SANRAL’s new appointments

Essa, a qualified civil engineer, is an industry heavyweight with 36 years’ experience within the roads and civil engineering sector.


The South African National Roads Agency (SOC) Limited has made two new appointments that will look to ensure emerging black-owned enterprises are given more opportunity to do business with the agency.

Ismail Essa is the new Transformation Manager – who will report directly to the roads agency’s CEO, Skhumbuzo Macozoma – while Asithandile Ben-Mazwi is the new Southern Region Supply Chain Officer.

Announcing the appointment, Macozoma said: “The time to bolster government’s economic transformation priorities is now.

“One of Mr Essa’s immediate priorities will be to ensure sub-sector transformation across the supply value chain we deal with. This will include, among others, construction work, maintenance, property and operations, professional services and non-core services.

“Secondly, he has been tasked with ensuring that SANRAL creates an enabling environment for small contractors, particularly black-owned ones, to access opportunities through procurement.”

Working close to the CEO

Essa, a qualified civil engineer, is an industry heavyweight with 36 years’ experience within the roads and civil engineering sector.

Backed by 21 years’ experience as a contractor with a major listed company in South Africa, Essa first joined SANRAL in 2001 as a Senior Project Manager. Within two years, he was promoted to Regional Manager for the Northern Region (Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and North West provinces), a position he has held for the past 14 years.

He is a long-standing member of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering. He also holds a professional registration with the South African Council for Project and Construction Management Professions.

Essa believes his past experience will be instrumental in this new role as he understands private sector operations and the need to create inclusive opportunities towards the transformation of the economy.

“The industry has been transforming slowly, our intent now is to give renewed impetus to the progress thus far made,” said Essa.

“SANRAL service providers need to reflect the demographics of the country. It is now my job to reduce dominance by big contractors as this is a major barrier for small and new contractors and consultants in accessing opportunities offered by SANRAL.”

Macozoma explained that this is a new position which has been set up to fundamentally direct spending towards emerging black-owned enterprises.

Adding value to supply chain

With extensive experience in supply chain, Ben-Mazwi will be an asset to SANRAL.

Ben-Mazwi is looking forward to using her experience to provide strategic guidance to the region.

She will be responsible for managing all departmental supply chain management (SCM) processes and reviewing and monitoring compliance on SCM matters in the region.

Ben-Mazwi will also develop and engineer standard operating procedures with regards to SCM as well as develop and implement controls for contract management, among other things.

She said: “My position at the Department of Roads and Public Works made me realise my passion for roads and transport. The position I filled, and all those I have filled before, gave me enough grounds to be able to be positive [that] I can fulfil my role at SANRAL.

“I am excited to be working on tenders so I can have that interface with people as I also have a passion for people. I look forward to using my experience to provide strategic guidance to the region.”

SANRAL Southern Region’s Regional Manager, Mbulelo Peterson said, “SANRAL Southern Region is fortunate to have Ms Ben-Mazwi join our team as she has extensive knowledge in supply chain management.

“Before joining the Southern Region she was an Assistant Manager (demand) and later acting Supply Chain Manager in the Department of Roads and Public Works Chris Hani Region, which is experience that would add value to SANRAL.”

Ben-Mazwi’s career kick-started in 2005 shortly after completion of her cost and management accounting diploma at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU). She then started her in-service training at a catering company in East London.

She later worked for companies including: Clicks head office, Total SA, and Vodacom, where she filled the roles of an accounts and creditors reconciliation clerk. In 2007 she joined the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) as a Senior Administration Officer, and in 2008 was promoted to Assistant Manager, a role she filled until 2011.