Billions needed for transport: Ndebele

2011-06-13 13:36

South Africa’s ageing rail, road and maritime infrastructure requires massive investment for the country to successfully compete in international markets, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said today.

Speaking in Cape Town at the opening of an international investors conference, he told delegates his department had identified 11 “key strategic” investment areas, with a total estimated capital cost of about R200 billion.

“We understand that the country’s fiscus cannot be in a position to fund the entire needs of the transport sector.

“It is important to find a new impetus in investments into our sector in order to completely modernise our transport system so that our economy is able to be internationally competitive.

“In order to address this challenge, it is necessary to attract new investments into our sector,” Ndebele said.

The 11 investment areas focus mainly on rail and road infrastructure, including plans by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa to acquire new commuter coaches at an estimated capital cost of R86 billion.

The list also includes five projects by the South African National Roads Agency, including work on various national-route toll roads and the upgrading of other roads around the country, at a total cost of about R85 billion.

Ndebele said historical under-investment, coupled with poor maintenance, outdated systems and a lack of integration had impacted negatively on the country’s transport network.

He said the conference – hosted by his department – was aimed at showcasing various transport projects.

“Of critical importance is that these projects will attract potential investors that will play a key role alongside the government.

“This conference must ultimately become a platform for investors to come into the transport space in South Africa,” he said.

About 700 investors and delegates are attending the conference, being held over two days in the Mother City.

Speaking at the event, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said new ways had to be found “if South Africa is to achieve the levels of investment in infrastructure we hope to achieve”.

He said partnerships between state-owned enterprises and the private sector were essential to unlock the level of investment required.

“It is therefore important that we engage with you in forums such as these in order to explore possibilities to unlock the balance sheets, in particular, of the mining, financial and industrial sectors.”

Gigaba said it needed to be made clear that whatever investment partnerships were entered into between the government and the private sector, “state control of strategic assets must be maintained”.

He said state-owned enterprises needed to carefully examine any proposals would-be suppliers placed before them “so that we are able to decide whether here we are being taken for a ride, and check which are going to be beneficial for our country”.

“The fact of the matter is we need to be clear what we want; we need to have long-term planning; and we need to play hardball, because ultimately this is our money,” the minister said.

According to a department of transport magazine, handed to delegates at the conference, demand for road and rail transport in South Africa “far outstrips the capacity of government to fund these needs”.

It says the major transport challenge facing the country is that the bulk of its rail infrastructure had reached the end of its economic life.

“Continuing with a refurbishment programme alone has become counter-productive,” it states.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.