Has the SA road agency created 29,120 full-time jobs?

Comments 1

In a recent public relations drive, the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) stated on Facebook it has created 29,120 full-time jobs. But the claim is misleading.

In an effort to repair damage caused to its image by the introduction of e-tolling, the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) recently shared positive aspects about its operations on social media.

One Facebook image showed a wide open road, with a road sign cautioning “jobs ahead”. Its caption read: “#DidYouKnow that SANRAL projects have created 29,120 full-time jobs? SANRAL specifically aims to build local communities wherever its projects are. #KnowSANRAL

An Africa Check reader asked us to look into the claim. George Venter wrote: “Is there any validity in Sanral’s claim? Most of the jobs ‘created’ by them are at best temporary whilst projects are under construction.”

Does Venter have a point or is SANRAL’s claim accurate?

29,120 jobs created in the previous year

In March 2012, the South African labour union Cosatu organised a protest march through Johannesburg against the introduction of electronic tolling on the freeways of Gauteng. Photo: AFP/STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN
In March 2012, the South African labour union Cosatu organised a protest march through Johannesburg against the introduction of electronic tolling on the freeways of Gauteng. Photo: AFP/STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN

SANRAL is a company owned by the South African government and tasked with financing, improving and maintaining the country’s national road network (roads starting with an N, such as the N1 between Musina and Cape Town).

The agency’s general communication manager, Vusi Mona, told Africa Check it had “created the equivalent of 29,120 full time jobs” – but in their 2013/2014 financial year. In the most recent financial year, SANRAL had created 19,820 “average equivalent” full-time jobs.

SANRAL posted the Facebook image on 22 September. Mona said the agency’s 2014/15 annual report was presented to parliament on 30 September. Asked why SANRAL did not post the latest figures on Facebook, Mona said they only informed their social media agency on 1 October that the 2014/2015 annual report had been tabled.

(Note: A day after our first query, SANRAL posted a new infographic with the 2014/15 figures on Facebook.)

‘Average equivalent full-time jobs’

Is a full-time job a permanent job? Here is where you need to understand what SANRAL means when they speak of “average equivalent” full-time jobs.

Mona said the agency assumes someone with a full-time position “works 2,000 hours a year”, which translates to eight hours a day, five days a week. Labour inspector James Kgobe from the department of labour confirmed to Africa Check that a full time job “is defined by the normal working hours of up to 45 hours a week”.

How it works is that SANRAL adds up the total number of hours worked by everyone on its different projects in a year and then divides it by 2,000 to arrive at an “average equivalent” of full-time jobs.

The figures SANRAL reports therefore do not reflect the exact number of jobs created. Mona was unable to tell us how many of the jobs were permanent positions. He said: “We do not monitor the number of permanent positions as these are on our more than 500 projects run by contractors across the country.”


Conclusion: SANRAL’s claim is misleading

SANRAL’s Facebook post was misleading. By waiting eight days, it would have been able to provide the public with the most recent job creation figures available. This showed 10,000 less “full-time jobs” than the 18-month old number from 2013/14 they cited.

Secondly, the figure didn’t show the number of jobs or permanent positions created, but reflected an estimate calculated by the number of hours everyone worked on all projects in the 2013/14 year.

It is encouraging that the agency has now posted a new infographic, noting the specific financial year it is referring to. However, SANRAL still doesn’t explain how it calculates the number of “full-time” jobs on the infographic.


Additional reading

Have S. Africans paid up R238bn in fuel levies in 6 years? Not if you do the sums

© Copyright Africa Check 2020. Read our republishing guidelines. You may reproduce this piece or content from it for the purpose of reporting and/or discussing news and current events. This is subject to: Crediting Africa Check in the byline, keeping all hyperlinks to the sources used and adding this sentence at the end of your publication: “This report was written by Africa Check, a non-partisan fact-checking organisation. View the original piece on their website", with a link back to this page.

Comment on this report

Comments 1
  1. By Stefan

    That is very misleading indeed. As far as I am concerned, it is simply more propaganda by Sanral to try and persuade the public that it is in fact acting in a responsible manner despite all of its blunders and ill-conceived, costly projects.

    Reply Report comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Africa Check encourages frank, open, inclusive discussion of the topics raised on the website. To ensure the discussion meets these aims we have established some simple House Rules for contributions. Any contributions that violate the rules may be removed by the moderator.

Contributions must:

  • Relate to the topic of the report or post
  • Be written mainly in English

Contributions may not:

  • Contain defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or harassing language or material;
  • Encourage or constitute conduct which is unlawful;
  • Contain material in respect of which another party holds the rights, where such rights have not be cleared by you;
  • Contain personal information about you or others that might put anyone at risk;
  • Contain unsuitable URLs;
  • Constitute junk mail or unauthorised advertising;
  • Be submitted repeatedly as comments on the same report or post;

By making any contribution you agree that, in addition to these House Rules, you shall be bound by Africa Check's Terms and Conditions of use which can be accessed on the website.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.