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Construction women power forward

The women had attended a two-week SANRAL-accredited training programme in construction management.

The women had attended a two-week SANRAL-accredited training programme in construction management. 

Advancing the cause of women in construction is the lifeblood of the South African Women in Construction (SAWIC) organisation 

SANRAL recently hosted a round-table meeting with SAWIC in Port Elizabeth to find ways to expand the role of women in the sector.  

Fourty SAWIC women, all of whom received SANRAL certifications during the session, were in attendance.  

The women had attended a two-week SANRAL-accredited training programme in construction management. 

SANRAL’s Stakeholder Relations Coordinator for the Southern Region, Welekazi Ndika, urged: “Our focus should no longer be only on the 30% subcontracting to small, medium and micro enterprises. We should push for 51% black ownership in joint ventures on our projects to ensure tangible growth and transformation.”  

SANRAL’s empowerment partners, Bell Equipment, Barloworld Equipment, Pilot Crushtec and Purple Sunshine, were also in attendance to outline the services from which SAWIC could benefit as part of the empowerment partnership with SANRAL which enables emerging contractor to access plant equipment and mentorship.  

More opportunities 

There are notable opportunities on the horizon from which SAWIC members can benefit, heard the gathering.  

Tar manufacturing company Purple Sunshine’s Pamela Bukashe said that “98% of Eastern Cape roads are gravel, so you are in the right space”.  

SANRAL’s Community Development Specialist, Dr Mongezi Noah, said SAWIC members should also widen their focus beyond SANRAL’s construction projects.  

“Our transformation policy applies to all our sub-sectors which are maintenance, operations, ICT, legal, noncore services, finance and audit, human capital, property and marketing and communications.”  

SAWIC President, Kile Mteto, said: “What is SANRAL going to do to ensure that the investment made through this training yields results? We would appreciate SANRAL ringfencing a budget to place the persons trained into an incubator system in order to see real growth in the next few years.” 

Sinkhole tackled near vital road

Once the reconstruction of the road gets underway, it is expected that the contractor will be able to complete the work within six months.   

Once the reconstruction of the road gets underway, it is expected that the contractor will be able to complete the work within six months.  

Relief is in sight for motorists travelling on the R501 between Potchefstroom and Carletonville where a large sinkhole has caused severe disruptions to traffic.  

The leaking water pipe that caused the sinkhole was quickly repaired and diverted.  

SANRAL is now busy monitoring the situation to determine whether there are risks of further collapse.  

Once the area has been declared safe it will be recommended that the road be re-opened.  

SANRAL has appointed a firm of consulting engineers to undertake an assessment of the sinkhole and design a repair solution.  

However, this process might take a few months to be completed due to the procurement processes as determined by the National Treasury’s regulations.  

Once the reconstruction of the road gets underway, it is expected that the contractor will be able to complete the work within six months.  

The sinkhole, which is about 10 meters deep, has caused major concerns about the safety of road users.  

Sinkholes occur frequently in this part of South Africa, which is well-known for its extensive mining activities.  

Although the road falls under SANRAL’s jurisdiction, the decision to close this section was taken by the Merafong District Municipality. 

Quick facts about sinkholes 

  1. Sinkholes are cavities in the ground that form when water erodes an underlying rock layer.  
  2. They occur naturally through the gradual erosion of bedrock, the collapse of a cave roof or the lowering of the water table.  
  3. In South Africa, sinkholes occur in areas underlain by dolomite rock. The instability might be the result of natural processes but are also caused by human activities such as poorly managed surface water drainage and groundwater level drawdowns.  
  4. About 25% of Gauteng, as well as parts of the North West, Limpopo and the Northern Cape, are underlain by dolomite. 

Eye-catching bridge scoops top award

The award recognises the quality of SANRAL’s engineering and project management skills and underlines its capability to work with contractors, suppliers and labour to deliver world class projects. 

The award celebrates excellence in concrete engineering and architecture.

The impressive new bridge across the Olifants River in the Western Cape has caught the eye of industry experts, winning one of South Africa’s most prestigious awards for construction.  

The majestic structure, which has become a landmark on the N7 in the Cederberg region, was recently completed as part of the upgrading of the N7 from Cape Town to the Namibian border.  

