The Department of Transport plans to introduce more ‘labour-intensive’ practices for road projects in South Africa to boost job creation across the country.
In its annual report submitted to parliament this week, the department said this would include partnerships with poor communities, which can be employed for routine road maintenance and construction activities through a ‘householder contractors programme’.
“In line with the programme, the road is divided up into various (small) work packages and then allocated to household contractors. In this way, each community can take responsibility for its work package, and persons can receive stipends for their services, while roads are kept in good condition.”
“Investing in the road sub-sector will assist in making a significant contribution in reducing maintenance backlogs, creating jobs and addressing transformation in the industry through the development of suppliers,” it said.
The national network under Sanral, the entity responsible for managing, maintaining, and developing most of South Africa’s roads, currently sits at 22,253 km.
For the annual period under review, the whole of Sanral’s network was exposed to routine maintenance, with some parts of the network also re-surfaced, strengthened, improved and/or newly laid. A total of 6,063 jobs were created through these projects – lower than targeted due to the impact of the pandemic.
“To enhance transformation in the road construction and maintenance space, Sanral ensured that 8% of contracts, which represented 77% of the contract value, were awarded to companies in which majority of shares are owned by black people. Black women held 12% of all contracts among black-owned companies,” the department said.
“In line with the provincial road maintenance programme, about 5% of the provincial road network was exposed to rehabilitation, maintenance, resurfacing, resealing, blacktop patching, blading and re-gravelling during the period under review.”
The department said that over 200,000 job opportunities were created, with some opportunities being for women, youth and persons with disabilities.