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Sanral to resume road tenders under interim procurement policy

29th November 2023

By: Tasneem Bulbulia

Senior Contributing Editor Online

     

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The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) will on November 29 resume procurement for road construction projects, with 86 tenders to be advertised.

CEO Reginald Demana has announced that the roads agency is resuming business after tenders worth billions of rands were stalled owing to a legal impasse between Sanral and some construction companies over the entity’s preferential procurement policy (PPP).

Demana informs that, as part of the retender process, Sanral has reprioritised some of the less complex previously advertised tenders related to consulting engineer appointments and contractor appointments for asset preservation projects.

These will be subjected to a shortened retender period to enable their closing by December 14, thereby enabling Sanral to begin with tender evaluations during the December period so as to get projects back on track as fast as possible.

“We are making good on our promise to the road construction industry and the South African public that we would move as fast as possible to overcome the legal challenges to our PPP and get the industry back on track,” says Demana.

The readvertisement of tenders is the first step toward getting the road construction industry back to normal after all Sanral tenders were cancelled following the board’s withdrawal of the PPP it adopted in May.

The board announced on October 24 that it had withdrawn the PPP after several construction companies launched legal challenges against the policy.

In the interest of avoiding protracted legal battles – which could easily derail Sanral from fulfilling its core mandate of building and maintaining national roads – and ensuring that the construction industry continues to work, the board decided to withdraw the policy while at the same time committing the roads agency to move speedily to consult interested and affected parties on a proposed interim PPP, the entity explains.

It also points out that following the Constitutional Court ruling of February 16, 2022, the determination of a procurement policy was firmly placed within the domain of the individual organs of State. It avers that this gave rise to Sanral coming up with the procurement policy that became the subject of court challenges.

Sanral reiterates that the withdrawal of the policy was not a sign of capitulation.

“It was a pragmatic decision taken to ensure that the procurement of goods and services and service delivery are not interrupted,” the entity emphasises.

Following the withdrawal of its PPP, Sanral says it conducted a series of countrywide public consultation sessions during which numerous verbal and written submissions were made to the roads agency to consider in the formulation of its interim PPP.

After considering the inputs of interested and affected parties during the public consultation process which ended on November 21, the board on November 28 adopted the interim policy.

“The Sanral board is satisfied that it has taken into account the necessary considerations for the adoption of the interim PPP, with meaningful, targeted and deliberate consultations with interested and affected parties across the country.

“We have heard the cries for more aggressive transformation from black business and noted the objections and push-back from other fronts. We remain steadfast in our resolve to ramp up wealth-creation for black contractors, while at the same time being mindful of the importance of working with the big construction companies as we collectively develop South Africa’s economy,” says Demana.

Sanral started with the public consultation roadshows, which included both contact and virtual sessions, in the Western Cape and Northern Cape on October 31. It then hosted consultations in the Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West and concluded in Gauteng on November 17, with written comments on the draft interim policy extended to November 21.

The public consultations were well attended and all oral input, as well as the 162 written comments received, were considered in determining the way forward, to enable Sanral to move forward on the much-needed road infrastructure projects across the country, the entity avers.

The advertising and adjudication of tenders will continue while Sanral seeks to finalise a new PPP, which would require further consultation with the industry.

Meanwhile, Sanral says it has taken note of the Public Procurement Bill deliberations currently unfolding before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance.

“The National Treasury revisions and submissions on the Bill, in particular the measures through which an organ of State can provide for preference, resonate with Sanral. These measures include setting aside specific contracts for preferred groups, applying a points system to provide for preference, using sub-contracting as a condition of tender, applying thresholds for local production and content, and making set-asides mandatory.

"Some of these elements were contained in our contested procurement policy. We hope the Bill will soon be finalised and we will all have a clear understanding of the broader framework within which we must procure,” says Demana. 

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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