Sanral 'shovel ready' to implement projects to boost weak economy
CAPE TOWN - The SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) will implement R30billion worth of construction projects as part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects to boost the weak economy.
Sanral chief executive Louw Kannemeyer said yesterday the agency had advertised 278 maintenance, operations and construction projects worth about R30.2bn during the current financial year.
Kannemeyer added that 136 projects to the value of R7.3bn have thus far been awarded, with plans to roll out more than 200 additional road infrastructure projects across the nine provinces.
He said one of the major contributing factors to the delay in awarding tenders were non-compliant tender bid submissions, and 12 projects worth R12bn had to be cancelled and tendered again this year.
"We recognise the frustrations of the industry and are engaging with regulatory bodies like the National Treasury on ways to streamline procurement processes to make them more efficient and to speed up the process of adjudicating and awarding tenders,” Kannemeyer said.
Ramaphosa recently hosted the Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium of South Africa and called on the private and public sector to invest in infrastructure to stimulate the economy weakened by the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns.
Companies also faced severe financial difficulties at present with the low level of infrastructure investment.
Sanral typically received up to 60 tenders for a project, and all these were subject to various regulatory and compliance verifications.
Kannemeyer said some of the verifications involved external entities, which resulted in numerous delays in finalising of the processes.
He said the challenges were compounded under Covid-19 lockdown regulations, as some of these entities were not functioning at 100percent capacity yet.
At the end of last month, the president designated priority infrastructure projects, paving the way for the start of private investment in an envisaged R2.3trillion infrastructure development programme to span over a decade.
The Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission Council issued a list of 276 projects earmarked for potential investment, ranging from key water supply and irrigation developments to energy, roads, housing and fish-farming plans.
The Trade and Industrial Policy Strategy (TIPS) non-governmental agency said in a report that there was general agreement that infrastructure should be a key element in the recovery package from the Covid-19 economy.
The infrastructure in the recovery package had to be financed largely through borrowing or through public-private partnerships.
To succeed, however, the build programme must support new industries, rather than reinforcing dependency on the mining value chain, and address the persistent and deep inequalities in access to household services, the TIPS agency emphasised.