SANRAL Board Chairperson Themba Mhambi says court action by major construction companies will not stop policy drive to share multi-billion rand contracts with smaller industry players
Note to Editors/Reporters: This is a re-issue of the media release dated Saturday 23 August 2023, now including soundbites for radio (https://we.tl/t-z7OgEYf0Yf) and a photograph of the Board Chairman, Mr Themba Mhambi.
Cape Town, 25 September 2023 – The Chairman of the South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL), Mr Themba Mhambi, says court action by major construction companies will not deter SANRAL from pursuing real transformation of the sector.
Speaking at an event outside Cape Town on Friday night, the SANRAL Chairman said South Africa’s biggest construction companies had long benefitted from multi-billion-rand tenders and it was time for them to share with small- and medium-sized industry players.
Mr Mhambi says SANRAL, contrary to media reports, does not want to destroy the major construction companies but will support and strengthen them while also pushing them to transform.
“We are going to damage SANRAL if we destroy the big construction companies we have in South Africa, like WBHO, Murray and Roberts, Haw and Inglis (H&I), and so on. If we destroy them, we will be destroying SANRAL and South Africa,” said Mr Mhambi.
“Therefore, don’t believe all the lies that are told that we want to kill these construction companies. We don’t want to do that. We want to support them, we want to strengthen them to get more business but there is one condition. That condition is that they must understand that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white,” said Mr Mhambi.
Mr Mhambi stressed that it is time for black South Africans – Africans, Indians and Coloureds – who had previously been excluded from benefitting from massive infrastructure projects to benefit alongside the well-established industry players.
“Those people who have in the past been excluded from benefitting from road construction, bridge building, pavements, manufacturing of guard rails, the production of asphalt – those who have been excluded from benefitting from all those things – must now benefit as well. That is the condition. And that condition does not come from anywhere other than the Constitution of SA.”
Mr Mhambi’s remarks come after some of the country’s biggest construction companies sought court interdicts against SANRAL to stop new construction tenders from being issued using the roads agency’s new Preferential Procurement Policy (PPP), which requires big companies to share significant portions of the work with smaller players.
“When these millionaire and billionaire companies say to us ‘we are going to take you to court SANRAL because you are depriving us of the millions and billions that we are making alone’ I understand what they are saying, because you can’t be a millionaire or billionaire by sharing. They are going to resist sharing.”
Mr Mhambi was speaking at an event in Franschhoek, outside Cape Town, on Friday night to celebrate SANRAL’s 25th anniversary. SANRAL is an entity of the National Department of Transport and is mandated with the management, maintenance and development of South Africa’s proclaimed national road network.