The SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) has awarded eight road maintenance, rehabilitation and resurfacing projects in the Eastern Cape worth a total of more than R1.6 billion to contractors.
The announcement of these contract awards follows Sanral reporting earlier this month that it was ready to implement R30 billion worth of construction projects that form part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s drive for “shovel-ready” infrastructure development to stimulate the economy post Covid-19.
The projects Sanral has awarded are:
- A R653 million contract for the rehabilitation of the road from the N2 Nqadu to Mbokotwana River and Dan’s Place.
- A R542 million contract for the upgrading of the Fort Beaufort to Alice road.
- A R220 million contract for special maintenance of 35.3km of the R56 Section 4 from the N6 to Dordrecht.
- An R83 million phase two contract for special maintenance on the Jansenville to the R63 road.
- A R65 million phase two contract for special maintenance on the Wolwefontein to Jansenville road.
- A R44 million contract for the upgrading of the R67 from Swart Kei to Queenstown.
- A R39 million contract for special maintenance of 18km of the national route R56 Section 3 from Molteno to Vlakfontein.
- A R32 million contract for special maintenance of the road from Kareedouw to Section 10 Krom River.
The identity of the contractors who have been awarded these contracts was not disclosed by Sanral.
Sanral southern region manager Mbulelo Peterson said infrastructure development is key in the acceleration of economic activity and growth.
“As a roads authority mandated with road infrastructure service delivery, we are happy to be back in operation and rolling out work.
“These projects will be a crucial boost to economic activity in the province.
“They will present much-needed employment opportunities, more so now given the current economic decline due to Covid-19 and the lockdown,” he said.
Peterson added that small-, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) development and participation is an essential component on all Sanral projects and various work packages have therefore been reserved for targeted enterprises in all these projects.
He said training will also form part of SMME development.
Peterson said community benefits presented by the projects will include improved pedestrian and road safety, particularly in high traffic spots where learners commute daily on foot to and from school.
David Fraser, executive chair of Peregrine Capital, said on Sunday any contract award is incredibly welcome in the current economic environment, particularly in the Eastern Cape, which is desperately looking for investment and has been under pressure recently.
However, Fraser stressed that these contract awards only account for about 5.5% of the R30 billion of construction contracts Sanral indicated earlier this month it is ready to implement.
This is just the start
“We are looking forward to the continued momentum of these contract awards over the short term, which will definitely stimulate the economy.
“The real work is obviously the N3 projects, where there are five or six sections that are all worth over R1 billion each. We want to see those awards coming out as soon as possible,” he said.
Fraser said it is irrelevant who the contracts are awarded to provided they go to capable and competent contractors who will produce work at the required specifications.
“At the end of the day, it’s about job creation and the multiplier effect and material and other inputs that go into these contracts as well,” he said.
Rudolf Fourie, the chief executive of JSE-listed road building and maintenance focused company Raubex, said earlier this month the whole construction industry landscape will change if Sanral awards all of the R30 billion projects it is ready to implement.
Sanral Engineering Executive Louw Kannemeyer said at the time the road agency has, in the current financial year, advertised 278 maintenance, operations and construction projects worth about R30.2 billion and has so far awarded 136 projects to the value of R7.3 billion.
He added that Sanral also plans to roll out more than 200 additional road infrastructure projects across all nine provinces in the country, which will impact directly on economic development, job creation and economic transformation.
Speaking at the Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium in June, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the government has placed infrastructure at the centre of the stimulus South Africa’s economy needs to achieve a sustainable recovery.
The government last month unveiled 50 Strategic Infrastructure Projects (SIP) and 12 special projects involving a total investment of R360 billion as the first tranche of a massive infrastructure expenditure programme to drive the post Covid-19 economic recovery effort.
These initial SIP projects are expected to create an estimated 275 700 jobs in six sectors: water and sanitation, energy, transport, digital infrastructure, agriculture and agro-processing and human settlements.