President Cyril Ramaphosa told Parliament on Thursday afternoon that investors, including the finance industry, had responded enthusiastically to government's renewed commitment to investing in infrastructure announced in his State of the Nation Address last week.
Ramaphosa was replying to the legislature's debate on his SONA, held in the National Assembly chamber on Tuesday and Wednesday.
During the SONA, Ramaphosa announced pipeline potential investments of over R700 billion over the next 10 years, "including both government and non-government contributions".
Ramaphosa told the sitting that he met with the pension fund industry and the finance sector earlier in the week to work towards developing infrastructure development financing agreements. He said this was done to prioritise the development of infrastructure that South Africans needed.
"Earlier this week, we met with representatives of several finance institutions – both domestic and international – who were enthusiastic about the potential for infrastructure development in South Africa," he said.
Ramaphosa said a huge part of the SONA was addressing the "immediate and pressing task" of inclusive growth that government hoped to achieve for South Africans.
"The substantial infrastructure investment that we announced last week will be a catalyst for economic activity and will make our economy more competitive. But it will also make a direct and immediate contribution to lowering the cost of living and improving the quality of life for millions," said Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa said Gauteng Economic Development MEC Kgosientso Ramokgopa and Minister of Public Works Patricia de Lille have brought together professionals, including engineers, to rebuild capacity to raise the R700 billion. He said he received a firm commitment to match government's contribution.
"They are committed not only to work with us to develop blended financing options, but also to mobilise the skills we need to prepare and execute infrastructure projects. I agree with Honourable Members who say that we need to be more innovative in our approach to infrastructure through, for example, build, operate and transfer schemes – where we mobilise private capital to meet a public need," Ramaphosa said.
During last week's address, Ramaphosa said the second South Africa Investment Conference in 2019 saw 70 companies make investment commitments of R364 billion in industries like advanced manufacturing, agro-processing, infrastructure, mining, services, tourism and hospitality.