Billed as the largest tertiary education development in post-apartheid South Africa, our role as the client’s principal agent for Sol Plaatje University (SPU) involves overseeing 30 projects, from refurbishments to new-build infrastructure.

Since our involvement in 2014, we have worked alongside the six project teams to deliver assets across three campuses in Kimberley, Northern Cape. The assets include administrative buildings, halls of residences and sports facilities, academic buildings and a library.

With Kimberley officially designated as a semi-arid area, sustainability features were incorporated in the project. These range from synthetic surfaces for the sports fields to water-saving measures such as artificial landscaping materials.

Apart from providing employment for around 1,000 local residents, a key focus of the project was community involvement and upskilling of Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs). Specific targets for local participation, empowerment and skills development were set at the outset in conjunction with the Department of Higher Education.

We appointed a dedicated Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) manager within our SPU team to keep track of the construction development targets. These covered the commercial terms and conditions that the main contractor had committed to in terms of contributing to job creation, local procurement and skills development.

As a result, a significant portion of the local workforce is now equipped with skills that will remain in the Kimberley area long after the project’s completion. This ranges from small business development to community upliftment and local procurement. We instigated a legacy that will benefit the students as well as the local community.