2003 Winner
Limpopo Province, South Africa
Impumelelo Innovations Award Trust
Impumelelo Innovations Award Trust
South Africa
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Roads Agency Limpopo (RAL), an agency of the Limpopo Province Provincial Government launched Gundo Lashu in 2001 to improve transport infrastructure in poor and previously disadvantaged rural areas. Limpopo province’s road network consists of 22 000 km of which 6000 km have been paved.

By improving this ratio, Gundo Lashu wishes to increase the accessibility of communities to services such as health, education and therefore include people in economic activities. The primary objective of Gundo Lashu is to provide good quality, cost- effective rural roads using labour intensive construction methods. The programme in particular aims to achieve the following: Develop and train at least 24 local contractors using labour intensive methods and thereby bring 300 km of rural roads up to RAL standards. Engage rural communities and generate 1 million workdays of employment (40% male, 60% female) that will lead to improved livelihoods for communities linked to the programme. Strengthen the capacity of the RAL to manage, monitor and evaluate the implementation of Gundo Lashu in accordance with corporate governance best practice.


Gundo Lashu is the first long-term labour intensive public works road sector programme in South Africa, where emerging contractors are given extensive formal training and a series of practical on-site training projects in labour-based road works over 21 months. Gundo Lashu aims to establish “labour intensive” as a technically sound and cost effective alternative to conventional “machine intensive” methods. The programme makes the most out of limited government funds, by achieving a number of goals simultaneously. Gundo Lashu results in poverty alleviation, economic empowerment and capacity building in addition to improved roads in rural communities. The cost and quality of road works by labour-based methods are competitive if compared with conventional machine-based methods and increases labour content from less than 5% of project cost to 40%.


In terms of training 24 contractors and 6 engineering consultants have been trained in labour based road rehabilitation, 10 RAL staff trained in management of labour based road works and 13 000 training days have been provided. In terms of employment 2 400 people who had no income are now receiving a monthly salary through the creation of 320 000 workdays that have been create

Poverty Impact

Accessibility to markets and services in the project areas have been improved as well as the injection of R 10 million into rural communities. As part of recruitment, households without breadwinners are targeted first to ensure a wider net of families’ gain the positive effects of this campaign. In an effort to educate workers on financial management and to avoid them being victims of loan sharks, the programme is working with the Dept of Social Development to establish financial saving schemes in the project areas.


Extensive and well-structured training of staff of both implementing agency and the private sector, assurance of continuous funding and workload during the developmental stage are some of the important fundamentals in ensuring effective emerging contractor capacity development. Funding is secured over the next three years to the tune of R96 million for roads rehabilitation, demonstrating the high priority given to the Gundo Lashu project.


Road and Transport infrastructure are important elements in a modern economy and the development of the rural roads system is important to relieve the burden on other National Roads. It is imperative to find cost-effective methods while at the same time providing employment to achieve this need. If the project is expanded to all Districts in Limpopo, 5000 jobs per month will be provided to rural dwellers and likewise for any other province with similar socio-economic problems.


  • UK Dept. of International Development (DFID)
  • International Labour Organisation (ILO)
  • Dept. Rural Roads Lesotho
  • Civil Engineering Dept. WITS
  • Dept of Labour
  • Dept of Public Works
  • Labour Intensive Training and Engineering (LITE)
  • ABSA Bank