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The newly ap­pointed MEC for Pub­lic Works, Roads and In­fra­struc­ture, the nourable Ms Nandi Ndalane, a share­holder rep­re­sen­ta­tive, s reaf­firmed the con­fi­dence e provin­cial gov­ern­ment has in L un­der the lead­er­ship of Board air­per­son Mr Matome Ralebipi d CEO Mr Mase­la­ganye Matji. In r first ad­dress to the Agency’s nual Gen­eral Meet­ing fol­low­ing r ap­point­ment to the po­si­tion Premier Chupu Matha­batha in to­ber, MEC Ndalane said she s im­pressed by the im­prov­ing te of RAL, con­sid­er­ing where e Agency was pre­vi­ously. The ency held its cru­cial AGM ently in Mook­go­pong in mpopo at the back­drop of the ent re­port of the Au­di­torneral, which re­flects yet other im­proved au­dit for the ency. The Agency’s an­nual rfor­mance re­port also shows eat strides made re­gard­ing job ation, SMMEs em­pow­er­ment d ru­ral eco­nomic devel­op­ment ough strate­gic pub­lic­vate part­ner­ships and road ras­truc­ture pro­grams.

“I was im­pressed by the state the health of Roads Agency mpopo. I am aware that RAL nt through a painful pe­riod ongst oth­ers be­ing put un­der min­is­tra­tion and many other tches too de­press­ing to de­tail. at gloomy pe­riod is gone, and I pe it will never re­turn,” said Ms alane.

Notwith­stand­ing RAL’s pres­sive an­nual per­for­mance ults, the MEC strongly couraged the Agency’s der­ship not to rest on its lau­rels d be sat­is­fied that we have a od en­tity.” Said Ms Ndalane: e must move from good to great .... I have con­fi­dence that we will move from the cur­rent un­qual­i­fied au­dit to the clean au­dit. I am there­fore chal­leng­ing you the chair­per­son of the board as well as the CEO and your team that it is not enough to be good we need to strive to be­come great. This com­pany needs to be listed amongst the great sta­te­owned com­pany ever ex­isted. It is a chal­lenge which I have full con­fi­dence that you will achieve.”

Job cre­ation and eco­nomic devel­op­ment through road in­fra­struc­ture is cen­tral to the Agency’s man­date, through which it strives to boost the Province’s eco­nomic growth, re­duce poverty and in­crease so­cial co­he­sion. The Agency has ring-fenced 30% of its con­struc­tion costs for SMMEs in com­mu­ni­ties where projects are im­ple­mented. In the 2016/17 Fi­nan­cial Year, a to­tal of R164 mil­lion, which is an in­crease from R109 mil­lion in the 2015/16, was spent on lo­cal SMMEs to boost job cre­ation. This has re­sulted in the cre­ation of a stag­ger­ing 1747 job op­por­tu­ni­ties, a sig­nif­i­cant jump from 437 job op­por­tu­ni­ties in 2015/16. Over R60m was spent on lo­cal labour, which is an in­crease from R20.2m spent in the pre­vi­ous fi­nan­cial year.

The em­pow­er­ment of youth and women has taken cen­ter stage in the Agency’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­men­tal pro­grams. A to­tal of 348 lo­cal peo­ple, 60% of whom are youth and women, were pro­vided with ac­cred­ited train­ing in the 2016/17 Fi­nan­cial Year, up from 61 the pre­vi­ous year.

As the most ru­ral province of the 9 prov­inces, the Agency has a back­log of 14,332 KMs that needs up­grade, re­pairs and main­te­nance to boost eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties, which can­not be funded solely through the cur­rent al­lo­ca­tion from the provin­cial trea­sury. In this re­gard, the Agency has en­tered into strate­gic pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ships through which it co-funds roads In­fra­struc­ture with the pri­vate sec­tor.

Since 2015, over R375 mil­lion in strate­gic part­ner­ships were signed be­tween RAL, the min­ing and agri­cul­tural sec­tor to ei­ther con­struct new roads or re­ha­bil­i­tate oth­ers around those min­ing com­mu­ni­ties for the greater pub­lic good.

MEC Ndalane says she is also im­pressed by the Pri­vate-Pub­lic Part­ner­ships RAL is pur­su­ing in the quest to aug­ment the re­sources to build roads in the province. “This in­no­va­tive in­ter­ven­tion is in­deed what we need in our province.” She en­cour­aged RAL to “strengthen its re­la­tion­ship with the pri­vate sec­tor. “I have been made aware that the Pri­vatePublic Part­ner­ships are cur­rently run­ning into mil­lions of rands and in­deed that is very en­cour­ag­ing. Both the board and the CEO are en­cour­aged to in­crease this in­vest­ment to the ben­e­fit of both the pri­vate sec­tor and the peo­ple of Lim­popo.”

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