This is one of the most important commercial and trade routes in southern Africa. 

The SANRAL flagship project, valued at R161-million, consisted of the construction of a new road and bridge across the river, adjacent to the old structure which was deemed to be unsafe and incapable of handling large volumes of traffic.  

The excellent design and construction work, which was tackled by a team led by project manager Elma Lourens, was recognised by the Concrete Society of Southern Africa which bestowed its highest honour, the Fulton Award, on the project. 

Awarding excellence 

The award celebrates excellence in concrete engineering and architecture. The project design was undertaken by Aurecon and Stefanutti Stocks acted as contractors.  

The project presented unique engineering challenges when it came to ensure that the foundations were strong enough to withstand the severe weight loads coming down on the arch.  

Approximately R60-million of the budget was allocated to small- and medium sized businesses, which had a significant impact on the local economy. 

In line with SANRAL’s transformation policy some R3-million of the R13-million wage bill was allocated to women.  

“We are very proud of the women who have embraced these opportunities and are contributing to a more representative road construction industry,” said Lourens.  

The award recognises the quality of SANRAL’s engineering and project management skills and underlines its capability to work with contractors, suppliers and labour to deliver world class projects. 

SANRAL scholarship and bursaries applications for year 2020

Are you an engineer looking for a BURSARY? Look no further.

Previous recipients of SANRAL’s bursary and scholarship programmes.

To ensure a pipeline of engineers to enable SANRAL to realise its mandate to finance, improve, manage and maintain the national road network, financial and career support is provided for high school pupils, university students and graduates. 

The scholarship programme is applicable to learners from Grade 10 – 12 and is based on academic excellence and financial need. Applicants must have a high aptitude towards mathematics (70% pass) and physical science (70% pass). 

SANRAL offers school fees, hostel fees where applicable, school and sport uniforms, books and stationery and extra maths and physical science classes where necessary. 

The engineering bursary is for students who may study at any accredited university of their choice throughout South Africa. 

The bursary covers tuition, registration, accommodation, meals, books/equipment plus compulsory excursions and seminars, and a living allowance. 

The engineering bursary has a five-year work- back obligation. During this time SANRAL has developed a post-graduate programme that ensures students are able to register as professional engineers at the end of the programme. 

The programme focuses on key area and includes 18 months at the SANRAL Design Academy in Port Elizabeth, 18 months on site, a few months at the soil testing laboratory and finally a few months working in the office as a project manager in training. 

Candidates studying towards a university degree in BEng/BSc Civil Engineering or postgraduate in civil engineering are invited to apply for bursaries.  

Applications open on 1 June and close on 30 September. 

Consideration will be given to needy students who have successfully completed Grade 12 or those currently registered for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th year and postgraduate studies. 

Five fighting bias

Yeyethu Bafazi Construction employs people living in and around Mthatha, thus making them not only innovators in the construction industry but also job creators. 

(From left to right) Thabile Nkonki, Siphokazi Cekwa and Zodidi Mbuzelwa, are three members of the Yeyethu Bafazi Construction consortium.

Four years. Five women. One consortium. That is the story of Yeyethu Bafazi Construction, established in 2018 by five women who met while undergoing training with SANRAL.  

The group – Thabile Nkonki from Talinko ConstructionZodidi Mbuzelwa from Junebug Tradings23 cc, Siphokazi Cekwana from Mthonyama TechnologiesNyameka Poyo of Going Places Construction and Projects, and Nomalunga Tonjeni from Rhu and Sons – hails from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape.  

The SANRAL-training took four years and included modules such as start and run a business, apply business concepts, monitor control costs, apply construction documents, read and interpret drawings and calculate construction quantities, among others.  

The training took place in Port St Johns and included practical and theoretical training. Subsequent to the training, the group decided that forming a consortium would better position them in the male-dominated industry.  

Thabile Nkonki, director of Yeyethu Bafazi Construction, said: “Dedication to service delivery, creating sustainable relationships with our clients, and paying attention to detail is what sets us apart from our competitors.”  

As a 100% black-owned business, which is completely owned and operated by women, Yeyethu Bafazi Construction often experiences sexism and bias from the community and from potential clients.  

Their capacity is often scrutinised, despite having proven their competence through a range of successfully completed construction projects, said Nkonki.  

