The Board’s View
GROWING THE ECONOMY THROUGH WORLD CLASS ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE
In his State of the Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa was unequivocal regarding his administration’s commitment to seize this moment of hope and renewal to ensure that it makes a meaningful difference in the lives of the people. The President said, emphatically, that impactful actions will be put into motion to set the country on a new path of growth, employment and transformation. Infrastructure investment, he added, was key to our efforts to grow the economy, create jobs, empower small businesses and provide services to the people. The President’s commitments did struck a harmonious chord with those of our Province, with Premier Chupu Stanley Mathabatha subsequently indicating in his State of the Province Address that the “efforts to grow the economy and provide the much-needed jobs for our people cannot succeed without a targeted support to the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) and cooperatives.”
At the Roads Agency Limpopo, one of the key catalysts for socio-economic development in the Limpopo Province, we have ensured that the bold plans and directives of both the President and the Premier find tangible expression in our road infrastructure rollout programme. In the last 3 financial years, the Agency has intensified its drive to boost the provincial economy, create jobs, empower small businesses and improve our people’s quality of life. By ensuring that contractors sub-contract 30% of their contract value to local SMMEs and spent 10% of contract value to employ local labourers, we have thus far managed to create many job opportunities and to build the economies of various villages and townships where we build roads. Between 2015 and 2017, RAL spent a total of R460m on local SMMEs and R76.744m on labourers, thereby creating close to 4000 job opportunities within project areas. Part of the budget that is ringfenced for the development of local SMMEs and labourers is used to offer local labourers on-thejob and accredited training. Between 2015 and 2017, RAL has managed to equip a total of 1 033 locals – 60% of whom are women and the youth - with accredited training.
The turnaround strategy that the Agency’s Board of Directors adopted in 2015 has yielded significant results. The Agency improved from an adverse audit opinion to unqualified audit opinion in the space of two years. This is due to a number of factors such as organizational leadership stability, strengthening of internal controls and governance, capacitating the both the Board of Directors and executive management with individuals who have requisite expertise and skills.
The relationship with private sector partners has improved significantly, and have thus far contributed more than R500m towards construction of economically strategic roads. Funding from private sector is a clear sign of confidence in RAL systems and leadership.
We continue to intensify the development of the village economy, including easing the burden of travel, through the roll out of quality road infrastructure closer to where people live. In this regard, between 2015 and 2018, a total of 168km road was upgraded from gravel to tar. The overall company performance improved from 56% in 2015 to 71% in 2017.
RAL will continue to use infrastructure delivery as a vehicle for driving local economy through empowerment of SMMEs, peoplecentred development, provision of accredited training, and job creation.
The marching orders of the President and the Premier are clear, and as the Agency we will neither waver nor fail in our endeavour to build, rehabilitate and maintain world class provincial roads to grow the economy and provide the much-needed jobs through, amongst others, targeted support to small businesses.