First labourers on site for Thembalethu Bridge upgrade


 First labourers on site for Thembalethu Bridge upgrade

 Western Cape,1 July 2022 – With 23 local labourers recently having completed basic training, half the group are already actively working on the construction of the Thembalethu Bridge in George.

The first group is currently busy with trenching for the relocation of services, while the second group will soon start with traffic accommodation.

Following a series of engagements with communities in Thembalethu, Zone 9, and Conville, the project is off to a good start. “We made a public commitment that no SANRAL project will take off without significant stakeholder engagement. Having done the legwork, we are optimistic about the opportunities that this project can deliver to the people of George,” said Petronella Theron, SANRAL Project Manager.

Given the magnitude of unemployment in the area, sessions were arranged for CVs to be submitted at three venues across George on separate days. The contractor then, in the presence of community members, randomly drew CVs from the boxes, for the first batch of labourers to be trained, before they commenced work on the project. A comprehensive database of more than 1800 names was compiled, using all the CVs that were submitted and going forward, the contractor will draw names for local labor from that database, as and when additional labour is needed on the project.

Meetings were also held with the business community, where SMMEs were informed of the subcontracting packages that would be advertised, and what they would need to be eligible to tender.

Bongani Tonisi of Creamillion (Pty) Ltd, a local construction company in George, was highly appreciative of the information session and the detailed project specs that were shared. “This is a big project that will bring huge opportunities for small businesses. We are looking at experience that we will gain, economic growth of the region, and job creation, especially for the youth of this community,” said Tonisi.

Special attention was also given to ensuring the Project Liaison Committee (PLC) was effectively constituted with individuals that would ultimately take the project information they receive and share that with all their constituents across the various communities in George.

The South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) is one of the latest additions to the PLC and their members were hugely supportive of the project and the opportunities it represents for the people of George. “As an organisation represented on the PLC, we will take the information back to the communities. The role of the PLC is also to oversee the subcontracting and job creation opportunities to ensure they are done transparently and in a fair manner,” said Mzimkhulu Maboza of SANCO.

Infrastructure development represents a healthy boost to our economy, and we are very pleased with the job opportunities for the unemployed as well as the upskilling of small contractors, through the training and capacity building that comes with participating on a SANRAL project,” said Alderman Leon Van Wyk, Executive Mayor of George.

This project is a collaborative venture between SANRAL and the George Local Municipality, with the National Department of Transport having provided R82,127 million towards the funding of the project. SANRAL is the implementing agent working closely with the George Municipality.

The scope of works involves the widening of the Thembalethu Bridge across the N2 from a single carriageway to accommodate two lanes in each direction, with additional turning lanes as well as extra space for pedestrians and cyclists.

“A new bridge will be constructed on the Western side. Once completed, the existing bridge will be raised and stitched to the new bridge, to ensure that the upgraded structure complies with the minimum bridge clearance of 5.2 meters,” explained SANRAL’s Theron.

Construction started in May and is expected to be completed towards the end of 2024.