Enhancing socio-economic development in Limpopo

Roads Agency Limpopo provides road infrastructure services to the people of Limpopo.

Credit: RAL

Roads Agency Limpopo (RAL) is a provincial road infrastructure service-delivery entity mandated to build and maintain the Limpopo provincial road network.

The mandate is aligned with the province’s economic development plan to facilitate access to various facilities that promote socio-economic development. Despite stringent budgetary constraints, the Agency continues to deliver on its mandate for the benefit of the province based on an annual financial allocation used to build and maintain the Limpopo road network through equitable shares (EQs) and the Provincial Roads Management Grant (PRMG).

Given the current demand for quality road infrastructure that far exceeds the available resources in the province, the Agency has managed to channel its limited resources towards supporting the Limpopo province’s key strategic economic pillars, namely the mining, agriculture and tourism sectors.

Leveraging on these three pillars enables the Agency to be an active catalyst for the province’s economic growth and social development. RAL has recently adopted the strategic partnerships approach which seeks to augment the annual fiscus to meet the demand for quality roads. This is in recognition of the entity’s view that building a thriving economy requires concerted efforts from various stakeholders. With the strategic partnership approach, RAL engages the private sector to solicit funds to augment the entity’s annual budget allocation. Through this strategic approach, the entity has over the years raised more than R700-million in funding towards building and expanding Limpopo’s roads network.

Strategic partnerships in the Mining Sector

RAL has several lucrative partnerships within the mining sector, including with Exxaro Resources, which dates back to 2015. The partnership between RAL and Exxaro resulted in the upgrading of road D2001 in the Waterberg District from gravel to tar over a stretch of 9.56 km at an estimated cost of R100-million, which cost was 100% met by Exxaro.

In addition, Exxaro Resources sponsored the upgrading of several roads connecting Ga-Seleka villages to the commercial centre of Lephalale, which was identified as an important project through the Integrated Development Plan of the Lephalale Local Municipality.

Another notable stride made in the strategic partnerships approach was the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between RAL and eight mining companies operating in the Sekhukhune District for the rehabilitation and building of the new Steelpoort Bridge. The partners believe that the bridge will bring relief to the surrounding communities by facilitating easy movement between Jane Furse, Burgersfort and the mines in and around Steelpoort, among other adjacent areas. A sum of over R80-million was raised to fund the project. Mining companies involved in the project included Rakhoma Mining Resources, Dwarsrivier Chrome Mine, Glencore, Rustenburg Platinum, Samancor Chrome, Booysendal Platinum, Tjate Platinum and Two Rivers Platinum.

Strategic partnerships in the Agricultural Sector

Farming plays a pivotal role in the province’s economy. Farm produce from the province is among the best in the country exported to the rest of the world. Some of the success stories in the agricultural sector were born out of the RAL-ZZ2 partnership, which since 2016 has included road maintenance works on the R521 Pondrift (border post) and Alldays roads. ZZ2 also assisted RAL in maintaining several sections of other strategic and mostly gravel roads in the province including P135/1 (Musina to Pafuri), D1942 (Malaladrift) and D617, which passes through Houtbosdorp from Mooketsi Farm. Most recently, the D2531 near Cloudslands Farm was fixed after it collapsed due to flooding.

In addition, as part of RAL’s strategic road infrastructure intervention, more partnerships will be sought to solicit resources for the maintenance of roads that link to other agricultural produce. As it stands in many places, instead of a truck taking 30 minutes to travel from a farm to the tarred road, it takes more than an hour. This is a situation which calls for all roads related to economic activity to be maintained.

Strategic approach in the Tourism Sector

Limpopo is host to Mapungubwe, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and two renowned national parks, Marakele National Park and Kruger National Park. The province is also among the most-visited areas in the country due to its scenic nature, which contributes to its uncontested performance statistics in tourism, which is one of its key pillars in economic growth. A

ccordingly, strategic roads leading to critical tourism hotspots need to be of good quality to encourage return visits among tourists. For this reason, RAL continues to engage the tourism sector to find synergies in enhancing access to the sector, in particular, its facilities, with ease.

Strategic Partnership Opportunities

Roads play a major role in connecting all sectors of the economy and enhancing business in the province. RAL endeavours to partner with the various sectors of the economy for improved road infrastructure development. These partnerships are important enablers of quality roads construction through the interface between the private sector and government towards economic development of the province.

For more information, visit www.ral.co.za