Rocla Sanitation partnered with Izandla Ziyagezana Trading to enter their Mkhondo based Community Cast Factory in the IMESA/CESA Excellence Awards 2021, in the Community Upliftment and Job Creation category. They were awarded second place for their Supply and Delivery of Waterborne Structures project within the rural Rustplaas Village in the Mkhondo Municipality, Mpumulanga.

The Rocla Sanitation/ Izandla Ziyagezana collaboration emerged as a result of Izandla Ziyagezana’s support for Rocla Sanitation’s Thuthukisa Initiative of ‘taking the factory to the people by empowering communities to be manufacturers in their own right’. Izandla Ziyagezana has specialised in community manufacturing and erection of low flush dignified sanitation since 2006 when the company was formed.

Dumisani Simelane, Managing Director of Izandla Ziyagezana commented “We are very proud to have been judged runner-up in the IMESA/CESA Awards. It is an acknowledgement of the importance of the work we are doing within rural communities”.

“The Rustplaas Project has so far created at least 23 new jobs, and we thank the Mkhondo local municipality for supporting this initiative. Projects such as Rustplaas show how job creation can be achieved in its simplest form through a transfer of skills on how to manufacture sanitation units of a good quality. The Rocla Sanitation Thuthukisa Initiative benefits both the local community and small businesses like my own,” said Simelane.

The Rustplaas Project enabled the local community to collaborate with on-site casting and stripping of 238 twin eco toilet top structures and pit structures in the 2020-21 financial year and a further 204 tops structures in the 2021-22 financial year. The Rustplaas community were also trained in the receiving and dispatching of casting kits and the associated materials from stores. Training of local SMME’s and community members was given in:

•           Mixing and batching

•           Casting and levelling of concrete

•           Curing and aftercare of concrete

•           Stripping and cleaning of products cast

•           Packing of stock and yard housekeeping

•           Loading and delivery of products

•           Onsite training in erecting

•           Administration and bookkeeping

Andre Labuschagne, Product Development Manager for Rocla Sanitation said “We are very pleased to have been placed second with Izandla Ziyagezana in the prestigious IMESA/CESA Awards.  This recognition for our Thuthukisa Initiative confirms our belief that many rural communities, through skills training, enjoy the benefits of healthier sanitation facilities as well as work opportunities. This has been proven through our collaboration with Izandla Ziyagezana, who from day one, have believed that this kind of initiative is imperative to the wellness of people residing in rural areas”.

“We look forward to continuing our relationship with Izandla Ziyagezana and will be collaborating with them on an 800-unit waterborne toilet project in Driefontein, Mkhondo shortly” said Labuschagne.

A concept called ‘pancake casting’ enabled Rocla Sanitation to offer a real on-site manufacturing capability that requires only a small piece of land with almost no infrastructure needed. This process involves casting one item on top of another in frameless single use moulds of a similar size in a planar form.

The panels are continuously cast one on top of another until typically full stacks of four toilets or 4 Twin Eco Pits are reached. The product is typically left to cure for two weeks. New castings can continue to be made during this curing process at other locations, using the same tools.

Labuschagne added “The communities that urgently require toilet units are often found in rural areas of the country. Many of these areas have no infrastructure. Meaning ‘to share’ the Thuthukisa Initiative’s philosophy led to the development of the ‘Community Cast’ toilet unit that can be simply manufactured by local community entrepreneurs or SMME’s and be ready for use within two weeks”.

“We would like to see our collaboration with Rocla Sanitation grow, our aim is to roll-out the Thuthukisa Initiative countrywide” commented Simelane, adding “There is so much added benefit for local communities. The goal is to provide health enhancing sanitation units to the community through the wider impact of skills transfer to the community and to also help to fight poverty and unemployment”. The IMESA/CESA Excellence Awards is a biennial event and the awards took place in Cape Town on 11 November 2021 alongside their 84th IMESA Conference. The IMESA/CESA Community Upliftment and Job Category focuses on projects demonstrating labour intensive construction, skills development, community awareness and participation.


