The SA National Road Agency (Sanral), which spent less than half of its government grant over the past two years, has put in place procurement processes that the industry says will cause further delays, increase costs, and raise the risk that its projects will go awry.
Sanral, once a shining example of a professional public sector company, has failed to perform since 2019, leaving vast amounts of its budget unspent. Since 2019, it has underspent by R24bn on non-toll national roads, for which it gets a government grant. The figure does not include underspending over 2021/22, for which financial results are not yet public.
The new procurement rules arose from a policy change made by the board of directors and revolve around the role that consulting engineers play in the procurement and supervision of construction projects. The board has instructed management that they may no longer use the same consulting engineer to design the technical specifications of a project and evaluate the technical bids.