Government's massive infrastructure drive on track - Mabuza

Deputy President David Mabuza. (Jan Gerber/News24)
Deputy President David Mabuza. (Jan Gerber/News24)
  • Deputy President David Mabuza has commended Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille's efforts to root out corruption in her department.
  • Mabuza said the government has taken several measures to ensure money meant for infrastructure projects are spent correctly.
  • He was answering questions in the National Council of Provinces on Thursday.

Deputy President David Mabuza says the government's ambitious infrastructure plans will not become the bedrock for looting.

Mabuza told MPs during a question-and-answer session in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Thursday all infrastructure plans and ventures would be led by capable and skilled individuals.

He also commended Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille's efforts to root out corruption.

"We welcome that developments and we are going to support the minister. This infrastructure initiative is initiated at the Presidency, driven by the president himself.

"Support will be brought in to support the fund so that we bring in capable people to look after the fund. We are also bringing capable professionals in the build environment to advise and support government."

Mabuza said all plans have been carefully looked at and planned.

READ | SA eyes green infrastructure bond worth tens of billions in bid to drive growth

In July, the private sector committed R340 billion to fund some of the 276 projects announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa during the Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium (SIDS) in June.

So far, 50 of the SIDS projects as well as 12 special projects have received funding commitments.

Of the R340 billion needed to develop the projects, the necessary sovereign guarantees and approvals for increased borrowing have been secured, and funding has been agreed with private sector banks and development organisations.

According to Business Insider SA, the government gazetted details of 51 infrastructure projects that have been declared strategically important, and will be fast-tracked to secure the necessary approvals (including municipal rezoning and water rights) within 56 days.

Many of the projects - particularly in housing - will be financed by private sector partners.

ANALYSIS | Are Ramaphosa's climate change plans just more sloganeering?

DA MP Timothy Brauteseth asked Mabuza how the government intended preventing corruption when implementing these massive projects.

"The implementing entity, Infrastructure South Africa, will be housed in the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure.

"Given the department's seeming inability to provide sufficient detail on this venture, coupled with the extremely sketchy history of clean infrastructure expenditure, for example Nkandla and more recently the Beitbridge border fence project fiasco, what measures have you taken to ensure that this entity will be established with person with integrity, skill, knowledge in order to avoid this fund becoming another looting feast for connected hyenas in the national democratic revolution mafia," he said referring to the ANC.

NCOP chairperson Amos Masondo ordered Brauteseth to withdraw his mafia comments.

In response, Mabuza said: "That cannot deter us from going forward from investing in our infrastructure and growing the opportunities for our country, the economy and allowing more people to find employment.

"By allowing this infrastructure programme to be upscaled, we are going to have more and more of our people employed. We are mindful of the past [mistakes] and it only serves as a platform that can help us to improve the way we do business."

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