Despite financial pressure, SANRAL has continued with construction and maintenance programmes, and remains committed to social and economic transformation.
The social and economic climate prevailing in 2018/19 presented numerous challenges to the South African National Roads Agency (SOC) Limited (SANRAL).
With a reduced allocation of R12?369–million from the fiscus and continued financial pressure on the toll portfolio due to the sustained under-collection of e-toll fees, SANRAL had to carefully consider how to utilise existing resources.
Our first concern was to keep our programme of construction on toll and non-toll roads moving steadily forward with as little delay as possible, and to protect our road assets by sustaining essential road maintenance work.
Social justice and economic transformation
It was also imperative to resist sacrificing or putting “on hold” our commitment to social justice and economic transformation.
It was equally important to continue our investment in human capital for a future construction sector, in road safety, in the physical development of rural communities and more.
Our investment in road development, improvement and maintenance for the year was R12?680–million – 19% lower than the preceding year.
Our spending on routine road maintenance remained roughly consistent with amounts spent in the last two years.
The year also saw the first measures to implement the Transformation Policy launched in 2017.
SANRAL has always used its contracting power to enable black contractors to participate in the construction industry.
But it had limits: black contractors encountered solid barriers to securing major contracts for complex projects.
To counter this, four partnerships were concluded to ease the purchasing of equipment and provision of mentorship.
Our existing policy of affirming black contractors through the tendering system delivered more opportunities than in previous years.
However, the value of actual work performed by SMMEs and the number of work and training opportunities were affected by the number of work projects available.
Yet, we allocated the highest amount yet – nearly R25-million – to bursaries for staff members, university students and scholarships for high school learners.
Our road safety education programme reached approximately 200 000 learners and we continued to fund mass media campaigns to improve road safety.
This is an opinion piece by Skhumbuzo Macozoma, the CEO of SANRAL.