The time to bolster government’s economic transformation priorities is now, according to the CEO of the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), Skhumbuzo Macozoma. He expressed this view at the announcement of the appointment on Sunday of a transformation manager for Sanral. Macozoma explained that this is a new position which has been set up to fundamentally direct spending towards emerging black-owned enterprises. Ismail Essa‘s appointment as Sanral transformation manager will take effect from April 1, 2017. He will report directly to Macozoma. “One of Mr Essa’s immediate priorities will be to ensure subsector transformation across the supply value chain we deal with. This will include, among others, construction work, maintenance, property and operations, professional services and non-core services,” said Macozoma. “Secondly, he has been tasked with ensuring that Sanral creates an enabling environment for small contractors, particularly black-owned ones, to access opportunities through procurement.” Essa is a qualified civil engineer with 36 years’ experience within the roads and civil engineering sector. Essa believes his past experience will be instrumental in his new role. He said he understands private sector operations and the need to create inclusive opportunities towards the transformation of the economy. “The industry has been transforming slowly. Our intent now is to give renewed impetus to the progress thus far made. Sanral service providers need to reflect the demographics of the country. It is now my job to reduce dominance by big contractors as this is a major barrier for small and new contractors and consultants in accessing opportunities offered by Sanral,” explained Essa. “The transformation is not limited to contractors and consultants, no doubt the largest group of service providers, but all our suppliers will be affected by our transformation policies. At an appropriate time we will have a stakeholder engagement in the form of a conference with all our suppliers.” Sanral’s design and construction manager in the Northern Region, Willem van der Merwe, will be acting regional manager for the Northern Region until the position of regional manager has been filled.