Home » From Blueprint to Reality: Enza Civils’ Crucial Role in Shaping SA’s Infrastructure Future

From Blueprint to Reality: Enza Civils’ Crucial Role in Shaping SA’s Infrastructure Future

by Tia

Enza Civils, a division of Enza Construction, is strategically positioning itself to play a pivotal role in addressing South Africa’s pressing infrastructure needs in the water, transport, and energy sectors. As the country grapples with significant infrastructure challenges, Enza Civils stands at the forefront, ready to provide essential solutions. Coen Naicker, Divisional Director at Enza Construction, along with Civils Contracts Directors Riaz Cassoojee, Ian Ferguson, and new team member John Hopewell, shared key insights into the company’s future, outlining an optimistic long-term outlook. Together, they provided a comprehensive overview of the civil engineering industry and Enza Civils’ strategic direction, highlighting the company’s readiness to tackle the nation’s infrastructure demands.

In the recent budget announcement, South African Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana committed R943.8 billion to public infrastructure over the next three years. This investment is poised to rejuvenate and expand the nation’s infrastructure, with allocations of R486.1 billion from state-owned enterprises, R224.8 billion from provincial and national governments, and R213.8 billion from municipalities. Key focus areas include energy, water and sanitation, transport, digital infrastructure, human settlements, and agriculture. The government’s strategy includes a transformative approach to infrastructure financing and delivery, emphasising public-private partnerships (PPP) and innovative institutional frameworks to attract private investment. A consolidated entity will streamline the financing, preparation, and execution of large projects, collaborating directly with private financial institutions and various governmental bodies.

Building More Than Just Roads – Building a Future

Founded with a mission to specialise in bulk earthworks, roadworks, and the installation of essential services such as water and sewerage, Enza Civils has spearheaded numerous large-scale infrastructure projects across South Africa. Under the leadership of Coen Naicker, who joined Enza in 2016, the division has experienced significant growth and diversification, positioning itself as a key player in the industry.

“South Africa’s infrastructure, energy and water challenges are well-documented,” says Coen. “There is quite a lot of concern in the industry about whether or not, as an industry in South Africa, we have the resources and capacity to execute the work that’s coming and the work that is already out there.”

Coen’s deep understanding of these challenges has guided Enza Civils to consistently surpass expectations, ensuring the company is ready to address the nation’s changing infrastructure demands. His strategic vision and dedication to quality have played a crucial role in the division’s accomplishments, cementing Enza Civils’ reputation as a reliable partner in South Africa’s development efforts.

Tackling Water Challenges
Starting with the water challenges in South Africa, Coen discussed the ambitious Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP), which involves the construction of the Polihali dam and the connecting tunnel to the Katse dam.

“The LHWP is a monumental endeavour, aiming to create a reservoir on the Senqu and Khubelu rivers to bolster South Africa’s water supply from the Katse Dam to the Integrated Vaal River System, serving Gauteng and its neighbouring regions,” he explains. “Given Lesotho’s limited resources for such a project, much of the needed expertise and materials must be sourced from South Africa and abroad, including Europe and China.”

As part of the LHWP, numerous bridges are being constructed to maintain road access, particularly where existing low-level bridges will be submerged once the Polihali Dam is operational. Among these, the Senqu Bridge project stands out, stretching 825 meters in length and reaching a height of 90 meters. Awarded in August 2022, the construction contract for this bridge was granted to the WRES joint venture (JV), consisting of Webuild S.p.A, a prominent Italian construction firm, in collaboration with South Africa’s Raubex Construction, Lesotho’s Sigma Construction, and Enza Construction.

Roads and Infrastructure DevelopmentThe imperative of maintaining and enhancing South Africa’s road network is widely recognised, with SANRAL embarking on numerous projects, including the upgrade of the N2 / N3 freeways in KZN. While some projects are already in progress, others are yet to be put out for tender.

In October 2016, seven construction sector companies entered into an agreement called the Voluntary Rebuilding Programme (VRP) to drive transformation in the industry. This initiative entails mentoring and nurturing smaller contractors while contributing to a construction fund for socio-economic development, as part of an industry settlement agreement with the government.

Under the VRP, Raubex committed to mentoring two partners, one of which was Enza Civils, with the objective of helping them reach 25% of Raubex’s South African turnover.

Coen elaborates on the collaboration with Raubex, stating, “Through our partnership, we have successfully completed three road rehabilitation projects in Kimberley, the Bakwena Platinum Corridor Upgrade, which added 32km of carriageway, and the widening of the N4 bridge over the Crocodile River to accommodate a dual carriageway. Additionally, we undertook a 30km partial upgrade of the R23 national road near Standerton in Mpumalanga. This included the construction of 4km of dual carriageway, a pedestrian crossing, traffic circles, and the completion of six bridges and sections of the R23 highway, with the project being delivered on 26 April 2023.”

