The SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) has resumed the awarding of contracts for road design since clarity on important issues relating to bid evaluation was received from the National Treasury. More than 50 have been issued since July and Sanral is confident we will soon erase the backlog that was built up while the technical issues were being resolved.

Sanral recognises the impact its tender decisions have on the engineering and construction sectors. They also have wider implications for emerging enterprises, black-owned companies and start-ups that form part of the supply chains of larger engineering companies.

At one stage the unfortunate impression was created that the delays in awarding contracts could be attributed to Sanral’s internal processes or its newly adopted transformation policy. Some of these misperceptions were perpetuated in statements and Sens announcements made by companies in the construction sector.

The reason for the delays can be attributed to a technical process initiated by National Treasury during the course of 2017. The issues at stake related to interpretations of certain regulations contained in the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act.

Treasury has since provided clarity about the definitions of provisional and prime cost sums and how they were applied in practice. The resolution of this matter provides greater certainty to both Sanral and the broader construction and engineering sectors. As a result, we expect to see more tenders for road design coming to the market in the coming weeks. As we erase the backlog this will also kickstart tender processes for the construction of roads.

We are confident these developments will be welcomed by the construction and engineering sectors, which derive large parts of their business from Sanral contracts. This will also have a beneficial impact on black-owned enterprises in these industries, and companies owned by women and the youth.

Sanral has committed itself to the transformation of the engineering and construction sectors through our procurement and supply chain processes, and we intend to continuously increase the share of contracts issued to black-owned companies.

Vusi Mona
Sanral general manager communications