Yeyethu Bafazi Construction employs people living in and around Mthatha, thus making them not only innovators in the construction industry but also job creators.  

Upon concluding training, SANRAL maintains close ties with the training beneficiaries to ensure that they apply what they have learnt, and to ensure they continued to progress. 

“The trainees have to keep SANRAL well-informed of their activities and Construction Industry Development Board upgrading. They are also added to the database of companies that have received training from SANRAL,” said Dr Mongezi Noah, SANRAL’s Community Development Specialist. 

N2 IMPROVEMENTS AT MHLALI AND MVOTI RIVER CROSSINGS

Work will commence in the first quarter of 2020 once the contractor finalizes initial appointments of SMME contractors from the project area.    

Motorists are advised to be observant of the advance warning signs, as well as the lane closures, and should exercise caution when travelling through the construction work zones.   

The South African Roads Agency (SOC) Limited (SANRAL) has awarded Raubex (Pty) Ltd the contract for the completion of the unfinished roadworks on the N2 at the Umhlali and Umvoti River crossings.   

The contract administration will be undertaken by Naidu Consulting Engineers  (Pty) Ltd.  Work will commence in the first quarter of 2020 once the contractor finalises initial appointments of SMME contractors from the project area.   

Work will continue for a period of 10 months.   

How it will work 

Construction will be carried out in clearly defined construction zones. 

In order to complete the outstanding works in the shortest possible time, traffic will be accommodated on contra-flow on each carriageway which will allow the contractor full access to the construction work areas.   

Work will be initially undertaken to complete the outstanding work on the north bound carriageway and thereafter proceeding to the southbound carriageway.  

Motorists are advised to be observant of the advance warning signs, as well as the lane closures, and should exercise caution when travelling through the construction work zones.   

Reduced speed limit restrictions will be imposed through the construction zones. Motorists are urged to observe all warning signs for their own safety and the safety of the workers on the road. 

SANRAL wishes to thank all motorists in advance for their co-operation and patience over the last 2 years with the restricted travel at these two crossings and apologises for any inconvenience caused.   

The restricted conditions will still be in place over the festive period and due cognisance needs to be taken by the motorists when traveling through these areas.    

TRAC commits to support Emakhazeni Local Municipality

The total cost of the projects is estimated at R5-million and TRAC’s support falls in line with its CSI responsibilities to communities along the road.   

Besides responding to key socio-economic needs which in turn will contribute towards the economic upliftment of vulnerable people and communities, TRAC’s involvement will also boost SME development and support and enhance road safety. 

Various structures of the Emakhazeni Local Municipality (ELM) will receive a major facelift over the next 14 months following the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Trans African Concessions (TRAC) and the Emakhazeni local government. 

After lengthy talks between the parties regarding the upgrades and renovations that are needed in the municipal area which borders the N4 Toll Route TRAC agreed to assist with three critical projects namely the refurbishment of the Emakhazeni Testing Centre, the renovation of the old bakery in Waterval Boven and the rehabilitation of Molen Road in Entokozweni (Machadodorp). 

The total cost of the projects is estimated at R5-million and TRAC’s support falls in line with its CSI responsibilities to communities along the road.  

Contributing to socio-economic upliftment 

Besides responding to key socio-economic needs which in turn will contribute towards the economic upliftment of vulnerable people and communities, TRAC’s involvement will also boost SME development and support and enhance road safety. 

The MOU also falls in line with several government objectives to which TRAC has aligned itself with, specifically in terms of initiatives with relevant commitments as set out in the government’s National Development Plan (NDP).  

The vision of the NDP is that by 2030 investments in the transport sector will ensure that it serves as a key driver in empowering South Africa and its people.  

This will be achieved through improved access to economic opportunities, greater mobility of people and goods through transport alternatives and through social contributions. 

TRAC has committed to restore the two administration buildings and ablutions of the testing centre with upgrades expected to start this month (January 2020).  

The project, which is expected to take three months, will see a subcontractor appointed for the bulk of the initiative. Phase 2 will consist of the renovation of the weighbridge following a separate tender process.  

TRAC will however employ internal resources to do basic construction works, such as the fencing and installation of surface drainage. As for the bakery, it will be refurbished to ensure it can become operational again. The project will be managed by an entity appointed by the ELM with the funding provided by TRAC. 

