Dumisani Nkabinde, Sanral Eastern Region regional manager.
DURBAN - Communities in far-flung rural areas in northern KwaZulu-Natal are reaping the benefits of road construction and maintenance on crucial routes that have led to job creation and the development of small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs).

The SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) this week embarked on a drive to inform stakeholders of the opportunities that exist in the construction industry.

Sanral hosted its Taking Sanral to the People programme in Kwangwanase at Kosi Bay in KZN to promote dialogue between the roads agency, different spheres of government, business and communities.

Dumisani Nkabinde, Sanral Eastern Region regional manager, said that through this programme Sanral shared information with stakeholders about its continuing role in infrastructure development, job creation and skills development initiatives.

“We are mindful of the impact that procurement and employment practices in these industries (construction, engineering and related sectors) have on millions of people across South Africa. We accept our responsibility to help transform these sectors and to maximise the participation of black contractors, professionals and suppliers beyond the current regulatory levels in all aspects of our business.

“As a responsible state-owned entity, Sanral wants to play a leadership role in sectors of the economy that are critical to job creation, skills development and community empowerment,” Nkabinde said.

Sanral has undertaken several projects in Northern KZN to make roads safer for pedestrians while rehabilitating and upgrading existing roads. This work was used to also start contributing more to the Manguzi community, with jobs created for people of Manguzi - a significant number of them women.

Black-owned SMMEs were also contracted to the tune of R2.24 million in addition to R1.2m spent on local labour, and 63 people were trained in skills development through maintenance of the R22 from Mseleni River to Phelendaba circle.

Upcoming projects include the maintenance of the N2 from Empangeni to the border of Mpumalanga province. This will also include R22 sections 1 - 5 from Hluhluwe to the Mozambican border, a distance of 427km. Planned work includes repairs of pavements, grass cutting, attendance to drainage structures, road reserve cleaning and the maintenance of road amenities. A requirement of the project is that at least 60% of scheduled work should be contracted to sub-contractors.

- THE MERCURY