Mabuza’s Italian trip yields R10bn in infrastructure investment

2015-05-12 17:22
David Mabuza. Picture: Buks Viljoen

David Mabuza. Picture: Buks Viljoen

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Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza’s trip to Italy last week has yielded R10 billion in infrastructure investment capital for the construction of hospitals and schools.

Mabuza today said he had signed an agreement with SACE, an Italian company that finances businesses to invest abroad, which will be involved in the projects.

He said SACE would invest in revamping five hospitals – Mapulaneng (Acornhoek), Middelburg, Bethal, Mmametlake (Hammanskraal) and Ermelo – while more schools would be built in the Bushbuckridge area.

Mabuza said SACE would partner with local companies to build the hospitals and schools and government would lease the buildings for a particular period until the money was repaid.

“It is government’s responsibility to provide healthcare and education with limited resources. So, we have to find a way to make the resources bigger and find private money,” said Mabuza.

“We will lease the buildings and pay them off over time. Otherwise, it will take us 100 years to build all the schools we need at the pace we’re doing if the private sector is not involved. The state-of-the-art boarding schools we have built (in Amsterdam, Nkomazi and Machadodorp) cost over R100 million, and with SACE on board, we can build schools faster and pay later,” he added.

A visit to a public-private-partnership healthcare facility in Bari, Mabuza said, was an eye-opener to the delegation.

“The state-of-the-art hospital is built using private sector capital and expertise. Government pays an agreed amount per annum over a period of time. Once that loan is paid off, government can inherit an asset that has been well looked after, well-resourced and highly effective with all state-of-the-art equipment. These health facilities are built over the period of two years. In South Africa, a 600-bed healthcare facility would take many years to build,” said Mabuza.

» Doctor exchange programme

Mabuza said the investment-seeking trip was successful and he had signed an agreement with the governor of Puglia province, Nich Vendola, to co-operate in agriculture, healthcare and human capital training.

As a result of this agreement, Mpumalanga will be sending students to study medicine in Puglia, Italy, and also invite qualified doctors from Puglia to close the high number of vacancies in local hospitals.

Puglia province produces 350 doctors per year, said Mabuza.

» Model of co-operatives

The premier said he was impressed with the model of co-operatives in Italy and would apply the same model in Mpumalanga.

“The difference with their co-operatives and ours is the value chain. The co-ops there produce, package and market products. Small farmers own the shops that sell the products. This is a model we will use to revitalise the economy,” said Mabuza.

» Another bilateral agreement

Mabuza also signed a bilateral agreement with the Lombardia province in Milan. The agreement includes co-operation in energy, healthcare, water, roads, new town development, education and the manufacturing.

Mabuza said he was determined to get Mpumalanga to develop its own renewable (solar, biomass and wind) resources and hydro-power stations to alleviate the power shortages.

“We’re not yet done. We’ll soon go on investment missions in China and the Middle East,” he said.

Read more on:    david mabuza  |  mpumalanga  |  infrastructure

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