The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) has chosen Ismail Essa as Sanral’s transformation manager effective from April 1 to report directly to the CEO, the state-owned company said on Sunday.
“The moment to strengthen government’s economic change priorities is at this instant. One of Mr Essa’s pressing priorities will be to make sure sub-sector transformation athwart the supply value chain we handle,” Sanral CEO Skhumbuzo Macozoma said in a statement.
“This will comprise, among others, construction work, maintenance, property and operations, professional services, and non-core services. Secondly, he has been given the duty of making certain that Sanral forms an enabling environment for small contractors, especially black-owned ones, to access opportunities through procurement,” he said.
Macozoma said the new task had been put in place to “essentially direct spending towards budding black-owned enterprises”. Essa, a qualified civil engineer, was an industry “heavyweight” with 36 years know-how within the roads and civil engineering sector.
Supported by 21 years experience as a contractor with a key listed company in South Africa, Essa initially joined Sanral in 2001 as a senior project manager. Within two years, he was promoted to regional manager for the Northern Region, a responsibility he had held for the past 14 years.
Reacting to his appointment, Essa said he beliefs his past experience would be helpful in this new responsibility. He comprehends private sector operations and the necessity to generate inclusive opportunities towards transformation of the economy.
“The industry has been changing slowly; our intent now is to give improved momentum to the advancement made so far. Sanral service providers must reflect the demographics of the nation. It is now my job to lessen dominance by big contractors as this is a key obstacle for small and new suppliers and consultants in accessing opportunities presented by Sanral,” Essa said.
“The transformation is not restricted to contractors and consultants, no doubt the major group of service providers, but all our contractors will be affected by our change policies. At a suitable time we will have a stakeholder engagement in the form of a forum with all our suppliers,” he said.
Sanral’s design and construction manager in the Northern Region Willem van der Merwe would be interim regional manager for the northern region until the position had been filled.