The Chairman of SANRAL’s Board, Mr Themba Mhambi, made it clear that SANRAL was committed to transforming the construction industry, would not allow fronting and was entirely committed to ensuring that smaller players felt the economic impact of government’s road infrastructure programmes.
Mhambi was addressing close to 300 local entrepreneurs at SANRAL’s flagship Taking SANRAL to the People stakeholder engagement programme in De Aar.“You have to invest in those small contractors when you need grass cutting done, or cleaning of the road,” said Mhambi. “However, these subcontractors cannot be grass cutters and cleaners forever. You have to train and develop them to take on bigger projects. To date SANRAL has more than 3,000 subcontractors countrywide who have been upskilled as a direct result of this method of contractor capacity building that SANRAL has championed, as far as RRM is concerned.”
The Northern Cape’s MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison, Ms Nontobeka Vilakazi, said government was determined to see more people benefitting from the economic opportunities presented by infrastructure programmes. “We, representing the Government of South Africa, are here to ensure that we widen the net of economic inclusion for all our people, to ensure that they benefit from the massive infrastructure maintenance and development programmes of SANRAL,” said Vilikazi.SANRAL Stakeholder Relations Manager Siphiwo Mxhosa said, he recognise the critical role SANRAL plays in the construction and related industries and we are mindful of the impact the construction industry and its procurement has on millions of people across South Africa, not just in the big cities but in the very heart of rural South Africa. We therefore recognize the need to use our procurement to maximise the participation of emerging and small black contractors, professionals, and suppliers in all SANRAL commissioned projects.”
The engagement in De Aar was one in a series of conversations to ensure emerging black businesses are geared up and capacitated to access the economic development opportunities associated with SANRAL’s road maintenance and construction projects across the Northern Cape.
Randall Cable, SANRAL’s Western Region Manager responsible for the Northern Cape and Western Cape said: “We understand that our roads are not only built to accommodate vehicles, but that people are at the very heart of what we do. To this end, SANRAL’s projects are guided by a commitment to SMME development, a 14-point plan that prioritises community engagement, a transformation policy that seeks to advance black business and an overall strategy that is aligned to the government’s National Development Plan.”