Projects run by the national road agency are about more than just building roads, they are about delivering services in the widest sense.
Every day communities deep in northern KwaZulu-Natal enjoy the convenience and safety of infrastructure built by the South African National Roads Agency (SOC) Limited (SANRAL) – from access roads to local schools to sidewalks, from retaining walls to bus- and taxi lay-bys.
One such project is the 12km concrete walkways built on both sides of a section of the R22 between the town of Manguzi and the Mozambique border. The project, worth about R14.4-million, started in November 2015 and was completed in June 2017.
Before the project began, there had been several vehicle and pedestrian incidents, according to the project manager of the Eastern Region, Ridhwaan Mahomed. “Pedestrians, mostly young pupils on their way to and from school, could be seen walking in the motorised vehicle lanes. This is very risky.”
The project brought much needed respite to local communities with employment opportunities: four local subcontractors were appointed at a cost of R1.3-million along with some R2.4-million paid in salaries for local labour.
Mgadla Trading owner, Thokozani Mbuyisa, expressed his gratitude for the opportunity provided by SANRAL. Mgadla Trading was one of the small, medium and micro enterprises that worked on the project.
“Roads exist to connect communities, to open new horizons, to bring people to opportunities and opportunities to people,” Mahomed said.
Rural areas often have a high number of unskilled individuals. On this project, local people were trained and 60 skills training certificates were issued, at an investment of R277 240.
“SANRAL has always strived to support the government’s efforts to push back the frontiers of poverty and improve the lives of citizens by investing in community development in all its projects,” Mahomed added.