Concrete roads 3

Road construction. Stock image.

A R120 million community development training programme has kicked off in anticipation of the construction of the N2 Wild Coast Toll Road.

The programme has been undertaken by the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) and aims to support local economic development in the OR Tambo and Alfred Nzo district municipalities in the Eastern Cape.

In addition to investing in the community, Sanral will also focus on the development of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in the construction industry. These SMMEs will be provided with local labour courtesy of the programme, Sanral’s Gcobani Socenywa said.

SMME training programmes

The SMME training programmes will take place in Mbizana, Lusikisiki and Port St. Johns. Thirty-one SMME owners will be selected to receive training, mentorship and development from three training service providers.

They will be provided with National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level 3, 4 and 5 training, a full learnership, and a selective training to CIDB grading 3-6 local SMME’s.

Local skills development

Three-hundred-and-thirty other workers will also receive training to help create a local skilled and semi-skilled labour force for the toll road construction.

Socenywa said the programme’s ultimate goal will ensure that SMME’s benefit and participate in the upcoming Mtentu and Msikaba bridge project, the new greenfields section, and legacy projects including road maintenance of the N2 Wild Coast Toll Road.

Business owners will be also responsible for upgrading and constructing community access roads in Ingquza Hill Local Municipality, Mbizana Local Municipality and Port St. Johns Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape. This exercise will comprise part of their training.

Sanral said its decision to invest in local development is in order to create sustainable, capable and empowered road construction SMMEs and start-ups.

Eventually, Socenywa said SMMEs and start-ups will be responsible for building their own storm water drainage systems, upgrading roads from gravel to surface standards, and constructing sidewalks and concrete pavement works.

Employment to rise

In these areas, almost 85% of the youth are unemployed. Locals in the area are enthusiastic that the new programme and toll construction will boost tourism and job creation.

Wandile Mngeni from Dubana Administrative Area outside Lusikisiki believes the new toll project is a “great project for the community”, and also said there will be “a lot of job creation in this area with this project”.

According to Sivuyile Xuku, enterprise manager at Port St Johns Local Municipality, the project will “seek to assist and empower our people to alleviate poverty and create employment.”

He added that many people will benefit from the project and also believes it will boost the local tourism economy.