Tag Archives: RAUBEX (PTY) LTD


A retail jewel is rising steadily in Cameroon’s capital of Douala, with planned completion now less than a year away.

Doors are expected to open to shoppers at Douala Grand Mall in Q1 2020, a project that has captured the imagination of the capital’s residents. Turnkey hospitality and retail development specialist Raubex Renovo is constructing what will be Cameroon’s first modern shopping mall and the largest in central Africa.

The substantial €75 million phase 1 project is focused on a mall with a built floor area of 38.474 m2 and 18,446 m2 of lettable retail on two levels. It includes a convention centre and cinemas, and is the first phase of an ambitious plan that looks forward to incorporating a five-star hotel, offices and residential apartments. The project’s positive outlook is enhanced by its sizeable catchment area of about 1,5 million people.

By March 2019, construction was 60% complete. An early priority of the construction programme was to get the main structure closed up and watertight before the rainy season starts at the end of May. This includes the completion of the main structure with its associated waterproofing activities and the application of façades. Once this has been done, attention will be on all the inside services and finishes.

As important has been the considerable effort invested in completing the exterior earthworks and services. Once the rainy season starts, certain of these activities are rendered impractical. The rainfall in the country can be up to 700 mm per month from July to November. As with many projects in tropical regions with high rainfall, it has been essential that the construction programme takes the climate into account. For an experienced contractor, detailed advance planning with these factors in mind is essential.

Key to the progress to date has been the scheduling of activities in appropriate order, while remaining uncompromising on the quality of works. This has applied across a range of tasks, which are currently focused on structural steel installation on the first floor and roof levels, substructure installation to the perimeter façade closure, and construction and concrete placement on the first floor. Installation of services and external works are on well on programme and within expectations.

Logistics have presented a major challenge during the project and is a factor that has had to be carefully managed to mitigate against extended delays.

With its experience on projects in various parts of Africa, Raubex Renovo has been able to carefully monitor progress and respond to any delays with flexibility. When an unanticipated delay occurred with the shipment of structural steel to site, the contractor adjusted the construction programme with an acceleration of activities. This ensured that the time lost would be made up as quickly as possible.

The flexible pace of the project has not diminished the outstanding safety performance. Safety on site is an important cornerstone on all Raubex Renovo projects. The company’s track record can be attributed to constant focus on safe work practices and risk mitigation across all aspects of the project.

Daily safety briefings, commonly known on site as ‘Toolbox Talks’, ensure that everyone on site understands their tasks and the potential risks. Training is also an important factor in ensuring safe work and this extends to all parties that are working on the project.

Safety – like quality workmanship – is closely controlled among employees and sub-contractors alike. This goes hand-in-hand with training and knowledge transfer, as Raubex Renovo’s intention is to leave a level of sustainable skills within the local workforce.

Subcontractors on the project are Cameroonian companies, who are overseen by the Raubex Renovo management. Skilled artisans in the Raubex Renovo team also engage in training workers from the local community to ensure skills are effectively transferred during construction. This helps build the pool of skills that can contribute to subsequent construction projects in the area.

With every passing week of progress in the building, the looming scale and profile of the Douala Grand Mall is eliciting more excitement from the public. This bodes well for the future customer support that this ground breaking development can expect. The capital city of Cameroon will certainly be raising the bar for its neighbours in the region, and taking an important step in attracting more tourists and business-people.


Despite the downturn in both the civil engineering sector and mining in recent years, Raubex Infra’s civils and mining division has been active in several projects across South Africa’s provinces.

Bringing its usual combination of technical expertise and innovation, the division has been attending to contracts from sinkholes to roadworks, according to Cornel Strydom, operations director for the Raubex Infra’s civils and mining division.

A five-month job to repair a sinkhole on the road between Danielskuil and Kuruman required the use of dynamic compaction with a falling weight.

“This kind of work requires close adherence to the design of the geotechnical engineer, with constant and regular measurements being taken to ensure that the correct results are being obtained,” says Strydom. “Underground conditions cannot be defined in detail in advance, so special care and monitoring is vital.”

In this case, the sinkhole had many chambers, some which had to be filled with rock. By compacting the rock in columns, a rock platform was created over the columns to form a ‘bridge’ between the cavities. The layer works for the road could then be placed on this platform.

The company was also recently required to stabilise the gravel road between Douglas and Campbell, and offered a solution that saved on future maintenance.

“In collaboration with the client, we decided on stabilising the wearing course of this gravel road down to a depth of 150 mm by using a dust suppressant,” he says.

