SANRAL serious about growing, transforming construction industry in Nelson Mandela Bay

Welekazi Ndika, SANRAL Southern Region’s Stakeholder Coordinator was speaking at an information session for SMMEs in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape.


SANRAL serious about growing, transforming construction industry in Nelson Mandela Bay

Eastern Cape Province – 24 January 2023: The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) is serious about empowerment in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and its various projects will provide job and training opportunities for local SMMEs.

Speaking at an information session for SMMEs in Gqeberha yesterday (Monday), Danfred Adams, SANRAL Southern Region’s project manager, said the roads agency has put developing SMMEs from previously disadvantaged communities at the centre of its priorities.

“Key projects that we have started – and are about to start – in Nelson Mandela Bay include the repair of bridges along the R75 national road between Kariega and Jansenville; the first phase of the improvement of the R335 road from Motherwell to Addo; routine road maintenance of the N2 national road between Thornhill and Colchester, improvement of the R75 national road between Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage; the general improvement of the road from Kariega to the Kirkwood Interchange; the reseal of the road between St Albans and Linton Grange; and emergency repairs to the St Georges overpass bridge. Through these projects, we will continue to ensure as SANRAL that local SMMEs and community members benefit.

“At SANRAL we prioritise transformation on our projects, and we always ensure that there is inclusive participation of previously disadvantaged individuals on our projects,” said Adams.

Adams also shared information about SANRAL’s ongoing initiatives to introduce the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) and Freeway Management Systems (FMS) in the Eastern Cape. These systems essentially monitor the country’s national freeways 24/7 for 365 days a year.

Through FMS, SANRAL has been able to manage congestion on the country’s highways by using various intelligent tools. The roads agency is also able to respond speedily when there is an accident or crime scene on the freeways. The pilot project on this initiative started in October 2006 and it is already in the City of Cape Town, eThekwini Metro and the City of Johannesburg. In the Eastern Cape, the project will be introduced in the Nelson Mandela Bay, Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, as well as at the King Sabata Dalindyebo Local Municipality.

Presenting SANRAL’s 14 Point Plan, which is the road agency’s guide to facilitate better project level liaison with local communities and structures that are affected by its projects, Welekazi Ndika, SANRAL Southern Region’s Stakeholder Coordinator, said the plan strives to ensure transparency and inclusivity among those who work on SANRAL projects.

“It is always our wish that when our projects start, we will already have established a Project Liaison Committee (PLC) on them. PLCs assist greatly in ensuring better communication and transparency as well as ensuring that work done is done seamlessly on projects.

“PLCs also assist in creating a platform for project liaison, works execution, subcontracting and facilitating employment opportunities for local community members. All community representatives – including the youth, women, people with disabilities and military veterans, to mention a few – must be represented in the PLC,” said Ndika.

“One of the many contentious matters that often face PLCs is subcontracting and sourcing of local labour on our projects. There is often contention from local communities on what constitutes a target area. Local communities will often contest when people from different areas – or clusters in the case of Nelson Mandela Municipality – are employed to work in a different cluster to which they do not reside in. It is important for the PLC to set up a database of local labour to avoid this kind of animosity between community members. I also appeal for all of us to work together on these projects,” added Ndika.

Thandile Makwabe, SANRAL Southern Region’s Transformation Officer, said that the roads agency is aware of the slow pace of transformation in the construction industry. To fast-track transformation, SANRAL continues to be guided by its transformation policy to ensure that there is transparency and equal opportunities for local community members on its projects, he said.

“One of the initiatives that we have taken at SANRAL is initiating a national pre-tender training programme. This programme will empower SMMEs to participate on our projects. A basic training that we do, for example, is equipping SMMEs on how to submit compliant tenders. We often take it for granted on how submitting tender forms incorrectly disqualifies some SMMEs.

This training programme greatly assists SMMEs to understand and know the basics that they must undertake to participate on our projects,” said Makwabe.

The training programme is intended for SMME contractors in the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) 1 – 4 grading. Accredited modules will be presented to SMMEs to enhance their business acumen and tendering skills.

SMMEs will also be screened to ensure that they meet certain criteria for entrance on the programme. Key criteria include registration with the Companies and intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), tax compliance with the South African Revenue Services (SARS), the SMME must be 51% owned by individuals from designated groups, and the SMME needs to be registered on the Central Supplier Database (CSD) of National Treasury.