Lwazi Goqwana has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer for the Infrastructure Specialist Group (ISG) effective immediately. ISG is South Africa’s leading manufacturer of precast concrete solutions and products for the construction, infrastructure and mining sectors.

An Engineer by profession with 25 years of working experience in Manufacturing, Construction, Financial Services, Logistics, Energy and Government Services. Goqwana has worked for multiple organisations including Unilever, Tiger Brands, Barclays Africa, Transnet and the Department of Public Enterprises.

Goqwana commented “I am very excited to be joining one of South Africa’s iconic companies. I look forward to joining the existing management team as we lead ISG forward in a way that will enhance our competitive position in the market”.

With an Honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Cape Town and an MBA in Strategic General Management from Milpark Business School, Goqwana brings a wealth of technical and operational excellence as well as executive management experience to ISG.


Rocla has supplied 414 spun concrete distribution poles to the Enel Green Power developed Karusa and Soetwater windfarms projects in the Northern Cape. These are for an overhead line required to join into the Eskom Komsburg Station.

Kevin West, Sales Consultant for Rocla said “Although our spun concrete distribution poles were specified for the project, we worked closely with the customer to ensure that our poles met their strict customised requirements. We designed various poles to meet the differing lengths of the overhead line, these were designed for specific usage on the projects”.

“The pole lengths varied from 15.6m to 19.2m for the overhead line. Rocla supplied 146 distribution poles for the Karusa windfarm and 268 poles for the Soetwater windfarm. Each farm will have a total of 64 turbines running along the escarpment” said West.

Spun concrete distribution poles are a cost-efficient solution because of small servitude requirements, and are quick to install. They offer a durable, long-term solution with minimal maintenance. Spun concrete poles are exceptionally strong through 360 degrees, not having the major and minor load axis that normal poles have. The unique centrifugal manufacturing process used gives the Rocla spun concrete pole extra strength properties, not found in cast concrete poles.

“It was an exciting project to be part of as we believe windfarms are alternative sources of power and are an essential part of the energy mix for South Africa” concluded West.

Spun concrete poles offer a lifespan of over 50 years.

Rocla manufactures a range of concrete pole solutions for electrification, reticulation, telecom masts, lighting, security monitoring and stadium use.


Rocla and Technicrete, part of the Infrastructure Group of Companies (ISG), funded the conversion of 14 pit latrines into flushing toilets and supplied associated paving and concrete structures at the Tsekere Primary School, Ga-Raphahlelo in the Limpopo Province. The total funding by ISG for the project was R350,675.00.

“Tsekere Primary School had 14 pit latrines which were not in a good condition or really usable, so they were sealed and then converted into flushing toilets” commented Malebusa Sebatane, Group Marketing and Communications Manager for ISG. “We decided to fund the upgrades to their sanitation system in order to provide clean and safe sanitation units for the pupils of the school, as ISG believes that every school should have properly functioning sanitation units. Every child has a right to personal dignity”.

Sebatane added “We appointed Enviromould Product Solutions to install the Rocla designed and Agreement approved, Eaziflush low flush toilet pedestals with a child seat lid incorporated. Included in our donation was funding for septic tanks, cisterns and all the associated plumbing components. We provided funding for the refurbishment of the roofing sections and repainting of the toilet doors.  An additional two Rocla manufactured Sanitation Community Cast Toilet Top Structures were also supplied which increased the total number of toilets to 16.”

Rocla’s precast concrete sanitation units are a cost-effective solution to one of the most basic and essential needs in South Africa – the need to supply clean, hygienic and cost-efficient sanitation not only to schools but also to the homes of people living in rural areas. All of Rocla’s sanitation units are designed as water saving units that can function on the existing grey water output from a household rather than requiring fresh drinking water.

Additionally, Technicrete supplied 90 square meters of 50 mm grey Bond Brick pavers that have been installed around the sanitation units and the school’s hand wash basins. Technicrete’s Bond Brick is particularly suited to this kind of environment due to its durability and sturdiness.

The associated transportation costs for Rocla and Technicrete’s precast concrete products to site was also funded by the ISG.

