Tenders to the value of R8.3 billion for construction work in KwaZulu-Natal will be issued within the current financial year as announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
 
This will include seven major tenders on the N3 which will go out in the next three months once the regulatory approvals have been received and land acquisition finalised. This massive programme that will stretch over several years will increase road safety, ease traffic flows as well as access to and from industrial areas between these two major cities in KwaZulu-Natal. It is part of a R40 billion two to three-year investment programme by the roads agency as announced last week. Looking at a bigger picture for the N3 and N2 upgrades, 12 projects are expected to create more than 23 500 direct job opportunities. The programme will take eight to 10 years to be completed.

Direct job opportunities are actual individuals per ID number on site based on SANRAL averages over time of 262 jobs per R100m project value. In the case of community projects, of which two (consisting of multiple packages) are planned in the province, 290 jobs on average. “This excludes SANRAL’s continuous routine road maintenance as part of our robust preventative maintenance strategy aimed at taking care of the road assets we have,” says Dumisani Nkabinde, SANRAL’s Eastern region manager.
 
Treasury has allocated about R21.5 billion per year for the maintenance and improvement of SANRAL’s 19 262km non-toll network, including the national road network in KwaZulu-Natal. The SANRAL network forms the backbone of the country’s transport system the country depends heavily on road transport for the movement of 94 percent of all people and 87 percent of all goods in the country. The national road network serves as a catalyst for balanced economic growth, business confidence, investment and the transformation of society.
 
A growing share of contracts will be allocated to black-owned construction companies and enterprises owned by women, the youth and the disabled. In its long-term vision, Horizon 2030, SANRAL committed itself to the transformation of the construction and engineering sectors through the allocation of tenders to new entrants in these sectors.
 
Over the last six months, SANRAL has brokered memorandums of understanding between emerging companies and major suppliers of construction equipment and machinery. These partnerships give black-owned companies greater access to financing, expertise and the sophisticated equipment required to tender for larger contracts.
 
Nkabinde said: “The upgrades are part of government’s rollout of Strategic Infrastructure Projects in line with the National Development Plan, specifically the Strategic Integrated Projects, of which the N2 and N3 upgrades are within the SIP2 programme. The N3 upgrades will solve bottlenecks between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. Daily, the N3’s traffic consists of a minimum of 45 000 vehicles a day. If the N3 is not upgraded, the potential loss we as South Africans will face is R1 billion per annum. Back in 2015, the economic study undertaken as part of SIP revealed that closure of the N3 was estimated to cost the economy between R250 000 and R300 000 per hour.”
 
He said investment in roads infrastructure upgrades, especially in rural and underdeveloped communities, provides an opportunity for generating economic growth, alleviating poverty, reducing the scourge of inequality and increasing international competitiveness.