The benefit of stabilising the current material in this way is that the dust suppression qualities of the surface remain as the material wears away. This effectively reduces the normal intervals between future spraying of dust suppressant as the road wears.

In a smaller road project, at a private game reserve in Limpopo Province, both paved and concrete roads have been constructed and cables laid for internet connectivity.

On the mining side, Raubex Infra conducted mass earthworks for a new run-of-mine tip structure and internal roads for a mine in the Western Cape, making use of a pugmill blending plant for mixing moisture into the gravel for road construction.

“Some of the areas where material had to be placed were very confined, so it was not possible to mix water into the soil conventionally,” he says.

Projects in the pipeline include a road rehabilitation and reseal contract between Vanzylsrus and Hotazel, a storm water pond at Lufhereng in Soweto, a water treatment project in Bloemfontein, a water pipeline project at Vanwyksvlei and a borehole contract at Carnarvon.


The long-awaited signing earlier this year of power offtake agreements with independent power producers is likely to boost Raubex Infra’s contribution in the renewable energy sector, according to managing director Ean Steenkamp.

Raubex Infra had previously been involved in renewable energy projects as part of the government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).

“We are looking forward to our increased participation in this exciting sector, making our expertise available to photovoltaic energy projects, concentrated solar power projects and wind energy projects among others,” says Steenkamp.

Providing a range of infrastructure services from civils and electrical to telecommunications and rail, Raubex Infra specialises in executing turnkey projects. These are often in niche areas with demanding time constraints and technical complexities.

Among its recent work in solar power was a contract to drill and cast 28,000 concrete piles for solar field foundations in the Northern Cape. The contract required regular, reinforced and drive piles, and consumed 3,000 m3 of concrete footing. The company was also responsible for the electrical, instrumentation and control installation on this project. This included almost 15,000 m3 of civils works and trenching, as well as laying and terminating 211,000 metre of fibre and ethernet cables. Medium voltage and low voltage cables were also laid and terminated.

“Our experience allows us to undertake projects of various sizes in South Africa and across border,” Steenkamp says. A recent project completed in Lesotho was the turnkey installation of a 105 kW rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system. This included mechanical installation of substructures, modules, cabling, inverters and control systems through to final commissioning.

As an example of a smaller project, Steenkamp says Raubex Infra recently designed, supplied, installed and commissioned a 64 kW ground-mounted PV system in Boksburg, Gauteng.

“Our capabilities and flexibility enable us to meet market requirements, and over the last couple of years we have been extensively involved in civils work including streets, sidewalks, bulk water facilities and telecommunications installations,” he says.

Raubex Infra’s civils division is currently constructing the street network and water reticulation system for the second phase of the upmarket Woodlands Hills residential development in Bloemfontein. In addition to the civils services, the company will upgrade the provincial access road to facilitate direct access to the development’s Bergendal Gate.

This project includes 21,000 m3 of mass earthworks, 22,000 m3 of layer works, and 6,300 m3 of trench excavation. Rocky conditions on surface required extensive blasting in the early months of the contract. Excavation is also necessary for slabs and drainage, and about 33,000 m2 of asphalt surfacing will be laid.

Recent civils work has also included applying specialised and innovative solutions on road contracts, according to Raubex Infra operations director of the company’s civil and general infrastructure division, Cornel Strydom.

One of these was the repair of a major sinkhole on the road between Danielskuil and Kuruman in the Northern Cape.

“The sinkhole had many chambers, some which had to be filled with rock and a berm constructed around the area to eliminate no water ingress,” Strydom says. “The rock was compacted in columns using dynamic compaction so we could closely follow the geotechnical engineer’s design. A rock bed or platform was created over the columns to form a ‘bridge’ between the cavities on which the layer works for the road could be placed.”

Applying available technology innovatively, Raubex Infra’s civils division recently stabilised and rehabilitated the gravel road between Douglas and Campbell using a dust suppressant down to a depth of 150 mm. Aside from ensuring a safer more driveable road surface, this will reduce future maintenance costs. At a private game reserve in Limpopo Province, both paved and concrete roads have been constructed and cables laid for internet connectivity.

Projects in the pipeline include a road rehabilitation and reseal contract between Vanzylsrus and Hotazel, a storm water pond at Lufhereng in Soweto, a water treatment project in Bloemfontein, a water pipeline project at Vanwyksvlei and a borehole contract at Carnarvon.

