Sanral defends international outsourcing for large-scale projects

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The South African National Road Agency Limited (SANRAL) has defended its practice of contracting multinational companies on large-scale projects.

The road agency says that based on the complexities and multitude of their projects most local companies do not have the required expertise needed for some of its large road projects.

To ensure the delivery of high-quality, long-lasting infrastructure and roads, the agency believes it is essential to partner with major industry players, who, in turn, provide employment opportunities for many South Africans.

During a media briefing held in Centurion, Themba Mhambi, the Board Chairperson at Sanral, said that supporting large companies in the construction sector is crucial for the nation’s economic well-being.

Mhambi emphasized the importance of not undermining these enterprises, as they play a significant role in creating jobs for ordinary citizens.

Mhambi said, “We are on record as having said that we will continue to support the big companies in this country because it’s only a moron, it’s a fool who will kill their big business. You are killing the ordinary people who are employed by these companies. Therefore, we want to put this on record here that we will continue to support big companies in the construction space but we will not do that at the expense of small companies.”

While major companies continue to secure the majority of projects, Sanral acknowledges that there are instances where it must tap into international expertise. These cases often arise for unique, once-off special projects, including the construction of substantial bridges designed to endure for a century.

Sanral’s CEO, Reginald Demana, underscored the agency’s unwavering commitment to infrastructure quality and longevity. He explained that some of the largest construction companies in the country are entrusted with executing major projects, with an emphasis on superior supervision, consulting, and construction skills.

Demana emphasized, “Our major projects are being executed by some of our biggest construction companies in the country, and for that, we are very proud because one thing we cannot compromise at Sanral is the quality of infrastructure. A road is built to last at least 20 years. We stretch it to 30 years, and we want to be able to do minimal maintenance during that time. It means, therefore, when it is being built, the supervision and consulting must be one hundred percent up to the quality we expect.”

To address the transformation of the construction industry, Sanral has initiated programs aimed at involving smaller players in the value chain. These initiatives include the Contractor Development Program, designed to elevate lower-grade contractors and provide mentorship, training, and financial support, enabling them to take on contracts at higher levels.

Sanral reaffirmed its intent to work with major construction companies while actively pursuing real industry transformation by creating opportunities for smaller and medium enterprises, as outlined in its newly adopted Preferential Procurement Policy.

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