In respect of the rehabilitation of Molen Road, TRAC will repair it during the rehabilitation of the area of the N4 which is adjacent to Entokzweni. 

In addition to these major projects, TRAC will be partnering with the Department of Community Safety, Security and Liaison on their Community Policing Forum project which the honourable MEC CG Tshabalala is expected to launch soon.  

This will include an initial donation of 500 torches for use for law enforcement during anti-crime and road safety operations.  

TRAC has already donated 1000 blankets to the ELM in celebration of Mandela Day 2019. These blankets were handed to the elderly and the less privileged within the municipal area. 

Time to stamp out fronting

Sidestepping the spirit of the BEE Act halts real transformation efforts. 

According to SANRAL, companies that are found guilty are liable for penalties and fines and can be excluded from participation in future contracts.

The act of ‘fronting’, a form of black economic empowerment (BEE) window dressing which undermines the intentions of South Africa’s BEE legislation, is a common practice used by companies to misrepresent their economic empowerment credentials in order to receive contracts or gain economic advantages.  

Fronting takes a variety of forms, including listing lower-paid black workers as directors, executives or shareholders or excluding black managers from high-level discussions and decision-making.  

These actions enable fronting companies to take advantage of the incentives that come with being BEE-compliant – chief among these being access to government tenders.  

However, this practice does not contribute to the real transformation of the company or benefit black South Africans. 

This is also contrary to SANRAL’s commitment to the transformation of South Africa’s construction and engineering sectors, in line with the objectives, mandate and vision defined in its long-term strategy, Horizon 2030.  

As such, SANRAL is intentionally exploiting the provisions of current economic empowerment legislation to maximise the participation of black contractors, professionals and suppliers in all SANRAL-commissioned projects.  

Furthermore, SANRAL is determined to combat fronting and take decisive actions against companies that misrepresent their empowerment status in order to benefit from SANRAL’s transformation initiatives.  

The new Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Act now makes it an offence for companies to misrepresent their empowerment status.  

Companies that are found guilty are liable for penalties and fines and can be excluded from participation in future contracts.  

Intentional misrepresentations may constitute fraudulent practices and officials are obliged to report such cases to SANRAL’s procurement manager for further action. 

How to spot fronting 

  1. A company may appoint black people to prestigious positions but prevents them from participating in core activities and decision-making.  
  2. Black people in management positions are paid significantly less and have fewer powers than their white counterparts.  
  3. A company manipulates facts about the racial diversity of its staff.  
  4. A company enters a relationship with a BEE-compliant partner – and then exaggerates or misrepresents the role of the partner in the business.  
  5. Black people are signed up as fictitious shareholders or directors in predominantly white-owned companies. 

The road to recovery and resilience

SANRAL has strong vested interests in the resurgence and growth of the construction and engineering sectors.   

Skhumbuzo Macozoma, SANRAL CEO, said that it’s long-term strategy, Horizon 2030, positions SANRAL as a leading player in the broader effort to stimulate growth through infrastructure investment. 

SANRAL’s decision to ramp up its investment in road infrastructure through an allocation of R70 billion over the medium term will, without a doubt, address the decline in the important construction and engineering sectors.  

We share the concerns expressed in the media that an industry that was once a key driver of employment has been in steady decline since the start of the decade.  

However, we also share the sense of guarded optimism that accompanied the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier this year that government would contribute some R100 billion over 10-years to the infrastructure fund and use this to leverage further investments from development finance institutions and the private sector.  

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni took this approach a few steps further by clearly stating that the state is shifting its priorities towards infrastructure investment, and away from the public wage bill.  

SANRAL’s budget for the next three years reflects this approach. For the current financial year there is an allocation of R24.4 billion for the construction of roads, rehabilitation and maintenance projects.  

This will grow at an average rate of 5.1% over the medium term, reaching a total of R70 billion. This escalation in spending follows on a period of subdued expenditure by SANRAL.  

We are encouraged that the combined effect of supply chain reforms initiated by National Treasury and the introduction of the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA) in 2017 which affected our tender processes, have been resolved and that the projects already being released through tenders will contribute to an upswing in construction activities.  

SANRAL has strong vested interests in the resurgence and growth of the construction and engineering sectors.  

