SANRAL hosted its flagship programme “Taking SANRAL to the people” at the Fetakgomo Tubatse local municipality in Burgersfort, Limpopo recently. This is part of the roads agency’s continued commitment to developing and engaging communities. The event was attended by local government, traditional and community leadership, SMME’s, business representatives, youth and women’s organisations in the municipal area.
High up on the agenda was the need to create space for black businesses in the procurement process and the facilitation of increased youth and women
involvement in projects. As part of its approach to future projects, SANRAL encouraged partnerships between larger companies and SMMEs as a way of enabling this transformation.
The upgrading and maintenance of sections on the R37 from Lebowakgomo to Burgersfort brings with it various opportunities for local business. It will
include a section where pedestrian and other safety facilities will be constructed. The erection of illegal speed humps and the occurrence of violent
service delivery protests in the area have led to damaged road infrastructure which has had a significant impact on people and business in the area.
Speaking about how local organisations can benefit from SANRAL projects, Madoda Mthembu, Project Manager: Routine road maintenance, said: “Besides some of the larger projects which require extensive experience, SANRAL also has routine road maintenance (RRM) projects within the municipality which will help smaller companies build on their experience and capacity through the employment of locals.”
While its main aim is to ensure good quality roads, Northern Region Manager, Progress Hlahla, says that SANRAL’s R37 project hopes to improve and stimulate the local economy, increase traffic capacity and promote road safety. “We are here to inform the community that we are working tirelessly to make travel more pleasant for them and prospective investors. We would like to achieve this by working with them and ploughing back into this very community by not only speaking about our transformation strategy, but by implementing it”, he said.
SANRAL’s transformation policy requires that through its inclusive procurement approach, a sizeable value of contracts is awarded to suitably qualified enterprises owned by black-, youth, women and disabled individuals as well as military veterans.
While local business appreciated this move by SANRAL, they requested the agency to address the need for provision of valuable training for small companies when they are brought into projects with large contractors. Attaining the required CIDB grades as well as limited access to equipment and finding were other barriers to entry which SMMEs raised at the gathering.
Fetakgomo Tubatse Local Municipality Mayor, Cllr. Maudu Johannes Phokane echoed the sentiments of local business owners saying that he hopes that this project will enhance the capabilities and the lives of the community. “The municipality needs to play a central role in ensuring that we establish a municipal business forum to make sure that other business forums are considered and that development takes place “he said.