N14 circles in Kathu support industrial development in the Northern Cape
Kathu, Northern Cape, 24 November 2023: As the Northern Cape Government intensifies its drive for Industrialisation, particularly with the progress of the Kathu Industrial Park, the upgrades to three intersections on the N14 between Olifantshoek and Kathu are of cardinal importance, both for improved mobility and road safety.
This according to South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) Project Manager, Friedl van der Merwe, who is currently completing a R60 million upgrade project with three intersections on the N14 in Kathu.
He said at the Kathu South circle there is a growing industrial development with a significant heavy vehicle fleet going through the roundabout every day.
“We have increased the size of both roundabouts to accommodate abnormal load vehicles, requiring a wider turning circle than regular traffic and allowance was made in the construction programme for the additional work.”
Construction is now nearly complete with only asphalt assessment to be done, as part of the acceptance control process.
“We are mindful of the traffic impact and inconvenience associated with road works, and to mitigate this, the roundabouts have been opened, with traffic accommodation in place,” said Van der Merwe.
While Kathu is a relatively small town, the increased mining activity in the region significantly increases freight traffic which has to be integrated with the regular traffic volumes. The use of roundabouts makes a huge difference in improving mobility, traffic flow and safety.
The Northern Cape Growth and Development Plan outlines a clear strategy that prioritises the province’s industrial agenda, which also responds to the President’s call for infrastructure development to spearhead the country’s economic recovery post-COVID.
In line with this, the N14, also referred to as the Industrial Development Corridor, is a critical artery that serves as a foundation for industrial expansion and development across the Northern Cape, with development of the Kathu Industrial Park being central to this objective.
This industrial park and other similar economic zones are key to driving the province’s evolving economic landscape, all geared to support the Northern Cape’s vision of being a modern, growing and successful province.
“The economic impact of these road safety upgrades to the intersections on the N14 cannot be understated. To date they have yielded approximately nearly 90 local labour opportunities, where jobs and skills transfer for youth and women have been prioritised,” said Van der Merwe.
With transformation at the core of SANRAL’s operations, every effort was made to ensure subcontractors from targeted enterprises were afforded the opportunity to participate meaningfully in the project.
The contract manager at Baseline Contractors, Thomas Moolman, said they were able to incorporate 11 subcontractors and seven suppliers, at a cost of just over R13 million. “We also provided relevant and specific training to the subcontractors and all their employees, and this bares testament in the quality of their work delivered,” said Moolman.
One of the subcontractors, Kenny Raseroka, the director at Raseroka Projects, was appointed to render services associated with the electrical works on the project.
“Our scope of work on this project is mainly on excavation and trenching. There is another company that lays the cables and does the electrification. This project has given my company a major economic push and we are now looking at upgrading from a 1CE to a 2CE or even 3CE. This is really one of those projects that came to our region and unlocked opportunities and growth,” said Raseroka.
He acknowledges that they do not work every day, so they have had to plan carefully for when the teams have to come in. “When we have more work, we can take on more of the local labour force, and it really does make a difference within the community.”
Kenneth Khukhe, who is also a subcontractor, is the director of Kenkhukhu Enterprises. His company does curb laying and he created work opportunities for eight people from Kathu.
“We have gone through theory with the workers, and I had to sit with them and help with the practical components,” he says.
Now his team knows exactly what they have to do and can say they are qualified curb layers. Khukhe said, was it not for this project, him and many other subcontractors would not have had this opportunity. He said it might not be a lot of work, but subcontractors are really benefitting from this. His advice to other entrepreneurs, is to make sure they are compliant, have a good marketing strategy and that all their documentation is in order.
James Mongake is a general worker and does a little bit of everything. He was trained as a flag person, linesman, traffic control operator and helps where he is needed.
“I was unemployed before, but now I’ve received training and can work with my hands. I’ve learned so much, and can now apply for other jobs, with the training I got here,” said Mongake.
The project is earmarked for completion in January 2024.