The agency is committed to creating economic opportunities for small black businesses to grow and prosper.
The South African National Roads Agency (SOC) Limited (SANRAL) held a stakeholder engagement session in Upington, attended by local subcontractors in the road construction industry, local labour, emerging SMMEs, provincial and local government, and members of the Upington business community.
The session was opened by the recently elected Mayor of David Kruiper Municipality, Councillor Michael Segede, who lauded SANRAL’s contribution to the development of the regional economy through its various road construction ventures across the Northern Cape.
Key to this engagement was identifying emerging SMMEs in the road construction industry that need training and capacity building to ensure they are familiar with the procurement requirements when doing business with the state, and to understand their developmental needs.
SANRAL is committed to creating economic opportunities for small black businesses to grow and prosper, and recognises that for this to materialise they need to be supported from the very beginning with the necessary training that will enable them to tender competitively, realistically and profitably.
Randall Cable, SANRAL Western Region Manager, said: “This engagement today is the start of a process of unlocking value in this community. Opportunities for small businesses should not just be limited to construction work. Where products can be supplied, those suppliers should be sourced from the local pool.
“Where support services, ie catering, facilities, etc, are needed, local businesses should have the first opportunity to benefit from these contracts. I am pleased the new Mayor, Cllr Segede is on the same page with us and committed to improving cooperative governance so that together we can enable communities to carve a pathway out of poverty.”
As the engagement was held during youth month, a part of the programme was also dedicated to promoting SANRAL’s bursary and scholarship programme, which benefits deserving young people who excel at Maths and Science, but for whom financial challenges could be an obstacle to succeeding academically.
“We don’t attract enough applications from this area, and we are appealing to the municipality to use their local communication platforms to spread the word and encourage teachers, parents and learners to take advantage of this lifeline,” continued Cable.
Job creation and skills development
SANRAL’s conventional road construction projects across the Northern Cape are all reaching completion, and while there are ongoing Routine Route Maintenance contracts in place, which support the local economy with job creation and skills development, a concerted effort is being made to speed up the process of rolling out large construction tenders, which would create a massive cash injection into the regional and local economy.
Cable said: “Guided by SANRAL’s Transformation Policy we are committed to working with all stakeholders in the road construction arena, as we recognise the critical role that SANRAL plays in the economic development of our country at large. Going forward, all SANRAL projects will be facilitated through an inclusive and consultative process, using Project Liaison Committees (PLCs) that are being set up locally in the targeted project areas with all relevant stakeholders.
“We look forward to rolling out new projects across the Northern Cape in the future and want to ensure that the way is paved for local labour and SMMEs to seize the opportunities that road construction projects can bring to the marginalised communities along the route,” concluded Cable.