SANRAL paves the road to freedom

As South Africa marks 30 Years of Freedom, President Cyril Ramaphosa used his State of the Nation Address (SONA) to outline how government has impacted the lives of ordinary people over the past three decades. He told the story of Tintswalo, born at the dawn of democracy in 1994, who grew up in a society that is worlds apart from the South Africa of her parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.

Now 25 years old, SANRAL has played a major role in reshaping the country that Tintswalo grew up in, and has provided many opportunities for her, her parents and her compatriots to live better lives.

As the Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, recently said when addressing a joint debate on the SONA, the Tintswalos are the engineers and contractors behind growing the more than 750,000km road network from 525,000km in 1995.

She added that in the past five years, SANRAL has executed projects to the value of R120 billion, which translated to just under 45,000 job opportunities and the participation of almost 6500 black- owned SMMEs.

CEO Reginald Demana said that SANRAL is determined to help government deliver on its promises: “We do this through the way we award and adjudicate our contracts, insisting on a minimum spend on local businesses and the use of local labour. We also do it through community development projects, as well as by supporting young people with bursaries and scholarships that help them to pursue opportunities and a better life.”

He added that despite court challenges to SANRAL’s preferential procurement policies last year, which led to withdrawal of those policies, the roads agency was able to recover towards the end of 2023 and put 77 contracts out on tender. Most of these are now at adjudication, and the intention is to put another 70 contracts out on tender before the middle of 2024 — an injection into the economy of about R28 billion.

“We will continue with our efforts to deepen transformation by allocating some contracts to smaller black-owned construction companies, which will help them to graduate to become major construction companies. We have a mandate to ensure that value flows through to SMMEs, local contractors and local communities. The aim is to stimulate economic growth, promote infrastructure development and create opportunities across the country,” he said.

Here are just a few of the ‘Tintswalos’ that SANRAL has set on the road to a better life, whose work and experience will impact many others.

  Phumzile Ntima, owner/director of Phiwane Trading Enterprise, Pietermaritzburg


Ntima attended SANRAL’s pre-tender training; Phiwane employs 10 local people and is installing gabions on the N2/N3 upgrades in KwaZulu-Natal.

Bongani Tonisi, director of Creamillion, George

Creamillion was a subcontractor on SANRAL’s Thembalethu Bridge upgrade on the N2 in George, and has since secured contracts with George Municipality and Garden Route District Municipality. It improved its Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) grading from 1 CE EP to 2CE EP in only 10 months.

Thembi Maggie Mhlangu, owner of Qonjwana Pty Ltd, Moloto, Mpumalanga

Mhlangu worked as a subcontractor for King Civils on the R573 Moloto Road project, initially contracted to do sandblasting for three months, employing four people. Her second opportunity on the project saw the company involved in sub-soil drainage, fitting electrical sleeves, and concrete barrier infills, employing 10 people.

Belekazi Sikutshwa, owner of Mtha Development Projects, Wild Coast


This 100% black woman-owned construction company is registered with the CIDB as a level 4 CE PE and employs five people. When SANRAL took over the R61 section between Port St Johns and Port Edward from the Eastern Cape provincial government, Mtha Development Projects was awarded the contract for pothole patching and maintenance. Working with asphalt and concrete became an added competency, and the company will advance to a Grade 6 CE PE at the end of this contract.

Refilwe Motshaoane, Candidate Technologist at SANRAL’s Technical Excellence Academy (TEA) in Gqeberha

Received a bursary from SANRAL for a BTech at Central University of Technology. Her journey on a 5-year programme with SANRAL began on a project on the N12 in Victoria West, and she is now involved with pavement evaluation, hydraulics, and geometric design on the N2 outside Tsolo, Mhlontlo Local Municipality.

Nozipho Ngomane from Soshanguve, SANRAL Project Manager in the Northern Region

Received a bursary from SANRAL in her second year of studies in Civil Engineering at the University of Johannesburg, and is now a project manager at SANRAL, managing roads projects from start (procuring service providers, design and construction) to finish. She is also part of SANRAL’s tour to universities, to inspire other students.

Lwanda Sigaji from Mthatha, SANRAL Junior Project Manager

Received a SANRAL bursary to attend the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and is now a Junior Project Engineer who is proud of SANRAL’s job creation through its road maintenance projects.


Samantha Dladla from Uluni, SANRAL Project manager in Operational and Maintenance, Eastern Region

Dladla says “SANRAL brings change by maintaining South Africa’s huge asset of roads. We bring pride, value and hope to the people through our projects. My main motto is be constructive and make a change.”


SANRAL has become the backbone of our country’s economic architecture, as well as the bedrock of our country’s socio-economic development agenda, which has resulted in millions of previously marginalised, ignored, and economically excluded people being embraced, included, and allowed to flourish.

While SANRAL’s infrastructure projects improve roads, road safety, and the movement of people, they are primarily intended to improve the lives of the vast majority of individuals who previously lacked access to viable road infrastructure.

In addition to creating immediate employment for the communities surrounding these initiatives, improved infrastructure allows people the freedom to travel and seek out new schooling and employment opportunities, both within and beyond South Africa, with enormous social and economic effects on quality of life.