Riaz, Contracts Director for the project, notes, “Upon commencing work in 2021, we were advised that this project might face challenges due to community concerns. However, SANRAL’s protocol mandated the initial three months of the contract to engage with the community and establish liaison structures. We prioritised transparency and local resourcing wherever feasible, fostering a positive working relationship with the community.”

Future Transportation Projects

Looking ahead, Enza Civils is poised to expand its footprint in the transportation sector. John Hopewell highlights the potential opportunities: “Over the next two to three years, we are considering re-entering the road space, depending on SANRAL’s awarding and releasing of tenders. We see huge opportunities in upcoming road projects issued by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport.”

Additionally, Enza Civils is exploring partnerships for large contracts emerging from TRANSNET’s rail infrastructure projects and the Durban Ports Authority.

Large-Scale Construction in the Energy Sector

Riaz explains, “Among our significant energy-related endeavours is the second phase construction of the Combustion Waste Facility at Kusile Power Station, a venture secured through a joint venture with Grinaker LTA.”

“The facility spans over 1,080,900 square meters and comprises an HDPE-lined storage area for ash residue from the coal-fired boilers. Our contract encompasses the construction of access roads, drainage systems for both contaminated and clean water, as well as pollution control measures such as dams and drains, in addition to the storage dam.”

Renewable Energy Ventures

Through its partnership with Tractionel Enterprise, Enza Civils has entered the renewable energy space. Their collaboration is currently focused on the Ummbila Emoyeni Renewable Energy Project in Mpumalanga. Tractionel serves as the EPC contractor for grid connection, while Enza Civils takes charge of civil and building work for the main transmission station.

Owned by Seriti Green, Ummbila Emoyeni represents a commitment to sustainable wind turbine and solar energy solutions. Enza Civils is poised to solidify its position as Seriti Green’s preferred contractor for future projects, marking a significant step toward a greener, more sustainable future.

Growing Capability and Expertise
Looking ahead, Enza is strategically focusing on various areas of business development, particularly in the energy sector where Tractionel Enterprise plays a leading role. By leveraging Enza Civils’ expertise in engineering and construction, the company aims to excel in energy-related projects. Additionally, Enza is committed to enhancing its presence in the water infrastructure sector. The transportation sector remains another key focus, with a specific emphasis on road and rail projects.

Coen emphasises the value of the Voluntary Rebuilding Programme (VRP) partnership with Raubex, which has diversified Enza’s portfolio, enabling independent tendering for projects. With a CIDB grading of 9CE, Enza can now tender for projects of any size, although it remains prudent and open to joint ventures for larger endeavours.

Continuously enhancing capabilities is a priority for Enza. Recently, the company acquired a significant shareholding in Post Tensioning and Structural Solutions (PTS-S), specialising in post-tensioning, construction hydraulics, and structure repair. This strategic move aligns with Enza’s diversification strategy and aims to bolster its specialist capabilities.

Under the leadership of PTS-S directors Gary Williams and Paul Heymans, Enza expands its client base across infrastructure, mining, commercial, and building sectors. Leveraging their extensive expertise in post-tensioning, stay cable, heavy lifting, bridge jacking, and incremental launching, PTS-S has already achieved positive outcomes. Notably, it secured subcontracts for various projects, including the Senqu Bridge, EB Cloete Bridge, and N2-N3 upgrades known as Key Ridge.

Commitment to Skills Development

Enza has long been acknowledged as a construction group recognised for its strong work ethic and unwavering commitment to quality, alongside its inclusive policies. This reputation is upheld through the firm belief that its people are its greatest competitive advantage. Enza prioritises skills development and retention as core business imperatives.

Demonstrating its dedication to industry advancement, Enza is steadfast in nurturing and enhancing its workforce. The Learnership and Graduate Development Programmes serve as vital entry points, attracting young talent to the business.

Recently, Enza introduced a Foremen Development Programme tailored for experienced foremen lacking formal qualifications in the industry. This initiative involves a year-long mentoring process, acknowledging their expertise while facilitating the attainment of formal qualifications.

Enza’s Graduate programme targets construction management, engineering, and quantity surveying graduates, offering specialised training. The application window for the 2025 programme opened in May 2024, and typically draws between 4,000 to 6,000 applicants annually. Enza typically welcomes between 15 to 20 graduates each year, with 14 graduates joining the 2024 intake.

Looking Ahead

Coen Naicker is optimistic about the future, not just for Enza Civils but for the industry. “While South Africa faces numerous challenges, including water supply issues and deteriorating infrastructure, these problems present opportunities for Enza to provide solutions,” he says.

“With our strategic partnerships and a diverse portfolio, we are well-positioned to deliver quality infrastructure solutions. Our CIDB grading of 9CE allows us to tender for any size project, and we look forward to what lies ahead.”

Enza Civils is committed to being the infrastructure solutions provider of choice, leveraging its partnerships and expertise to address South Africa’s most critical infrastructure needs. The company’s focus on long-term projects in the water, transport, and energy sectors underscores its bullish outlook on the future.

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