facilitating the safety of all road users, especially given the risks of animals entering the road reserve, as well as pedestrians,” said Madoda Mthembu, SANRAL Operations and Maintenance Manager in the Northern Region.

Over and above conventional construction projects, Routine Road Maintenance operations are key to ensuring not only a well-maintained road network, but significant emphasis is placed on road safety engineering.

“SANRAL supports a safe systems approach to road safety which involves the provision and maintenance of safe road infrastructure that reduces the risk of serious injury or death when a crash occurs,” explained Mthembu.

There are currently six RRM projects located in the Gert Sibande District Municipality. On the N17, R23 and other national roads within the Gert Sibande District Municipality, the scope of maintenance works include:

  • general road maintenance of the road reserve
  • grass cutting
  • storm water drainage
  • fencing
  • erecting and maintaining road signs
  • potholes or road surface repairs

Zenzele Hlope, owner of Kuthele Civil Engineering and Construction is one of the SMMEs who were recently awarded a contract for RRM on the N17. “I am very proud of the work we do in the road construction space, because we play a direct role in ensuring the safety of all road users. Currently we are working on fence repairs, maintaining road edges, pothole repairs and inspections as well as guard rail repairs and installation. All these aspects of our work directly impact road safety, as the fences prevent stray animal from wandering into the road reserve, the guard rails prevent vehicles that have lost control from hitting hazards next to the road (i.e. bridge piers, trees, etc.) or falling over into cliffs or dongas and the pothole detection and repairs create a safer road surface.”

Hlope is also highly appreciative of the growth and development he has seen, as a subcontractor. He started out with a 1CE grading from the CIDB and within just over one year, worked to acquire a 3CE grading. He currently employs 11 staff and is excited about the economic development opportunities that can be unlocked within the road construction sector.

“When road safety meets economic development, tangible progress is made. We recognise that South Africa has a long way to go for economic recovery in the midst of a pandemic, but at the same time we are excited about how SANRAL is spearheading this process,” said Progress Hlahla, SANRAL Northern Region Manager.

N3 OBSTRUCTION

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N3 OBSTRUCTION

The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) is aware of the obstruction of the N3 Highway near the Van Reenan pass. The Tugela Plaza is closed to Johannesburg bound road users and traffic is slow for motorists travelling in the direction of the eThekwini Municipality.

This is a law enforcement matter and SANRAL has full confidence that officers of the law will carry out their responsibilities with diligence. The relevant authorities are on the scene, closely monitoring the situation. Motorists have been advised to delay travel to the area.

ENGAGEMENT IS KEY IN THE ROLL-OUT OF KAGUNG COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROJECT

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ENGAGEMENT IS KEY IN THE ROLL-OUT OF KAGUNG COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROJECT

Northern Cape, 5 December 2021 – The development of pedestrian facilities and access roads to the N14 in Kagung is one of the Western Region’s priority projects in the Northern Cape and, as such, will be preceded by extensive engagement with the local communities and broader stakeholders in the province.

“The project is currently nearing the end of the design review phase and we are excited about the economic impact of the construction phase, particularly as the road construction sector begins to recover from the onslaught of COVID-19. The scope of works will include upgrading the existing unsurfaced roads, to surfaced roads, with the addition of pedestrian routes in Kagung. The sections which will be upgraded are approximately 5.68 km in length and are located North and South of the N14, Section 8,” said Friedl van der Merwe, SANRAL Project Manager.

Furthermore, the project also serves to facilitate the training and skills development of the local community and targeted enterprises (SMMEs). The training and development programme will comprise a structured theory component as well as an extensive practical and developmental implementation component on site.

In the interest of transparency and fair business practices, all SANRAL projects are guided by a 14-point plan that sets the tone for project liaison, subcontracting and labour sourcing, as well as a commitment to its transformation policy that seeks to prioritise economic empowerment of black businesses in South Africa. This plan also includes the appointment of a Project Liaison Committee (PLC) which has oversight over SANRAL projects – but does not influence who is awarded tenders or who gets jobs on those projects.

“It is very important that stakeholders understand the role and limitations of the PLC, so that projects can remain on schedule and on budget,” explained Van der Merwe. The PLC for each project is there to create a platform for project liaison, works execution, subcontracting and employment facilitation. The PLC also monitors and ensures fairness and transparency in awarding of tenders and employment opportunities.

SANRAL chairs the PLCs and provides secretarial support. Representation on the PLC comprises SANRAL, the contractor and the consultant, as well as representatives of business, traditional leaders, provincial and municipal government and the community, and any other critical local stakeholder that may be deemed necessary by the PLC. It is not practical for every local forum, organisation or group to be directly represented, so the PLC members must responsibly represent and report back to all local stakeholders.

When the contractor needs labourers, the PLC will provide a database with names of local unemployed persons and assist in the fair distribution of jobs between the various local communities.

Due to a potential conflict of interest, members of a PLC may not tender for work on their project; they must resign from the PLC if they wish to pursue a construction tender. It is important that PLC members focus on serving the industry and ensuring transparency and fairness in all processes.

“A process of social facilitation and stakeholder engagement will shortly get underway, where among others, nominations will be encouraged for persons wishing to serve on the PLC. Stakeholders will be kept informed on the progress of the project, through various engagement platforms,” explained Van der Merwe.

