Durban, 23 February 2023 – The upgrades to the National Route 2 (N2) in eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality will not only alleviate traffic congestion but will also bring R17 billion investment to local small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), as well as people living with disabilities, the South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) has said.

SANRAL recently hosted an information session for the people living with disabilities in the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality. This engagement is in line with SANRAL’s fourth pillar of stakeholder relations, which requires stakeholders to be informed about all project-related activities and opportunities on SANRAL projects.

“The engagement was aiming to empower emerging SMMEs with knowledge regarding opportunities available during current and upcoming SANRAL projects on the N2. People living with disabilities are guaranteed minimum one percent of the contract value,” said Trevor Zumani, SANRAL’s Eastern Region Project Manager.

The upgrade of the N2 will focus on a 55km length, from Lovu River, on the South Coast, to Umdloti, on the North Coast. These upgrades will include the widening of the N2 carriageways, with four or five lanes in each direction, and the reconfiguration of most major interchanges along these route sections.

This information session engagement is built on a number of engagements that SANRAL has undertaken. SANRAL is prioritising the engagement of its stakeholders, where local SMMEs and communities can access information that will enable them to position their businesses better and access the opportunities available in the SANRAL road network.

“While SANRAL maintains national roads, we make sure that the members of the community are given business opportunities to be part of the road infrastructure development and benefit from it. Over and above the main contractors, we also ensure that subcontractors are selected from the local area,” said Zumani.

The SMME pre-tender training service provider Imbawula Civils was also introduced to encourage local business owners to participate in the skills development training. The purpose of this training project is to create ongoing skills development, educational opportunities and continuous professional and technical development for the SMMEs in construction to build and maintain capacity to undertake major projects.

“A lot of SMMEs need training in running and managing their businesses. SANRAL will offer training from filling out a tender document to managing their finances once the business is up and running. On completion of the 15-day training, SMMEs can effectively and successfully bid for subcontracting opportunities on the SANRAL construction projects,” said Eastern Region Transformation Officer James Takalo.

SANRAL is willing to assist SMMEs succeed in the construction industry as part of the road agency’s Horizon 2030 strategy.

Councilor Sbusiso Lushaba, representing the eThekwini Speaker’s office, welcomed SANRAL’s initiative to engage stakeholders. He noted that this initiative presents an opportunity for stakeholders within the local municipality to be well informed about all SANRAL’s current and future projects. It also assists SMMEs in preparing themselves for tendering opportunities.

“Our aim is to ensure that the previously marginalised sectors of our economy including people with disabilities play a meaningful role and succeed in a construction industry that has largely been non-transformative. We will continue to do this guided by our transformation policy and our Horizon 2030 strategy,” added Takalo