The Board’s View

GROW­ING THE ECON­OMY THROUGH WORLD CLASS ROAD IN­FRA­STRUC­TURE

Mmileng - - Contents - MR MATOME RALEBIPI,

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.

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