Roads agency SANRAL and earthmoving and equipment manufacturer, Bell Equipment, have joined efforts to ensure easier access for developing black women-, youth-, disabled- and military veteran-owned businesses in the road construction industry.
Earlier this month, Bell handed over equipment to an emerging Gauteng construction company, Boitshoko Road Surfacing and Civil Works. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the equipment manufacturer and SANRAL in July was the catalyst to the agreement between Bell and Boitshoko for the provision of the equipment they required and which was tailored to their needs.
The partnership aims to give contractors access to earthmoving machinery which will enable black business owners a fair chance to compete in major construction projects. In an attempt to level the playing ground, the agreement allows black-owned contractors various resource options such as financing facilities, renting and leasing opportunities.
“SANRAL and Bell noticed a major entry barrier for emerging businesses in the construction industry where one of the biggest challenges contractors face is access to funding: the correct people with the right expertise and sophisticated construction equipment. This agreement will expose CIDB contractors not only to machinery but to finance, training and maintenance services,” says SANRAL’s Transformation Manager, Ismail Essa.
Reflecting on what this agreement means for his emerging business, Managing Director of Boitshoko, Dr N Phillip Makume says: “When my father, Albert Makume, started this company 24 years ago, he did so courageously even though it was a struggle to own these important tools of our trade. With this new relationship and with Bell and SANRAL’s support, we feel blessed to now have the ability to compete meaningfully in this challenging road construction industry.”
Boitshoko Road Surfacing and Civil Works is a 100% black owned CIDB grade 8 CEPE road rehabilitation, maintenance and construction company based in Mafikeng. It has created around 20 000 job opportunities to date and employs 145 permanent staff.
“This equipment handover is a great example of how government and business can work together to build a better South Africa for all. For us, it goes beyond manufacturing and selling machinery but rather, it’s about building great relationships that respond to the industry’s need for transformation,” says Duncan Mashika, Managing Director of Bell Equipment Sales Africa.
In recent times small businesses in the construction industry have found themselves under immense pressure due to the limited amount of work which they can tender for. In line with its Horizon 2030 strategy and the national development plan, SANRAL is engaging various stakeholders to find ways and means to empower SMMEs to grow into larger industry players.
“Transformation goes beyond policy, it requires the active mobilisation of all sectors of our economy to enable SMMEs to participate more meaningfully in major construction projects. The private sector plays a pivotal role in this process and we are proud of the partnership we have entered into with one of the continent’s largest suppliers of construction equipment. This will have a colossal impact in breaking down the barriers to entry for smaller business owners,” says Essa.