“ISG is proud to have funded these sanitation and infrastructural upgrades, which the school so clearly needed. Inside the classroom, ISG donated R4,000.00 worth of calculators for the learners to use with their studies – safety and hygiene outside of the school coupled with educational supplies for inside use, will hopefully make an impact upon the learning experience” concluded Sebatane.


Outlying rural areas are often confronted with major inconveniences when severe storms or the rainy season comes around. Roads become flooded, bridges submerge under water or are completely washed away, cutting off communities from food supplies and essential services. Gadiboye Village, near Kuruman in the Northern Cape is such a location. Rocla recently supplied Rectangular Portal (RP) culverts and bases and the link slabs to ensure that the storm water was effectively dispersed without cutting off the Gadiboye Village community from its school and shops.

Rocla Sales Consultant, Dillon Carter, said “The Gadiboye Village project required RP culverts measuring 3600mm x 3000mm with RP bases of 3600mm. Rocla is the only company that manufactures RP culverts of this size and we manufactured 32 for this particular project”.

“The installation is unique, and a first in terms of bridge design in South Africa, in so much that four rows of eight culverts in length were installed in a culvert-link-culvert-link formation” said Carter. Bolts and anchor grout were required to secure the slabs to the culverts and were supplied by Rocla and Technicrete Mining Division, as well as a crane, which was hired by South 32 Mine, the project investor, to offload the culverts at site.

“An integral part of this culvert project was the 24 3600mm link slabs that we supplied which were crucial to the formation of the culverts for this particular application. The style of the formation was not unsimilar to a truck and trailer concept” said Carter.

Rocla’s pre-cast concrete RP Culverts are recommended for use in storm water applications, they provide a waterway underneath road. The unit consists of a deck and two legs and placed on a concrete base. The RP Culverts have also been used at railway tracks, mine tunnels and also can be inverted as a drainage ditch.

The culverts are normally supplied in 1,22m lengths and in 50S, 75S and 100S strength classes, but custom-made designs can be manufactured as they were for the Gadiboye Village project.

Special intermediate strengths or heavier loading requirements can be designed and manufactured but would be subject to various material constraints and would need evaluation by our engineers on an ad hoc basis.

“One can easily forget about the sometimes dire situations our communities find themselves in outside of our main city centres, but we believe that our culverts and associated components will make a tremendous difference to the Gadiboye community once the rainy season commences” concluded Carter.


Transmission and distribution power lines in suburban and rural areas need poles that can withstand harsh environments, inclement weather and vandalism, in order to ensure the continuous supply of electricity. Rocla’s spun concrete transmission and distribution poles are well suited for the exacting requirements of electrical distribution line construction.

The durable, maintenance free spun concrete poles are exceptionally strong through 360 degrees, whereas normal cast concrete poles have a major and minor load axis. The unique centrifugal manufacturing process gives a uniform densely compacted concrete along the whole length of the pole. This gives the Rocla spun concrete pole extra strength properties, not found in cast concrete poles.

Spun concrete transmission and distribution poles offer a cost-effective solution due to small servitude requirements, simple and economic funding methods and a quicker installation turnaround time. They offer a durable, long-term solution with minimal maintenance. Rocla spun concrete poles systems are ESKOM approved and have been tested at Eskom’s Rosherville Testing Station.

A bonus for the farming community as a result of the systems small servitude requirements is that is well suited to intensive farming on high-value land.

Rocla offers a variety of pole lengths in single, jointed and double pole solutions, and Rocla’s engineering technical team are able to customize spun concrete pole solutions to meet specific customer sizing requirements as well as design and manufacture products for non- standard applications.

Spun concrete poles offer a lifespan of over 50 years.

Rocla manufactures a range of concrete pole solutions for electrification, reticulation, telecom masts, lighting, security monitoring and stadium use.


With a country in constant development, be it new commercial or residential projects or the maintenance or upgrading of existing roads, pipes and storm-water systems, a crucial factor is the application of water and sewerage systems and related products that offer developers and local municipalities the longevity and high quality required.

