Saice, Cesa back Sanral’s decision to withdraw its preferential procurement policy

26th October 2023 By: Darren Parker - Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online

The South African Institution of Civil Engineering (Saice) and Consulting Engineers South Africa (Cesa) have voiced their support for the decision by the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) to withdraw its proposed preferential procurement policy.

“We commend both the industry's steadfastness on this issue and Sanral's demonstration of prudence in the best interests of the nation,” Saice said in a statement on October 26.

“We believe this move reflects a commitment to advancing our nation's infrastructure development endeavours. It is imperative that we collectively strive for progress in this sector, as it directly correlates with reducing unemployment and enabling the essential growth of our economy,” Cesa CEO Chris Campbell added.

He added that Cesa, which had more than 600 member firms employing a total of 17 000 staff across the country, was confident that other public entities, which had followed a similar path in altering bid criteria, would consider this development and follow suit.

As representatives of about 15 000 members in the civil engineering community, Saice said it recognised the substantial efforts needed to drive economic recovery in South Africa and therefore strongly supported the decision.

“The negative impact of the proposed preferential procurement policy on the civil engineering industry, the economy, and the South African population cannot be overstated,” the institution said.

Campbell noted that the transformational journey pursued by all stakeholders aligned with the principles outlined in the broad-based black economic empowerment legislation and the various sector codes.

“It is crucial that we view this legislation in its entirety, rather than focusing solely on ownership, as this broader perspective will help to mitigate issues such as fronting and ensure widespread benefits for all stakeholders,” he said.

Further, Sanral has expressed its commitment to initiate an inclusive engagement process involving the construction industry and all relevant stakeholders to address critical transformational imperatives within the sector.

“We are dedicated to collaborate with Sanral and the industry to find mutually beneficial solutions. We welcome any opportunity for engagement with [our] representatives who can support in the strategic redevelopment of the final policy,” Saice said.

Campbell added that Cesa would remain committed to working collaboratively with Sanral and other industry partners to achieve a thriving and inclusive infrastructure landscape in South Africa.