Eastern Cape, 25 April 2022: The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) will spend more than R150 million on a special road maintenance project between Cookhouse and Bedford in the Eastern Cape Province. The is expected to be completed after 18 months.

Speaking at an information session with SMMEs in Cookhouse today (Monday 25 April), Thandile Makwabe, SANRAL Southern Region’s Transformation Officer, said the R63 national road project, which is valued at R155 million, will create much-needed job opportunities for local community members and SMMEs in the local municipalities of Blue Crane and Raymond Mhlaba.

Makwabe also said that SANRAL, working together with the two municipalities, has allocated a training budget on the project to upskill local SMMEs especially those emerging contractors who are in the lower grades as determined by the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB).

“The scope of work on this project will include the recycling of existing pavement surface and base layer, replacement of three existing culverts, crack sealing, replacement of defect fencing, as well as the repair of inlet and outlet structures of culverts,” added Makwabe.

“We have taken great care ensuring that we will start with the mobilisation period before the project starts. The mobilisation period is the period in which the appointed contractor on the project will interact with the community and set up Contract Participation Goals (CPG), which is the amount that will be allocated to SMME development. These matters will be discussed within the first three months together with the Project Liaison Committee (PLC),” said Vanda Nqunqa, SANRAL Southern Region’s SMME Coordinator.

“Guided by our transformation policy, we always ensure that there is transparency and equal opportunities for local community members on our projects. We continue to ensure that there is maximum participation of women, youth, people with disabilities and military veterans, to mention but a few, in our procurement processes,” said Nqunqa.

Nqunqa stressed that SANRAL continues to devise means to ensure that local communities continue to benefit from its procurement processes. She explained SANRAL’s tender process, sharing information on steps that targeted enterprises should take when tendering for projects offered by SANRAL.

Welekazi Ndika, SANRAL Southern Region’s Stakeholder Coordinator, said that SANRAL’s 14 Point Plan – which is a guide to facilitate better project-level liaison with local communities and structures that are affected by SANRAL’s projects – will assist greatly in ensuring transparency and inclusivity with local communities that will work on the project.

“Through our 14 Point Plan, we envisaged to already have established a Project Liaison Committee (PLC) when the construction starts on this project. The PLC will 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 – must be represented in the PLC,” said Ndika. Steps have already been undertaken to establish a PLC.

Local councillor Zamuxolo Baskiti thanked SANRAL for introducing the project to the Blue Crane local municipality. “There is a high level of unemployment in this municipality; working together with SANRAL we will help to alleviate this problem through this project,” he said.

SANRAL continuously strives to strengthen its relationship with stakeholders who are affected by its projects through these information sessions.  The sessions are not only a platform for the roads agency to share information about job opportunities on its projects, but also to share information about its transformation policy and Horizon 2030 Strategy.

Since introducing the Horizon 2030 Strategy, SANRAL has empowered local communities and SMMEs with information, giving them opportunities and enabling them to partner with more established construction companies on its projects.