With a history spanning over 100 years, Rocla, has been a leader in the manufacture and supply of sewerage and water systems and has worked with local municipalities and civils contractors throughout South Africa. The technical expertise and assistance that Rocla offers in the water and sewerage sectors in particular, puts them in an enviable position of assistance on projects from inception to completion.

One of the flagship products from Rocla is their reinforced concrete pipes with HDPE lining, which offers sewerage projects the same advantages as a conventional concrete pipe or a plastic pipe in that it maintains its shape under load and is resistant to acid attack. Exposed concrete in the joints of a pipeline need to be protected against corrosive gasses, and Rocla has designed a HDPE capping strip which is welded over the joint of the pipe after installation. It is generally 200mm wide and the same thickness as the lining used in the pipe. This unique HDPE lined pipe was recently commissioned for the Polokwane Waste Water Project, and 19kms of HDPE piping was supplied.

Rocla also manufactures reinforced concrete pipes with sacrificial layers. The host pipe may be manufactured from Dolomitic aggregate and ordinary Portland cement or Siliceous aggregate and ordinary Portland cement. The sacrificial layer may be from Dolomitic aggregate and ordinary Portland cement or Dolomitic aggregate and calcium aluminate cement.

The exposed concrete in joints of a pipeline needs to be protected against corrosive gasses and Rocla recommends joint sealing processes to avoid sewer corrosion activity.

Projects such as the Nellmapius Ext 22 low cost housing contract near Mamelodi commissioned nearly 3,000 precast steel-mesh reinforced concrete storm water pipes of various nominal diameters from Rocla, for the six-kilometer storm water pipeline being constructed.

Rocla was selected to manufacture and supply all the storm-water (spigot and socket) and interlocking pipes for Waterkloof Quarry, an old 58-hectare landmark, situated on the border of Waterkloof Ridge and Monument Park near Pretoria which was developed into an upmarket retirement estate. It was Rocla’s manufacturing capability that enabled them to meet the tight deadline associated with the quarry development.

Reinforced concrete pipes with Xypex Bio-San C500 are supplied for 300mm to 600mm pipes. Xypex Bio-San C500 is a uniquely designed admixture for integral, long-term protection of concrete in harsh sewerage conditions which have high levels of H2S that cause microbial induced corrosion in pipelines. The protection is for the full wall of the pipe and eliminates extra joint sealing.

For the recent Diepkloof sewer upgrades 2,715 piping product and associated supplies comprising RJ pipes, rubber rings, man holes, cover slabs and concrete lids for this were sourced from Rocla due to the quality of its manufacturing processes and final product.

Accessories for sewerage and water projects also include pipes with access holes, bends – Rocla can supply custom made bends of up to 30 degrees – spigot and socket pipe systems, manhole chambers with HDPE lining and reducer and cover slabs.

The Rocla design, engineering and technical team is available for pre-site design, and on-site application advice when required. This way, Rocla ensures that the correct solution is selected and installed correctly, giving the client a maximum return on their investment.


With water shortages and the longer-term security of water supply being a serious concern for South Africans, one would think that every business, school and home would have a rainwater harvesting system. Justin Kretzmar, Sales Engineer at Rocla and Technicrete, explains why this is sometimes not the case.

“When constructing new commercial, residential and public buildings, a rainwater harvesting system is one of the last elements to install. At this stage, many projects are either over budget or have run out of money completely, and so the idea is often abandoned or a cheaper, shorter life span option adopted.

“Another reason is that rainwater harvesting systems are still being underquoted in South Africa at tender phase. If the requirement is for 50,000 litres of harvesting, we often note at a later stage that 10 of 5,000 litre plastic, above ground, storage tanks have been used as the pricing guideline. Consideration might not have been given to the site plans and hence an understanding as to where the engineers envisaged these tanks to be placed. On sites where the tanks are designed to be placed below ground, due to durability, overall size and/or space requirements, the plastic guideline pricing can be out by a factor of 10 or even 20 once you include below ground installation work.

