SANRAL Making Inroads in Limpopo
The key mandate of the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) is to build, upgrade and maintain national road infrastructure in South Africa. SANRAL is an important partner of the Roads Agency Limpopo (RAL). RAL has been mandated by the provincial government to manage, control, plan, develop and maintain the provincial road network.
In 2014, the province transferred some regional roads to SANRAL. The national roads agency now manages two ‘N’ roads and 23 ‘R’ roads in Limpopo Province.
There are several reasons for transferring roads to SANRAL, informed by the province’s strategy in road infrastructure planning and provision.
According to Progress Hlahla, SANRAL’s manager for the Northern Region, the transfer of roads is usually done after the province makes a formal request to the Minister of Transport to take over certain roads.
“The roads to be taken over are then gazetted to inform the public of the change of ownership. Once these roads are transferred to SANRAL, we can maintain them going forward,” says Mr Hlahla.
RAL Head of Communications Maropeng Manyathela said that it is clear from the stakeholder engagements that RAL participates in that the public is unaware of who manages which parts of the road network in Limpopo.
“It’s important for our people to understand how roads in South Africa are categorised,” said Mr Manyathela.
“It is not only important to understand the distinctions, but also to know who to approach when you have a particular problem.”
“We are one government and if the community comes to the RAL about municipal roads or national roads, we have to take control of the situation and consult our counterparts in the municipalities or at the national level so that we can help.”
The current length of Limpopo’s provincial road network is 98 399km, of which 74 757km is maintained by municipalities (local government), 19 997km is maintained by RAL (provincial government) and 3 645km by SANRAL (national government).
Municipal roads (commonly referred to as Street, Drive, Avenue, Crescent etc) are managed by municipalities. Bigger metros, such as the City of Johannesburg, have entities such as the Johannesburg Roads Agency to manage their roads.
Provincial roads fall under the provincial departments responsible for road infrastructure. Limpopo has RAL under the Department of Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure, which manages all provincial roads, marked by letter P for Provincial and letter D for District, followed by a number. The D roads in Limpopo link the province’s five district municipalities.
Regional roads – marked by letter R for Regional, followed by a number – are split between the province and national entities. These roads link SANRAL’s four Regions (Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western). Limpopo falls in SANRAL’s Northern Region, which also include the provinces of Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North West. SANRAL maintains all national roads in the province, i.e. the two ‘N’ roads that traverse the province (N1 from Gauteng/Limpopo border to Beit Bridge border post and N11 from Mpumalanga/Limpopo border to Grobler’s Bridge border post), as well as several ‘R’ roads as in the red box on page 14.
SANRAL’s investment in the province has been particularly visible in the last couple of years; various roads have been vastly improved by the national agency.
“We have done an excellent work in Limpopo and will continue to partner with other spheres of government for the provision of road infrastructure in the province,” says Mr Hlahla.
Work done by SANRAL in the province in recent times include a vehicle bridge and two pedestrian bridges on the N1 through Botlokwa, which were officially opened in October 2017, mainly to improve road safety in the area.
Mr Hlahla hopes that the partnership between SANRAL and RAL will continue to ensure the delivery of world-class infrastructure to all South Africans.
“Stakeholder consultations remain key and we will continue to consult our stakeholders as we implement projects in the province.”
SANRAL has also committed to improve road safety on the R37 stretch to Burgersfort. Measures will include the erection of traffic signs and street lighting, repairing and erecting new fences to prevent direct access onto the road, and the widening of the existing road from a single carriageway to a four-lane carriageway.
“The planned new four-lane will have guardrails to separate the carriageways, designated pedestrian crossing areas, sidewalks, public transport stops and protected refuge islands,” concluded Mr Hlahla.
SANRAL AND SMALL BUSINESS EMPOWERMENT
Like RAL, SANRAL is committed to economic development in the areas where it implements its projects. As per the government’s policy for Small Medium and Micro Enterprise (SMME) development, main contractors are required to subcontract 30% of the contract value to local SMMEs and employ local labour. SANRAL currently has 12 main Routine Road Maintenance (RRM) contracts for its road network in Limpopo and approximately 36 subcontractors.
RRM consists of ongoing upkeep of the road and road reserves. It includes patching potholes, grass cutting, repairing damaged guard rails hit by cars, fixing road signs, cleaning and clearing storm water
culverts, removing carcasses and clearing the road after traffic accidents.
SMMEs in Limpopo who work on RRM projects include Vul’indlela, Vuk’uzenzele, BRBF and Star of Life, among others.
Limpopo contractors are encouraged to tender for SANRAL RRM opportunities when they are advertised on SANRAL, Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) and National Treasury websites. The SMMEs are encouraged to also tender for SANRAL opportunities when advertised through local media and municipalities’ notice boards.
RRM projects run on three-year cycles. SMME participation and registration for other subcontracting and supply opportunities can be done through the relevant local and district municipalities.
Part of N1 Polokwane Ring Road, the project is one of several current road infrastructure investments made by SANRAL in the Limpopo Province. The ring road is due for completion in the first half of 2019.
Progress Hlahla, SANRAL’s regional manager responsible for Limpopo Province. Limpopo falls under SANRAL’s Northern Region, which also include the provinces of Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North West.
SANRAL encourages small businesses in Limpopo Province to bid for its Routine Road Maintenance (RRM) opportunities. The national roads agency currently has 12 main RRM contracts and 36 subcontractors in the province.