The construction board has dismissed concerns of the construction industry after canceling R17.5 billion

South Africa’s National Roads Agency (Sunral), chaired by Themba Mambi, this week rejected concerns from the construction and civil engineering industries about the cancellation of tenders for the construction of about R17.5 billion major roads.

In a strong statement issued Thursday, Sunral described some of the comments made by industry leaders as “unrealistic” and “shocking”, noting that it would “hold a media briefing on Monday (May 23) to straighten out the record.”

Read: Sunral Roy cancels R17.47 billion in tender

Sunral’s latest statement follows news of the cancellation of Moneyweb’s tender on Wednesday, which covers some of the country’s most significant road infrastructure developments, such as the R3.4 billion Mtentu River Bridge project (Eastern Cape) and R4.3 billion. Tender for overhaul of Durban’s EB Clotte Interchange.

In its initial response to Moneyweb, the company stated that the tenders were canceled due to “a material irregularity in the tender process where a resolution passed by the Board in January 2020 did not comply with the evaluation of the said tenders”.

The CEOs of several construction groups, including Concor, WBHO and Raubex, as well as the CEO of the SA Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors, were among those who expressed concern about the impact of the cancellation on the industry.

Ignorance about sanral decision making

In the last two days, there have been several reports in the media about the cancellation of Sanral tenders worth R17.473 billion. Sanral said in a statement on Thursday that it was “immediately clear” to any reasonable thinker that the decision would not be taken lightly.

“There were a lot of comments in these media reports, some of which showed ignorance about the decision to purchase Sunrale.”

“Some of these comments suggest that there are bidders who want to intimidate Sunral into awarding their tenders where it should not be,” the company added.

Commenting further on the matter, Mhambi said: “Some of these comments have come from industry leaders in the construction sector who, it seems, expect the Sanral Board to ignore board violations and violations of procurement policy and procedures.”

Explain why the tender was canceled. Listen to Sunral’s spokesperson Bhusi Mona (or read the transcript):

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula will also address a media briefing of the Sanral Board on Monday.

“It’s important that we take the country and our stakeholders into confidence about these issues and how our work is in the best interests of the general public,” said Mahambi.

Sanral said the media briefing would focus on:

  • Non-compliance and violation of its resolution which leads to a material irregularity in the tendering process.
  • The involvement of external design consultants in the evaluation of tenders and therefore the arrogance of Sanral’s ability to determine qualified bidders to external individuals constitutes a material conflict of interest.
  • Reducing and canceling sub-contracting requirements without board approval, eliminating black economic empowerment firms at the sub-contracting level and losing more than R2 billion to these firms.
  • The past three years have been marked by contract allocations to show Sanral’s support for the industry, but it also depicts monopolies that are “at the center of misinformation about the cancellation of these tenders”.
  • Recommend entities that should have been disqualified.
  • Other errors in the tendering process.

Nandumiso Lehutso is a moneyweb intern.

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