Mr Kretzmar maintains that rainwater harvesting is also sometimes viewed as a nice-to-have as opposed to a necessity and hence gets dropped at the final stages due to updated overall cost implications.

“There is little financial incentive, and no legislation that forbids the use of potable water when non potable water could be used. However, with parts of our country either suffering from drought, or experiencing water shortages and restrictions, there has been an increased interest in residential rainwater harvesting. Unfortunately, many people only consider rainwater harvesting in times of drought, which of course, is too late. There has to be rain to fill the tanks and we hence, need to embrace a longer-term philosophy.” says Kretzmar.

Product offering

Technicrete and Rocla, part of the Infrastructure Specialist Group, both offer different water harvesting friendly options that can be used independently or combined for a holistic solution. These include permeable paving solutions to capture surface water and below ground concrete collection tank systems for roof water capture.

Rocla offers two concrete rainwater harvesting solutions that are both installed underground:

  • A (smaller) modular system, made up of 6,000 litre units that can accommodate storage requirements from about 24KL up to hundreds of thousands of litres.
  • A (larger) modular made up of 60KL rectangular tanks. These are more cost effective than the smaller modular option but installations must be increments of 60,000 litres.

Below ground concrete tanks are considerably more hygienic when compared to above ground plastic alternatives due to the naturally cool and dark environment where most micro-organisms cannot survive. Being underground and out of site, vandalism is reduced and as they are not exposed to sunlight, problems associated with UV reducing overall lifespan are alleviated. 

Technicrete’s Aqua range of permeable paving products subscribe to a methodology whereby vertical ‘slots’ between adjacent pavers provide drainage channels allowing storm water to flow from surface, through the paving and bedding layers, into suitably designed stone layer works below.  This stone layer becomes the storage ‘tank’ with the captured water replacing air cavities between adjacent stones. It is interesting to note that these air cavities can be up to 40% of the overall volume of this layer, or 40 litres of water stored per square meter in every 100mm thick stone layer. Whilst permeable paving is most frequently used as a water attenuation facility, it can also be used for rainwater harvesting, by placing an impervious membrane at the base of the layer works, capturing the water instead of infiltrating it. This water would typically be used for reuse in greywater and irrigation systems. 

Potential problems

“While permeable paving technology has been around for well over 40 years (locally for over 20 years), some engineers are still hesitant to make use of this option. Permeable paving can and does fail when it has been designed or installed incorrectly or has been placed in unsuitable locations,” says Kretzmar.

For instance, one should probably not use permeable paving in places where there is a lot of fine dust and pollution that can be expected to blow over an area on a regular basis. As such, there is justifiable concern about the long-term clogging of permeable paving. With the finest material at the top, grading to larger stones at the bottom, clogging occurs when tiny particles being transported by storm water get caught by the smaller gravel at the top of the pavement layers and hence reduce the filtration capacity through the paving layer. This reduces the filtration capacity through the paving layer and the functionality of permeable paving.

Other causes of failure include design and installation shortcomings where the permeable layer must contend with more surface water than it can physically process. One should ensure there is a limit to a ratio of 2:1 ratio of impermeable to permeable layering. Furthermore, contractors often do not follow correct installation instructions with regards to contamination and compaction.

“Maintenance and cleaning of permeable paving is therefore very important. Maintenance should include annual sweeping of the paved area, prior to the rainy season as this will remove most of the silt that has settled onto the area over the dry season – therefore avoiding contamination at the top grit layer.  Typical cleaning regimens should be carried out every five to ten years or as and when as system is no longer functioning as required. A high pressure spray will loosen the upper 25mm of clogged, polluted gravel/grit, followed by a high strength vacuum to remove this material. The fine grit layer between pavers must then be reinstated with new, clean and washed material.” adds Kretzmar.

Kretzmar concludes that rainwater harvesting tanks and permeable paving have been used very successfully internationally and moderately so in South Africa, “However, both systems have been very successful in other countries, especially where the requirement has been driven by local legislation and municipalities.”

Source: Water & Sanitation Africa Mar/April 2021