President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for both private and public sector entities to invest in and unlock ‘shovel-ready’ infrastructure development projects to stimulate the South African economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. He recently hosted the Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium of South Africa (SIDSSA).
The President’s call was followed by a commitment from the minister of transport, Fikile Mbalula, that road infrastructure development would be a key contributor to South Africa’s economic.
Louw Kannemeyer, engineering executive of the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) said that there is already portfolio of ‘shovel-ready’ projects that would be implemented during the course of the 2020/21 financial year and beyond. “In the current financial year, Sanral has advertised 278 maintenance, operations and construction projects worth approximately R30.2 billion. So far 136 projects to value of R7.3 billion have been awarded,” said Kannemeyer.
In addition, Sanral plans to roll out over 200 additional road infrastructure projects across all nine provinces of South Africa, impacting directly on economic development, job creation and economic transformation.
Sanral has had to cancel and retender 12 projects with an estimated value of R12.1bn, largely due to the receipt of non-compliant bid submissions.
“We recognise the frustrations of the industry and are engaging with regulatory bodies like National Treasury on ways to streamline our procurement processes to make them more efficient and ultimately to speed up the process of adjudicating and awarding tenders,” said Kannemeyer. “We typically can receive as many as 60 tenders for a single project, especially on CIDB 6 projects (<R20 million) and all these are subject to various regulatory and compliance verifications to confirm that each bid is responsive. Some of these verifications involve external entities, resulting in numerous delays in finalising the processes. The challenges are exponentially compounded under Covid-19 lockdown regulations, as some of these entities are not functioning at 100% capacity yet.”