SANRAL’s road project to create 500 jobs and subcontracting opportunities for SMMEs
Eastern Cape, 7 March 2023: A R1,2-billion road upgrade project by the South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) will create 500 jobs and subcontracting opportunities for 60 small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in one of the poorest regions of South Africa.
SANRAL shared details of the project at a recent gathering where the contractor was introduced to local communities. The contract entails the upgrade of a 39.4km stretch of the N2 between kwaBhaca and emaXesibeni, in the Alfred Nzo district.
The scope of the work includes the widening of the existing cross-section with surfaced shoulders and the introduction of climbing lanes and the construction of three new bridges as well as three major culverts.
Eastern Cape-based Rumdel Cape Construction (Pty) Ltd has been awarded the main contract of the 45 month-long project. It is expected that at least 60 subcontracting opportunities will be created for local SMMEs. At least 500 people will be employed on the project.
The acting speaker for Umzimvubu local Municipality, Nkosomzi Nomnganga, has urged the business forums and the communities to work together to ensure the smooth flow of the project which will bring about much needed job opportunities and better roads infrastructure.
He said: “SANRAL has responded to our proposals for better roads which includes employment opportunities. On behalf of the municipality, I want to urge our business forums and communities to ensure that no-one disrupts the project if they are dissatisfied or unhappy about it.”
“We urge all stakeholders, including the Project Liaison Committee (PLC), to cooperate with SANRAL to remove all obstacles and resolve all disagreements so that the work doesn’t stop and result in unnecessary financial losses.”
The Chairperson of Alfred Nzo Business Forum, Siyabonga Hlalekela, said he has taken one of the four seats allocated to business in the PLC. The composition of the PLC accommodates four business representatives to ensure that SMMEs in both the towns of kwaBhaca and emaXesibeni are represented.
Hlalekela said: “As the Umzimvubu business forum we are happy that we are going to benefit from what is invested and we are hoping that this project will ensure growth for some of our SMMEs.
“We will continue engaging other businesspeople who are not part of our forums to ensure the smooth progress of the development. Our message to everyone in business is that one doesn’t need to belong to a certain business forum to partake in the project and SMMEs must not hinder the development if their company are not awarded a subcontract.”
He urged the SMME representatives to take part in the training that SANRAL provides through its training service provider, ACS/Tjeka Joint Venture.
ACS/Tjeka Training empowers local people with skills that will enable them to access opportunities made available by SANRAL through the project.
In his presentation, facilitator Zoleka Mathangana urged SMMEs willing to participate in the training to organise themselves according to the areas that they live in, to minimise traveling costs.
Participants will obtain skills in preparing tender documents and running their businesses efficiently. They will also receive Construction SETA Accredited certificates.
Rumdel Cape director, Prince Mzwandile Faku, has assured the SMMEs that they will benefit from the project but warned that only those fit for purpose will be awarded subcontracts.
Faku said: “Our aim is to leave a legacy of infrastructure that lasts longer than the guaranteed period and we want local people who participated in the project to have something after we have left the area.”
He said information was key and in the next three months there will be an overflow of information to all key stakeholders.
“Sometimes people disrupt projects because there was poor consultation, sometimes (it is because) they didn’t know how to participate. We are pleased with the three-month consultation period because it’s during this period that information about the project and its scope goes out to interested parties. People need to understand that four years is a long period, you may not get a contract immediately, but you may find out about future needs of the project and how to supply for that,” said Faku.
Welekazi Ndika, Stakeholder Engagement and Communication Officer at SANRAL’s Southern Region, introduced the Contractor and the Supervision Consulting Engineers, Zutari (Pty) Ltd, to the communities.
Ndika urged the Umzimvubu traditional leaders, transport representatives, ratepayers, and the affected wards to elect their representatives to the PLC.
“We want to make sure that all the critical stakeholders are represented in the PLC and members of the PLC must communicate with their constituencies, because in the end we don’t want any disgruntled individual to mobilise and block the N2,” she said.
The project forms part of the multi-billion-rand infrastructure investment that SANRAL continues to make in the Alfred Nzo district, one of the poorest regions in the country.
Towards the end of 2022, SANRAL awarded a construction project of a similar value of R1.2-billion to Down Touch Investments in the Alfred Nzo District Municipality, for the rehabilitation of the R56 from its local municipality of Matatiele to KwaZulu-Natal Border.
The R4.05-billion Mtentu Bridge contract on the N2 Wild Coast Road (N2WCR) project is also within the Alfred Nzo district.
The Mtentu Bridge contract was awarded to Chinese Communications Construction Company and its Joint Venture partners, and the work is set to commence from the beginning of March 2023.
Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane has also mentioned the strides SANRAL was making in provincial roads infrastructure development and said the N2 Wild Coast development will connect the region to a gazetted Eastern Seaboard Development with KwaZulu-Natal and urged the provincial citizens to submit their comments.
Mabuyane said: “We are moving with greater speed by working with SANRAL to construct road arteries that connect our people to social services and economic centres in the N2 Wild Coast. We will soon be breaking ground on the road from Lingeni to Msikaba and from Msikaba to Mtentu.”
He said SANRAL will invest over R4-billion for the construction of the N2 from kwaBhaca to Ngcweleni River, the N2 Ndabakazi Interchange, the N2 from Gamtoos River to Van Stadens River and projects which include the R58 from Cala to Ngcobo, the R336 from Kirkwood to Addo and the R390 from Cradock to Hofmeyer.