The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral), which has starved the construction sector of work for nearly a year, is finally waking up from its slumber — although analysts say it will have little room to manoeuvre for the foreseeable future. Sanral’s rollout of contracts stalled in 2017 because of disagreements with the Treasury over processes to award consulting service tenders. That led to a major backlog of road projects and has taken its toll on the ailing construction industry. Basil Read, which has a roads division, is one of several contractors to have succumbed to the generally anaemic state of the industry. The 66-year-old firm was forced into business rescue in June.

Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona told Business Day the roads agency "is contracting again after resolving the issue of design contracts with Treasury". "We have now resumed the awarding of both design contracts and construction work," Mona said. AECI CEO Mark Dytor, whose company recently bought materials...

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