Infrastructure Plan Should Not Be Impacted By Slowdown

Pretoria - South Africa 's massive infrastructure plan should not be allowed to be impacted upon by the global economic slowdown or derailed by a lack of funding, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Tuesday.

In the last year, the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) has launched the intergovernmental forums of the 18 Strategic Infrastructure Projects known as SIPs.

Addressing parliamentarians, Gigaba gave an update of some of the projects in the infrastructure plan.

The infrastructure project aimed at unlocking the Northern Mineral Belt with Waterberg as the catalyst has to date shown that despite recent labour unrest challenges, Eskom's Medupi power plant was 58% complete. A total R60.4 billion has been spent to date and a total of 15 837 jobs created.

The project focused on the Durban-Free State-Gauteng logistics and industrial corridor and has shown that the new multi-product fuel pipeline is on schedule, with spending on this project to date being at R16.9 billion and 2 490 jobs having been created.

The procurement of rolling stock for general freight is at 73% completion, with a total spend-to-date of R2.7 billionn and 159 jobs created.

Gigaba said that 54% local content on the manufacturing of locomotives has been secured, which will strengthen Transnet Engineering's manufacturing capabilities and contribute to job creation and skills development, among others.

Additionally, a feasibility study and environmental impact assessment on the Durban Port Terminal's Pier 1 upgrade will be completed in 2014 and R70 million has to date been spent on this project.

The minister noted that continued investment spending by public corporations and the broader public sector has contributed positively to economic growth and development.
Among the lessons that coordination, integration and focus are important to infrastructure development as well as the roll-out of infrastructure, new infrastructure should not be seized to be built.

"We must never cease building new infrastructure and planning future capacity so that we never have to build new capacity under pressure when the need is urgent," said Gigaba.

Additionally, existing infrastructure should be properly maintained so that it yields a longer lifespan.

"Of paramount importance is that we cannot allow this massive investment programme to be impacted by the global economic slowdown or derailed by lack of funding," he said.

On the South-Eastern node corridor development, manganese ore rail to Ngqura project which is intended to increase rail capacity to increase the South African export of manganese from five to 16 million tons has not yet commenced but is in final planning phase.

On the integrated urban space and public transport system project, Johannesburg's Rea Vaya has created 1185 jobs with a spend to date of R1.218 million and Cape Town MyCiti has created 635 jobs with a spend of R2.923 million.

The employment of the youth would begin to be addressed through the roll-out of infrastructure as they would be absorbed into employment and skills-development programmes.