Infrastructure roll-out to cost R844bn

2012-10-19 14:24

Government’s new infrastructure roll-out will be different, government ministers told a conference.

“It (infrastructure roll-out) is economic, social and integrated infrastructure. It is about spatial transformation. Too much of our development has been plantation to port, mine to port,” said Deputy Public Works Minister Jeremy Cronin today.

“You can’t have sustainable development and industrialisation without infrastructure that is of a different kind.”

He told the Presidential Infrastructure Investment Conference in Sandton that government had adopted a radical and different approach to infrastructure roll-out, in order for new development to reflect a new society.

Infrastructure programmes would be coordinated by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC).

Cronin said such coordination would prevent the loss of jobs that was experienced just before the beginning of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Government would ensure there was social infrastructure, such as water, hospitals, schools, and housing, in order to prevent the kind of protests witnessed recently in the mining sector.

“It is also about urban transformation – infrastructure that does not repeat the apartheid urban patterns, but begins to create nonracial work cities and green cities.”

Government planned a R4 trillion infrastructure roll-out over the next 15 years, Cronin said.

PICC secretariat chairman Ebrahim Patel said although no specific numbers had been finalised, each project would unlock hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Over the next three years, government would spent R844 billion on infrastructure programmes.

Not all the funds would come from the fiscus. Other funding would come from fees and charges levied by state-owned entities such as Eskom and Transnet.

Patel said the R4 trillion included African regional projects, but excluded the Grand Inga Dam in the Democratic Republic of the Congo “because of its price tag”.

Within the same figure (R4 trillion) are private sector projects that are part of the strategic infrastructure projects, excluding those at concept stage.

Patel said the PICC had also developed a framework to deal with tender corruption. This would be made public once it was finalised.

Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Minister Collins Chabane said the infrastructure roll-out would attract new investment.

“The economic infrastructure which we proposed is meant to trigger investment. It is an enabling infrastructure which is going to trigger further investments.

“For the first time, we are rolling out infrastructure over all the regions of the country ... linked to specific economic potential which exists in those areas,” he said.

Once this infrastructure was started, the private sector would put in their own investment.

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said the new infrastructure roll-out would not just build roads and railway lines, but improve the country’s skills base.

This approach had already been adopted in the major state-owned enterprises.

“The skills development budget of Eskom has increased from about R800 million to R1.4 billion in this financial year. Transnet will be investing about R7.6 billion in skills development over the next seven years,” he said.

Delegates were expected to conduct closed sessions before President Jacob Zuma closed the conference later in the afternoon.

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