In the mining sector, the division conducted mass earthworks for a new run-of-mine tip structure for Tronox’s Namakwa Sands heavy minerals mine at Brand-se-Baai on South Africa’s Western Cape coast. This contract included the building of a 3 km trunk road to accommodate the new conveyor belt.

Laying optical fibre cables for local and national connectivity networks is a vital specialisation of Raubex Infra, both within South Africa and in African countries. Danie Marais, operations director of the company’s telecommunications and special projects division, says work often takes them north of the border with extensive work carried out in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Burkina Faso and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“As the only company in South Africa with specialised equipment to conduct direct laying of ducting, we offer high levels of efficiency and economy for long distance cable installation,” Marais says. “With our equipment and expertise our teams can cover up to nine km per day.”

Completed contracts include the supply and installation of over 1,000 km of backbone network across Zambia as well as several smaller projects, including laying fibre cable in the Chingola-Solwezi region in north western Zambia.

Closer to home, the division is currently rolling out ‘last-mile’ fibre to homes in Bloemfontein’s neighbourhood of Universitas and Waverley. Using dedicated and efficient trenching equipment, a narrow slot is created for the ducting minimising the impact on the roadway itself. A shallow gulley is then dug to channel the optical fibre from the road to the edge of the homeowners’ property.

Raubex Infra also has extensive experience in permanent way (perway) construction in the rail sector including laying of ballast, sleepers and tracks. This division also has specialised teams doing overhead track equipment up to 50 kV capacity.

“With several specialised divisions within Raubex Infra, it is easy to draw from this expertise and offer integrated solutions across various disciplines,” Steenkamp says. “This broad capability and experience ensures efficiency at all levels.”


As South Africa’s consumers today demand faster and more reliable connectivity for a range of home and home-office uses, Raubex Infra is working with telecommunications operators to roll out the ‘last-mile’ optical fibre cabling to the household.

In a recent contract, Raubex Infra’s telecommunications division – which provides a diversity of network infrastructure solutions – provided fibre links to 2,200 homes in the Universitas and Waverley neighbourhoods of Bloemfontein in the Free State province.

According to Danie Marias, operations director of the company’s telecommunications division, the project required the deployment of specialised equipment as well as the careful management of teams of trained workers for the manual aspects of the job. He highlights the importance of working neatly, quietly and quickly in the suburban environment, creating as little disruption as possible to the residents.

The well-coordinated effort using a specialised trenching machine created a narrow slot some 20 to 30 cm deep in the roadway, into which the ducting was laid from a large reel. While this task could be best conducted using mechanised means, the shallow gulley for ducting to run from the road to the householder’s fence had to be manually dug. A termination box was then located at the edge of each property for later connection to network.

Marais emphasises the importance of restoring the roadway to its previous condition of strength to avoid any ingress of water through weak points in the asphalt as this could reduce the lifespan of the road. The gravel removed by the trencher is therefore meticulously swept up and transported to a nearby site, where it is sieved and mixed with cement by a dedicated mixer to create a soilcrete mixture.

Once moistened, the soilcrete can be packed into the roadway slot on top of the ducting, and then compacted to the required density ensuring the road layers are returned to their previous strength. The filled slot is then sealed with bitumen paint before a final asphalt layer is applied and compacted with a pedestrian plate compactor.

In addition to conventional trenching operations, this division of Raubex Infra also conducts large-scale trenchless ‘direct lay’ projects over hundreds of kilometres, installing ducting for national fibre backbones using specialised heavy machinery. It also has extensive experience in horizontal drilling for the installation of underground cables, conduits and pipes.


Work is well underway to open a second phase – Bergendal – at Bloemfontein’s sought-after Woodland Hills Wildlife Estate residential development.
Raubex Infra’s civils division is currently putting vital infrastructure such as storm water pipes, water reticulation, sewers and streets in place.

According to Raubex Infra site agent, Jaco de Jager, the work will make way for another 84 properties of 1,000 m2 each and includes the upgrading of an access road from the provincial R700 route nearby to the Bergendal Gate as well as some enhancement to the R700 itself.
On the Woodland Hills site, work is underway to complete 21,000 m3 of mass earthworks, 22,000 m3 of layer works, and 6,300 m3 of trench excavation.

“The rocky surface conditions in the area required us to conduct extensive blasting in the early months of the contract, to ensure that pipes could be laid to the correct depth,” says de Jager.

The work also includes excavations for slabs and drainage, and about 33,000 m2 of asphalt surfacing will be laid.

