The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) is looking for a new contractor to work on the N2 upgrade in KwaZulu-Natal.

The announcement comes after Sanral was forced to terminate its contract with the contractor originally assigned to do the job because they failed to source materials as specified in the agreement and ultimately filed for business rescue which saw the firm being sequestrated.

Ridhwaan Mahomed, Sanral Eastern Region project manager, says the agency’s primary purpose is to provide a safe and efficient national road network for the benefit of all the people.

“In order for us to ensure that a reliable and resilient road has been constructed, quality control is of utmost importance,” he notes.

“Sanral has to ensure that all construction activities are in compliance with the specifications as set out in the contract to ensure that construction is undertaken to the highest standards. The contract documents also specify, amongst others, the minimum test results required to be achieved from various quality tests undertaken by an accredited laboratory,” he explains.

Sub-par materials

Mahomed adds that the constructed pavement layer using the material from local material suppliers being used on the N2 project did not meet the required specifications.

“There are three probable reasons why the pavement layer failed. Firstly, the supplier may have supplied incorrect material; secondly the contractor could have contaminated the material while processing and placing it on site; and thirdly, the material could have broken down during compaction of the layer.”

He says Sanral attempted to assist the contractor with a revised pavement design so as to limit the contractor’s additional costs for removing and replacing the material.

Business rescue

However, the agency was made aware towards the latter part of 2017 that the contractor was placed under business rescue.

The original appointment value of the contract was R57.4 million. Sanral only pays service providers for acceptable completed work. According to Sanral the contractor had only completed 27% of the original contracted work and was only paid for that amount of work.

Mahomed says when the contractor subsequently faced liquidation, a termination letter was sent.

New tender process

“We are currently busy with a new tender process. The feedback received from the National Treasury is that we have to re-tender and cannot appoint the tenderer with the second highest points, which was Sanral’s initial recommendation as an attempt to expedite the process.

“We have to re-tender the entire contract and hopefully we will have a new contractor on site by September.

“Meanwhile we humbly request all motorists to bear with us as we are trying our utmost best to resolve the situation,” he concludes.