A strategic approach 

Our long-term strategy, Horizon 2030, positions SANRAL as a leading player in the broader effort to stimulate growth through infrastructure investment.  

The projects that are in the pipeline for the medium term have a strong focus on community development across all nine provinces, in both urban and rural centres 

They run the gamut of road engineering and construction activities including upgrades to the primary transport corridors on the national freeway network, improvements to interchanges, bridges and storm water infrastructure, the expansion of intelligent transport systems and interventions to improve road safety.  

There are about 740 new construction projects that are planned, and they are spread across the entire 22 214km of the primary road network managed by SANRAL.  

Communities from Rustenburg in the North West to Giyani in Limpopo, the Karoo and the Northern Cape will benefit from construction activities and the provision of safer and more accessible roads.  

SANRAL’s investments in infrastructure will greatly benefit emerging enterprises and new players in the construction and engineering sectors.  

All new tenders will be published in line with SANRAL’s new transformation policy, which seeks to increase the participation of black businesses and the development of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs).  

Tender requirements will also increasingly focus on enterprises that are owned by women, the youth and people with disabilities.  

Some 7 810 SMMEs will benefit from SANRAL projects during the next three years, with an estimated 81 000 jobs in line to be created courtesy of road construction and maintenance projects.  

All SANRAL construction projects will, henceforth, include community development programmes and initiatives to support the transfer of skills to SMME companies.  

With these steps in place, we are confident that the increased spending by SANRAL will not only lead to an upswing in construction activities but will also contribute to the fundamental transformation of an industry that has been dominated by a limited group of large players.  

To date, some 90 new routine road maintenance contract tenders have been advertised, with 60 already awarded.  

SANRAL will soon establish supplier development desks at our regional offices to provide structured assistance to suppliers including contractors, consultants and material suppliers.  

We will also expand the extremely productive partnerships we have struck with big industry players in the areas of equipment supply, mentoring, material provision, business support and financial management.  

Collaboration 

The Minister of Transport, Minister Mbalula, is working very hard to assist SANRAL with key challenges that confront our flagship projects such as the GFIP e-Toll Scheme in Gauteng, Moloto Road that straddles three provinces, the N2 Wild Coast road in the Eastern Cape and the N3 Van Reenen Development Project in the Free State.  

With the Minister’s bold leadership, we are confident that these important projects will be unlocked to bring much needed benefits to both the citizens and the economy of our country.  

We are committed to the stabilisation and growth of the broader construction sector – an industry that accounts for almost 10% of all employment in South Africa.  

We are confident that the R70 billion investment in road infrastructure over the next three years, if supplemented by more public and private expenditure, will make a tangible contribution to the broader national objectives. 

This is an opinion piece by Skhumbuzo Macozoma, SANRAL CEO. 

Creating value through innovation

SANRAL is leading the way through innovative road design and the application of technology to create a safe and sustainable primary road network.

The Concrete Society of Southern Africa recognised the new 166-m Mtentu bridge for its “unique design features and construction techniques,” and gave it the 2019 Fulton Award for innovation.

Technology and innovation are changing road construction and road management throughout the world.

South Africa is no exception and SANRAL is leading the way through innovative road design, and the application of technology to create a safe and sustainable primary road network. 

Through collaboration with universities and research institutions SANRAL contributes to knowledge generation in fields as diverse as transportation planning, road materials development and environmental conservation. 

Innovation also played a major role in a recently completed road construction project: 

  • To improve road safety a decision was taken to widen the bridge over the Olifants River on the N7 near Clanwilliam. However, the width of the original structure could not be increased, and the only workable solution was the construction of a second bridge running parallel to the existing one; 
  • The Concrete Society of Southern Africa recognised the new 166-m bridge for its “unique design features and construction techniques,” and gave it the 2019 Fulton Award for innovation. SANRAL awarded the contract for this project to Stefanutti Stocks Coastal.

SANRAL’s most valuable assets are vested in its human resources. Through the years it has attracted an enviable group of engineers, professionals and artisans that are able to manage some of the continent’s most challenging infrastructure projects. 

The pool of knowledge within the agency is enriched through collaborations with a wide range of contractors – including emerging enterprises – who bring their own skills and intellectual resources to construction projects.