The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) has exceeded its targets for locals to benefit from the construction of the Msikaba Bridge. Msikaba is one of two-mega-bridges on the N2 Wild Coast Toll Road (N2WCR).
SANRAL reported today that it had already exceeded its contract participation goals (CPG) for the Msikaba Bridge, with more than R550 million spent on targeted enterprises (Small, Medium, Micro Enterprises and suppliers). This translates into a huge economic impact on the Eastern Cape and local communities, with massive socio-economic benefits flowing to the region.
The report was featured in a meeting of the N2 Wild Coast Road (N2WCR) Political Oversight Committee (POC) meeting held at the Lusikisiki Resource Centre. The meeting was attended by the Chairperson of the committee, MEC for Transport and Community Safety, Xolile Nqatha, MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Zolile Williams, the Mayor of Ingquza Hill Local Municipality, Councillor Nonkosi Pepping, the Mayor of Port St Johns, Councillor Nomvuzo Mlombile-Cingo, and traditional leaders affected by the N2 Wild Coast Road development.
The Msikaba Bridge contract’s CPG for targeted enterprises (that is SMMEs and suppliers) is a minimum of thirty percent of the contract value (R1.65 billion). To date R553.2 million (107% of the target) has been spent on 157 targeted enterprises which comprise 44 suppliers, 52 service providers and 61 sub-contractors. R92.8 million has been spent on wages of local targeted labour, which is 108% of the 5% CPG target (R86 million). Meanwhile, 453 full-time equivalent jobs have been created to date, with 391 of these being occupied by local persons.
“SANRAL has risen to the occasion once again and has made a huge difference to the lives of people in local communities through job creation and business opportunities on the N2 Wild Coast Road development. This region will never be the same. We appreciate SANRAL’s drive for socio-economic development, which also places an emphasis on a consultative approach and stakeholder engagement,” said MEC Nqatha.
The meeting provided a progress report on the N2 Wild Coast Road project and the socio-economic impact on communities as a result of the project. The meeting engaged the traditional leadership on issues of contention including the introduction of projects to the affected traditional leadership (ukukhahlela) prior to commencement, issues around contested traditional leadership, access to villages, project disruptions and delays, as well as encroachment on SANRAL’s road reserve.
The traditional leadership raised concerns about the interdicted SANRAL contract for the construction of the road from Lingeni to the Msikaba Bridge, saying that the delay presented challenges in the community, particularly for the households affected by relocation who are now in limbo. They further urged SANRAL to engage stakeholders opposed to the construction of the highway, such as pressure groups opposed to the current alignment in the Amadiba area. The traditional leaders urged SANRAL to ensure the prompt progression of the project.
MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Zolile Williams, said he appreciated the cooperation from the traditional leadership on the N2WCR development. He cautioned that it was important to understand the process of “ukukhahlela” and the potential exploitation thereof. The MEC said that the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders (ECHOTL) should be brought closer to the process to manage some of the contentious issues related to traditional leadership.
“Traditional leaders are part of the programme, they are fully behind the development. Their plea is for SANRAL to move with speed to construct the road and to ensure that no one will interfere with that. They have expressed interest to engage the Amadiba Crisis Committee which is opposing the project as they want to avoid anyone from preventing development in this area as this project will benefit local communities and address the road infrastructure backlog,” said MEC Williams.
About the N2 Wild Coast Toll Road project
The N2 Wild Coast Toll Road project entails a 410km stretch of road from East London to the Mtamvuna River on the border of Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. While the project has been underway since 2011, construction on the major greenfield portion of the route between Port St Johns and Port Edward only started in 2016.
The project is endorsed by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) as a catalyst for economic development in the region. It is a major project for the province and forms part of the government’s 18 Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPS). The N2WCTR is SIP3, South-Eastern node and Corridor Development, with the key purpose being to serve as a catalyst to uplift economic growth in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
The project also consists of two mega-bridges, at Msikaba and Mtentu. There are also seven additional major river bridges and several interchange bridges that form part of the project.
The socio-economic impact of the N2WCTR Project offers a significant economic injection for local communities. The minimum 30% expenditure earmarked for targeted enterprise subcontractors and suppliers will result in over R4 billion flowing to SMMEs, the majority of which will be from the O.R. Tambo and Alfred Nzo district municipalities.
There is significant progress on the construction of the Msikaba Bridge on both the north and south banks. Construction of the Msikaba South pylon is currently at the 79% mark, at 80.5 meters (out of a total height of 126.7 meters), while the North bank is at the 70% mark, at 65.7 meters. Both the North and South bank pylons have exceeded the halfway mark. The jacking of the tower cranes on both banks is anticipated to be completed within November.
Construction of the Mtentu Bridge suffered years of delays following the project stoppage in 2018. The contract was subsequently retendered. On 1 November 2022, SANRAL awarded the contract for the construction of the Mtentu Bridge, valued at R4.05 billion, to the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) and MECSA Construction joint venture (CCCC MECSA JV). The project is anticipated to be completed within a 54-month period, including a four-month ramp-up period. The commencement of the four-month ramp-up period started on 5 April 2023 and was completed on 4 August 2023. The expected completion date is at the end of 2027.