THE completion of the multi-billion-rand N2 Wild Coast Road Project will significantly contribute to economic growth along the coast of South Africa and into neighbouring countries.
That’s according to Skhumbuzo Macozoma, Chief Executive Officer of the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) when addressing a stakeholder engagement meeting held in Lusikisiki recently.
He said the road would open a new trade corridor between Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Western Cape, as well as between South Africa and neighbouring countries such as Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho.
“SANRAL is working hard to complete the N2 Wild Coast Road, which will in turn open one of the last economic corridors of our country and will create many new opportunities for economic growth in the post-COVID-19 period.”
Macozoma said the new road would promote trade and tourism through an economic corridor along the south-eastern coast of South Africa, as well as between South Africa and several of neighbouring states.
“The N2 Wild Coast Road will not only bring with it thousands of new jobs and opportunities for the development of small, medium and micro enterprises but will also make the movement of people and goods much easier, especially through the Eastern Cape. That is why we have not given up on this project in spite of the difficulties over more than two decades and we will complete construction… over the next few years.”
He said the project represented a significant socio-economic injection for local communities, with approximately R4-billion set to be spent on targeted enterprises during construction.
Deputy Minister of Small Business Development Nokuzola Capa said those opposing the N2 Wild Coast Road were clearly not considering the economic benefits for the region and its people.
“Doomsayers make the call that the environment is in danger because of the construction of the road without recognising the economic benefits that the project will bring to the community. Our government will continue to create a conducive environment for everyone to succeed and benefit from the project,” she said.
Capa added that her department had the necessary resources to support and coordinate programmes around SMME development, urging community members and other stakeholders to approach the department.
Executive Mayor of O.R. Tambo District Municipality Thokozile Sokhanyile said the stakeholder meeting would assist in the development of local communities and urged SMMEs to unite and work closely with SANRAL as well as local and provincial government structures.
SANRAL’s Regional Manager, Mbulelo Peterson said the road agency’s strategy and policies deliberately focused on the transformation of the construction industry, particularly the impact of procurement in terms of job creation and opportunities for SMMEs.
“As we appoint contractors to execute projects on behalf of SANRAL, we support the construction industry because this industry is critically important but we also want to maximise the participation of black contractors, professionals, suppliers and designated groups in all our projects,” said Peterson.
SANRAL had partnered with key stakeholders to assist black businesses to benefit from project participation. The roads agency has signed memoranda of understanding with BELL, Barloworld, WIRTGEN, Pilot Crushtec, NAFBI and SAFCEC to assist with training of supervisory personnel.