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Limpopo Business 2021-22

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The 2021/22 edition of Limpopo Business is the 13th issue of this highly successful publication that, since its launch in 2007, has established itself as the premier business and investment guide for the Limpopo Province. Limpopo has been attracting significant investments in the mining sector in recent years and with commodity prices of certain minerals rising in response to demand in the renewable energy and automotive sector, mining houses are well-positioned to expand production even further. This journal carries messages of welcome to investors from the province’s Premier and the MEC for Economic Development, Environment and Tourism. In addition to the regular articles providing insight into each of the key economic sectors of the province, there is special feature on plans to catalyse investment and growth in the province through measures such as industrial parks and the Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone in the province’s far north, which is attracting billions of dollars in investment. News related to mining, agriculture, tourism, construction and property, water, education and development finance is carried in overviews of the main economic sectors.

INTERVIEW Putting the

INTERVIEW Putting the people first in the provision of roads The MEC for the Limpopo Department of Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure, Namane Dickson Masemola, outlines how roads backlog and the challenges of flooding are being tackled. Namane Dickson Masemola, MEC for Department of Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure MEC Masemola is the member of Executive Council responsible for Limpopo Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure. The MEC appoints the Board of Directors of Roads Agency Limpopo, exercising that authority on behalf of the shareholder, the Limpopo Provincial Government. He has the oversight function of the board in line with corporate governance principles and given his experience in managing State- Owned Companies such as the MINTEK, South Africa’s national mineral research organisation and one of the world’s leading technology organisations specialising in mineral processing, which he previously served as Board Chairperson. What are the particular challenges for road provision and maintenance in Limpopo? As a province located in the most northern part of the country bordering three countries, we are strategically a gateway to SADC and that comes with a huge responsibility, economically and otherwise. The logistics and freight sectors, as well as tourism, mining and agriculture, demand that the provincial roads network is of a high standard and durability. Central to the existing challenges is the enormous backlog for roads upgrading. About 31% of the provincial roads are tarred and about 69% still require an upgrade from gravel to tar. This poses a challenge in terms of the need to provide new roads while the demand and pressure from communities mounts. The Limpopo Department of Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure, together with our entity RAL, is working closely with technical experts and engineers to look at innovative engineering methods of providing service delivery, given the financial constraints. The heavy rainfall and subsequent floods in early 2021 presented a further burden by causing major damage, hence the need for rebuilding collapsed bridges, patching of potholes and rehabilitation of many roads. The estimated cost for these repairs amounts to approximately R538-million. A flagship project demonstrates how government efforts in collaboration with the private sector (the mining companies) have managed to secure an amount of R80-million towards the construction of the new bridge at Ga-Malekana, Steelbridge. Where is the demand for new and improved roads coming from? It originates from the communities. These demands are processed through municipalities, who also play a major community-interface role, especially in the forecasting phase through Integrated Development Planning (IDP). Communities engage with the Department through letters to the head office, visits to District Offices and Cost Centres which are their closest service points that would maintain the existing gravel roads for them to remain drivable and patch the potholes. What are the key priorities for roads in relation to the transportation of goods in Limpopo? The key priorities for transportation depend on sectors such as mining, tourism and agriculture. According to a study conducted

INTERVIEW Credit: RAL by the World Bank in 2018, approximately 75% of freight in South Africa is transported by road. As the Department and RAL we remain committed to do our best in the construction and maintenance of roads. In implementing our mandate the people of Limpopo have the lion’s share of our attention in driving the direction of the programme. Do projects exist for villagers to be involved in the maintenance of roads? The Department and RAL have an extensive strategic stakeholder programme whose tenets are to partner with communities where projects are active. While the work that we do is fairly specialised, requiring professional expertise, there are opportunities for community members to participate in road infrastructure projects and acquire skills. We adopt a labour-intensive approach aimed at involving communities within the areas where roads are implemented and maintained, so that while contractors may employ machinery for certain work there are parts of the work that are done by labourers and that is where locals are roped in. The Department has about 22 household contractors who form part of the roads repairs and routine maintenance that is done through the recruitment of these members of the communities. We plan to be more aggressive on this front. We will soon be launching the “Letšema Ditselng” programme to drive further involvement of communities in fixing and maintaining roads, working together with their government. In upgrading projects 10% of the labourers consist of local women, youth and people with disabilities. From all maintenance projects, 5% is set aside for the empowerment of local labourers. In 2019/20 RAL created a total of 4 016 new job opportunities in various communities where its projects were implemented. Skill development is key to the work we do. In 2019/20 about 293 labourers were trained in various constructionrelated courses. Please describe efforts to promote SMMEs in the road sector. In all upgrading projects from gravel to tar, 30% of the total value for each tender is set aside for the empowerment of local Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs). The promotion of SMMEs is central to the Limpopo Provincial Government’s strategy for addressing the imbalances of the past and creating employment and income generation. The Department and RAL run various SMME Empowerment Programmes for capacitating and growing small businesses. ■

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