Main image: Artist impression of the Mtentu Bridge.

Pretoria, 16 November 2022 – The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) is disturbed by repeated efforts by some media houses to discredit the recent award of four tenders on key infrastructure projects. Notwithstanding SANRAL’s efforts to address media enquiries with substantive facts, some media houses continue to present fictitious narratives to the public.

SANRAL would like to assure the South African public that proper processes were followed in the award of the four tenders in question. The tenders were adjudicated by the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) in a fair and transparent process where any and all eligible South African companies had the opportunity to submit a compliant tender.

Allegations that China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), one of the JV partners in the Mtentu Bridge contract, has a 1CE Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) Grading, are baseless and therefore fictitious.

Fact: CSCEC’s CIDB grading is 9CE, which is a key requirement needed for companies to bid for a contract of this magnitude. Furthermore, CSCEC’s CIDB registration is valid until 21 February 2023.

Allegations that Mota Engil Construction South Africa (MECSA), the other partner in the JV for the construction of Mtentu Bridge, who also has a 9CE CIDB Grading, is a deregistered entity, are also fictitious.

Fact: MECSA’s CIDB registration is valid until 11 March 2024.

Vusi Mona, SANRAL General Manager, Communications and Marketing said: “We have always welcomed industry watchdogs and active citizenry, designed to hold government and its agencies to account. The level of witch-hunting we are seeing now, however, is destructive and counter-productive, particularly at a time when SANRAL is spearheading economic recovery through prioritised public infrastructure upgrades.”

Vusi Mona, SANRAL General Manager, Communications and Marketing

Added to that, the opinion reportedly expressed by SAICE President, Marianne Vanderschuren, that foreign companies are coming into South Africa to do work because it is “almost impossible” for South African contractors to work in the country due to construction mafia issues, is not helpful.

SANRAL has several major construction projects in progress, where a concerted effort is made to prioritise stakeholder relations, with all stakeholders, both those who are disgruntled and those who openly laud SANRAL for the economic and skills development benefits its projects bring to South Africa.

In the last financial year alone, SANRAL provided 1,684 SMMEs with work on construction, rehabilitation and maintenance projects. The total amount earned through these contracts was R2,330,241,038. Black-owned SMMEs derived significant benefit, accounting for 88.05% of contracts awarded and 89.6% of the value of the work performed.

The law prescribes that foreign companies are free to conduct business in South Africa, as much as there are South African construction companies doing business in other parts of Africa and the world.

“We are constantly reminded that South Africa and Africa should take up its place in the global village and by extension, that also means welcoming the input of other countries in our quest to develop South Africa’s knowledge economy,” said Mona. “We trust that those who are unhappy with the outcomes of a fair and transparent process, in line with our laws and regulations, will be guided by the facts and not make things up to suit their agendas.”

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