Labour and SMMEs to benefit from road infrastructure development in Dr Beyers Naude Municipality


Labour and SMMEs to benefit from road infrastructure development in Dr Beyers Naude Municipality

Caption: Stakeholders at the introduction of slope stabilisation project in Graaff-Reinet

Graaff Reinet, 5 July 2024 – The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) has announced the introduction of a road infrastructure development project on the R63 outside Graaff-Reinet in the Dr Beyers Naude Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape.

The slope stabilisation project at Ouberg Pass Cutting was introduced during the hosting of a stakeholder engagement session at the Alex Laing Hall in Kroonvale, Graaff-Reinet this week (Wednesday).

The initiative underscores SANRAL’s commitment to enhancing road safety and socio-economic benefits in the form of job opportunities for local labour and subcontracting of targeted enterprises. Stakeholders included small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), women, youth, people with disabilities and military veterans.

The project involves the installation of a rockfall netting secured by rock dowels in a specified arrangement, securing large protruding and smaller unstable boulders and application of shotcrete over layers within the mudstone and dolerite showing evidence of disintegration. Catch fences will also be installed at the slope summit.

The project has a contract period of 24 months, including a three-month mobilisation period. Dr Beyers Naude Municipality Mayor, Willem Safers, called for unity of the people whenever policies are implemented.

“SANRAL has policies and I’m pleading with SANRAL to implement your policies and everyone, whether they are from the municipality or members of an SMME, must comply. If we establish structures for communication or coordination, let’s use them and not deviate because if we do, trouble starts,” said Safers

“Dr Beyers Naude is the third largest municipality in terms of size,” said Safers. “When we talk about it, we are talking about moving from Graaff-Reinet to Willowmore, Baviaans, Nieu Bethesda – tens and hundreds of kilometres, which is mostly gravel roads. Whenever you’re going to employ, take the vastness of this municipality into consideration.”

Contract Engineer, Johan Swanepoel, said the project is highly specialised and a lot of blasting should be expected. “There are not a lot of contractors who specialise in slope stabilisation. We will create a drop zone for rocks falling from the top. The road needs to be open for traffic 24 hours even if it’s only one lane, except during blasting,” said Swanepoel.

A significant portion of the project’s budget is dedicated to empowering local labour and targeted enterprises. Targeted labour which will prioritize women, youth, people with disabilities and military veterans will receive a minimum of 6% of the project. A minimum 30% of the final contract value is earmarked for targeted enterprises, including a minimum of 2% for CIDB 1 and 2 grading and another 2% for CIDB 3 and 4 grading.

SANRAL Stakeholder Relations Coordinator for the Southern Region, Welekazi Ndika, went to great lengths explaining the principles for project liaison and sourcing of labour.

“Your labour should be managed because if you don’t, it eats into your profits. I hear some SMMEs don’t pay their labourers bargaining council rates of R41,75 per hour. If you don’t do that, you’ll be in breach. Don’t rob your labourers, it will come back to bite you.”

The community was cautioned against stalling the project and the financial implications it brings. “Don’t drag SANRAL into your community issues,” said Ndika. “The problems of the previous projects should also not be brought into this one because this is a new project with a new project manager.”

SMMEs were told about the availability of pre-tender training provided by SANRAL. This will enable them to compile tender documents without payment to third parties and manage their projects on site.