In line with the development’s environmental priorities and growing concerns about South Africa’s water scarcity, Raubex Infra will also be installing a grey water line from the nearby sewer station.
This water source will be used for irrigation purposes and will reduce the estate’s environmental footprint while helping ease pressure on the municipality’s treated water capacity.

Another initiative has been to make full use of the blasted surface rock. This is broken further by excavator-mounted hydraulic breakers before being fed into the on-site crushing plant for G2 aggregate production.

“We use the minus 75 material as backfill for the pipe trenches, and also supply a minus 200 fraction which will be used during construction of the development’s dam wall,” he says. “We are also using selected stone to create a G2 material that is used for the road base.”

The low-traffic roads on the estate are constructed with three layers, a selected layer, an upper selected layer and premix asphalt on the surface.
Instead of creating the base on the road using a grader and water bowser, the material is mixed in an on-site pug mill supplied by Raubex Infra’s plant division.

“The pug mill efficiently creates the mix with the required 8% moisture content, eliminating the need for conventional water spraying on the road,” de Jager says. “It also pre-mixes G1 material for our enhancement work on the high-traffic R700 provincial road.”

To ensure that stormwater is adequately channelled from the new development’s access road, there are barrier kerbs with purpose-designed kerb inlets.
Precast items for the inlets are being cast on site by Raubex Infra. To ensure the effectiveness of the storm water system, a 300 mm concrete channel will carry water away and prevent ingress.

The access road is built to a robust design given the water-flow conditions in this hilly area.
The minus 200 fraction pioneer rock layer is followed by a selected layer, upper selected layer, sub-base and base with pre-mix asphalt on the surface.

Leveraging the power of technology, a global positioning system (GPS) on site allows the two full-time surveyors to set out points and levels, constantly monitoring the accuracy with which the plans are implemented.

Having begun work in October last year, Raubex Infra’s contract at Woodland Hills is due for completion in the third quarter of 2018.


A modern shopping mall, complete with convention centre and cinemas, will grace Cameroon’s financial capital city of Douala by the end of 2019 – and South African turnkey specialist Raubex Renovo is making it happen.

The €45 million Douala Grand Mall is part of a larger development that will include a five-star hotel, offices and residential apartments being built in the near future.

“The mall and convention centre signals to the world that Cameroon is on the move, and is attracting more visitors for business and leisure,” says Matthys Serfontein, development manager at Raubex Renovo. “Our modern construction planning and methods combine with an energy efficient design to make the mall stand out dramatically from its local competitors.”

Its size, for a start, is significant; it will reportedly be Central Africa’s largest mall when complete with a built floor area of 25,600 m2 including 18,732 m2 of lettable retail on its two levels. Importantly the mall is in the immediate vicinity of the international airport with a primary catchment of 1,5 million people.

The ground floor of the complex will have 14,160 m2 of retail space while the first floor will house 11,520 m2 including a modern conference centre, cinemas, food court and retail space. There will also be underground parking in the basement.

Environmental standards have been followed in the design and construction, complying with the EDGE green building certification system developed by the International Finance Corporation. Using insulated cladded panels for the outside walls and the roof, including double glazing on skylights and shopfronts that allow for the best use of natural light, the building will be the first climate-controlled mall in Cameroon.

Focusing on large hospitality and retail projects, Raubex Renovo’s team has 20 years’ experience of construction projects throughout Africa. The company’s capabilities encompass full project development including professional engineering, architectural and design services all managed by a professional construction and development team.

Health and safety is a core focus of the Raubex Group, with attention paid to all aspects of health and safety as well as environmental and social impacts on Raubex Renovo’s projects site. A zero harm approach forms an integral part of the company’s operating strategy with solid safety programmes implemented to ensure the wellbeing of all stakeholders.

“The efficiency and reliability of our work is enhanced by our use of Building Information Modelling (BIM), allowing us to optimise our design, construction and operations activity,” says Ben Pretorius, managing director of Raubex Renovo. “BIM also ensures that up-to-date information on project progress can be easily shared with all stakeholders and contractors.”

Earthworks began at Douala Grand Mall in January 2018, and handover is scheduled for November next year.

“The project is another example of our team’s capacity to plan and implement accelerated construction programmes across the continent,” he says. “The Raubex Group has a solid reference base of completed projects in South Africa as well as in the SADC region in countries like Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia, Gabon, Togo, Malawi, Zimbabwe and the DRC.”

Pretorius emphasises the importance of the reputation and backing of parent company Raubex Group, a leading infrastructure development group with 40 years in the business and a listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.