Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula says the construction of the R375-million Karino Interchange project has provided positive economic benefits for the Mbombela communities, particularly for small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs).
Addressing the official opening of the the South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited’s (SANRAL) Karino Interchange project on the N4 in Mbombela, Mpumalanga Province, the Minister said at least 44 SMMEs were given opportunities to participate in the infrastructure development project.
The SMMEs were also given extensive training, development and mentoring, which equips them with the tools and knowledge, to access bigger and better opportunities further down the line.
A total of R116.24 million was spent on 44 local subcontractors, while R22.34 million went to local labour, which included 236 males, 42 females, 143 youth and one person living with a disability.
The interchange provides a link between Mbombela and Kanyamazane and provides a direct link from the R514 route to the N4 National Road. The R514 also provides access to the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport.
At least seven of SMMEs on the road construction projects were driven by young people who were supplying plant hire equipment.
“It is encouraging to see the strides these SMMEs have made through this project. We are also impressed by their strategies that ensure that they add the right kind of value to government efforts to improve the lives of the people.
“SANRAL commits to subcontracting at least 30% to SMMEs in all its projects. In the case of this project, this target was vastly exceeded, with 46.6% of the contract value going to local SMMEs. This is an achievement we must encourage,” Mbalula said on Friday.
SANRAL has committed to ensure that at least 6% of the contract value is spent on local labour. This project has achieved 9% or R22.34 million spend on local labour.
“This new Karino Interchange has transformed the old intersection into a grade-separated interchange, with on and off-ramps and a bridge that will separate cross-traffic from through-traffic and thus ease traffic flow at this busy intersection.
“The previous T-junction intersection was under pressure to handle the high traffic volumes experienced on both the N4 and the R538, particularly during peak hours. This also made it difficult for vehicles to join the N4 at night, in misty conditions and rainfall, as the ability of motorists to correctly estimate the distance of oncoming traffic was compromised,” the Minister said.
He said the growth in traffic volumes due to high commuter traffic and the safety record at this intersection, an engineering decision was taken to upgrade it to a grade separated interchange.
“The N4 Toll Route is the catalyst for trade and investment between three South African land-locked provinces of Gauteng, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga as well as neighbouring countries.
“These three Provinces are rich in natural resources, and the corridor links them directly to international markets through the Maputo Port. The N4 toll route also links the City of Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality to the Port through the N12,” Mbalula said.
The Minister said the N4 toll route is a favourite among transporters because of its world-class road infrastructure, which makes it reliable, convenient, and safe.
The construction of the Karino Interchange started in November 2019, and has just been completed, at a cost of R375 million.
“The completion of this project on time and within budget, demonstrates the immense value of partnerships between government, the private sector and local communities. Our commitment to create sustainable livelihoods for our communities through investments in infrastructure have never been greater,” the Minister said. – SAnews.gov.za