While not all stakeholders can be accommodated on the PLC, this body serves the interests of all relevant stakeholders.

MULTIPLE ROAD CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS PLANNED FOR SUNDAYS RIVER LOCAL MUNICIPALITY

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MULTIPLE ROAD CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS PLANNED FOR SUNDAYS RIVER LOCAL MUNICIPALITY

Eastern Cape, 1 December 2021 – The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) has planned multiple road construction projects worth R1.8 billion in the Sundays River Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape Province.

“In the Eastern Cape we manage 4 952 km of our 22 214 km national road network. Our operations on the stretch of road which traverses the Sundays River Local Municipality, will create over 900 job opportunities over the next five years,” said SANRAL’s Board Chairperson, Themba Mhambi.

Mhambi was speaking at the Taking SANRAL to the People programme, whose principal aim is to share information about the agency’s current and upcoming infrastructure development, job creation and skills development endeavours in local communities.

Welekazi Ndika, SANRAL Southern Region’s stakeholder specialist, emphasised the benefits of SANRAL’s transformation agenda: “At SANRAL we will continue to improve the lives of community members who live around our projects, as well as build and nurture mutual relationships with these communities. Guided by our transformation policy, we will always ensure that there is transparency and equal opportunity for local community members on our projects,” she said.

Ndika gave a detailed presentation of SANRAL’s 14 Point Plan, which assists in facilitating better project level liaison with local communities and structures. The 14 Point Plan also ensures that there is communication and transparency in the execution of works, as well as inclusivity in the allocation of projects to the benefit of black business and local communities. Ndika further elaborated on the principles for the project liaison subcontracting and labour sourcing on all SANRAL projects.

Nelisa Ncambele, Sundays River Local Municipality’s newly appointed mayor, welcomed SANRAL’s effort in reaching out to the community and expressed the municipality’s commitment to work together with the roads agency.

SANRAL’s planned projects in the municipality include:

  • Phase One: Improvement of the National Route R335 from Motherwell to Addo. Construction on the R740 million project is expected to take place over 43 months and an estimated 350 job opportunities will be created, with 30 to 35 local small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) benefitting.
  • Phase Two: Improvement of National Route R335 from Motherwell to Addo. Construction on the R450 million project is expected to take place over 27 months and an estimated 250 job opportunities will be created.
  • Phase One: Upgrading of the National Route R336 between Kirkwood and Addo. Construction on the estimated R270 million project will take place over 24 months and is expected to create over 220 job opportunities, with 40 SMMEs benefitting.
  • Phase Two: Upgrading of the National Route R336 between Kirkwood and Addo. Construction on the R310 million project will take place over 30 months and is expected to create over 210 job opportunities, with 50 SMMEs benefitting.
  • Phase one of the special maintenance project of the National Route R355 from Zuurberg Intersection to Nguni River. Construction on the R72 million project has already started and between 50 and 100 job opportunities are being created, and between 10 and 15 SMMEs have been subcontracted to work on the project.
  • Phase one of the special maintenance project of the National Route R75 from the Kirkwood Intersection to Wolwefontein. Phase one is from km 39.6 to km 72. This R45 million project will start in February 2022 and end in December 2022.
  • Phase two of the special maintenance project National Route R342 from Nguni River Lodge to Paterson. The R87 million project, which is currently at construction phase, will create between 50 to 100 local job opportunities, with 10 to 15 SMMEs benefitting.

 

TRANSPORT MINISTER ACKNOWLEDGES CRITICAL ROLE OF SANRAL ROAD NETWORK

Johannesburg 26 November 2021 – Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has acknowledged the critical role played by the South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited’s (SANRAL) national road network, in enabling the country’s economic activity.

The Minister says national roads link provinces to economic hubs as well as regional and international markets: “This is completed by the secondary and tertiary road networks that enable access to centres of economic activity and social infrastructure, as well amenities for our communities.”

Mbalula was speaking at a media briefing in Johannesburg, during which he outlined the state of the department’s entities, as well as the transport sector’s contribution to the economic reconstruction and recovery programme that was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in October last year.

“More than 76% of land freight is hauled on the country’s national road network, accounting for 73.8% of the total land freight’s income. This places a heavy burden on the country’s road network and requires significant resources for maintenance and rehabilitation.

“Our objective to migrate 10% of road freight to rail is meant to alleviate this pressure and preserve the longevity and pristine nature of our national road network. SANRAL therefore has a key role to play in enabling this shift from road to rail and must work together with the Department of Transport and other state organs to realise it,” added Mbalula.

The Minister also commended the role that SANRAL plays in building the capacity of other road authorities across the African continent, providing commercial engineering advisory and commercial services. “In the execution of our role as a Champion for the North-South Corridor of the African Union, SANRAL has a key responsibility to lead the charge, working with fellow African countries and state agencies to drive the roads agenda. SANRAL is therefore working towards developing and strengthening partnerships with countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and across the continent to advance sustainable road infrastructure development,” said Mbalula.

Giving an update on the imminent announcement on the final decision on the future of e-tolls, Mbalula said the decision will be made by Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana in his Budget Speech in February next year.

“Delays in the announcement have been largely informed by the financial implications and various scenarios that we have been looking at in order to respond a final decision on e-tolls,” he said.