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.