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Two Great Kei road projects bring R1bn investment

Home Infrastructure Construction & Civils Two Great Kei road projects bring R1bn investment

TWO major road infrastructure development projects, on the R63 and the N2, with a combined budget of R1.165-billion are due to be constructed in the Great Kei Local Municipality in the second half of this year.

The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) introduced the projects to stakeholders at the end of last month. The two projects are an upgrading of National Route R63 between km 21.7 and the N2 past Qumrha (km 43.64), valued at R983 million; and the reseal of the N2 Section 16 between Mooiplaas (km 49.9) and Qumrha intersection (km 70.2), valued at R182 million.

The main consultants and contractors for the two projects were introduced. On the R63 Qumrha- N2 project, Mariswe (Pty) Ltd is the appointed consultant and H&I Construction (Pty) Ltd is the main contractor. On the N2 Mooiplaas – Qumrha contract, BVI Consulting is the consulting engineers with Tau Pele Construction (Pty) Ltd being the main contractor.

“On the R63 project, we anticipate construction to commence in August upon conclusion of the mobilisation phase. We are currently developing the Contract Participation Goal (CPG) Plan which will outline the work packages that will be informed by a local skills analysis and will be workshopped with the PLC,” said Sanral construction manager, Thabiso Ngozwana.

He said that Sanral had made provision to use local suppliers for material sourcing and encouraged those with borrow pits to stay prepared. The R63 project is anticipated to produce over 360 job opportunities for the local community and over 40 subcontracting opportunities. 8% of the contract value will be allocated to labour with a minimum of 30% to be subcontracted to SMMEs, while on the N2 Mooiplaas to Qumrha project, R54 million is estimated to be spent on SMMEs and R40 million is estimated to be spent on labour.

Sanral has two other projects in the Great Kei Local Municipality; the Slope Stabilisation along the N2 (Kei Cuttings), and the Routine Road Maintenance of sections 16/17&18 of the N2 and section 16 of the R63.

The scope of the R63 upgrade entails the widening and rehabilitation of the existing two-lane single-carriageway with geometric safety improvements and widening of the road, while the N2 Mooiplaas to Qumrha intersection project entails crack sealing, rut filling, texture correction, edge break repairs, and resealing to improve and rehabilitate the road.

Community involvement

Councillor Ngenisile Tekile, Mayor of Great Kei Local Municipality, welcomed the news during the Taking Sanral to the People stakeholder engagement session in Qumrha. “I commend Sanral for heeding the call to upgrade the R63 and N2. This will bring major investment to this area, including the construction of a taxi rank and walkways for pedestrian safety. We also welcome the upgrades Sanral will do along the R63 from Bhisho to N6,” he said.

Tekile urged that, over and above the intended project, Sanral assist with upgrading of the Qumhra main road to a tarred pavement as this would go a long way in changing the face of the town for the better.

Great Kei Local Municipality is constituted by mostly of poor households living below the poverty line. Most of the population is unemployed and many of the households are indigent, requiring subsidised basic municipal services. To this end, he said “It is very painful to see youth with a bleak future. Sanral’s road infrastructure investment here will change this over the next few years through the many jobs that will be created.”

“This is a term for development. The three spheres of government must work together in implementing the District Development Model (DDM). Through our engagements and work we do behind the scenes, we lobby for such development so it is good to see that Great Kei will be a construction site this year,” said Tekile, alluding to other pending municipal and provincial road construction projects that are earmarked for the area.

The Municipal Manager of Great Kei Local Municipality, Mr L Lambila encouraged the community to support Sanral’s road infrastructure construction programme. “We must be ambassadors of these projects and sing from the same hymnbook as these projects will benefit our communities,” he said.

“We also hope those appointed on the PLC will do their job diligently and see these projects to the finish without any hindrances,” added the Municipal Manager. During the session, Project Liaison Committee (PLC) members for both projects were introduced to stakeholders. They included youth, women, people with disabilities, military veterans, business sector and municipal representatives.

The role of Project Liaison Committees (PLC)

Sanral Regional Stakeholder Relations Specialist, Welekazi Ndika, outlined the PLC’s role as a conduit between the project and communities, and that it is there to assist communities with any matters relating to the projects. “Road construction requires major financial injection, so I urge you to safeguard this infrastructure for the benefit of our future generations. The appointed PLC must also ensure that stakeholders are kept abreast of project developments through robust and regular communication. These roads are your assets as the people of Great Kei. We must work together to ensure their successful upgrading and preservation,” said Ndika.

Sanral also introduced its SMME pre-tender training programme that will be provided to local SMMEs which is intended to help capacitate them for Sanral projects and beyond.

“We urge our SMMEs to participate in the training because we want you to grow and develop into formidable businesses. This training will help capacitate you,” said Tekile.

Ndika emphasised that the training is not a prerequisite to participate in Sanral tender opportunities and nor does it put one at an advantage when tendering on Sanral projects. “This opportunity will equip you with the prerequisite business skills that go beyond Sanral projects,” said Ndika.

“Transformation is among the key priorities of Sanral, to this end, we have established a transformation unit that is dedicated to assisting our emerging contractors, material and plant suppliers and service providers with some of the challenges faced on the ground,” said Ndika, urging local SMMEs to make use of this unit to intervene.

Cllr Mngxaso, Amathole District Municipality Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC), representing the Executive Mayor of Amathole District Municipality, said: “The budget allocation for local SMMEs means that something is being done by government to capacitate local SMMEs. I plead with you to please not waste the one-billion-rand investment that is coming to your shores. As government, our key goal is for our people to benefit. Any challenges that arise can be resolved through working together.”

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