The government will in the coming months accelerate the execution of at least 50 infrastructure projects totalling more than R340 billion in investment value.
This was the key outcome of the inaugural meeting of the reconstituted Council of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission held on Thursday.
The fast-tracking of these projects forms part of the broader plan to reconstruct and recover SA’s ailing economy.
Chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa, the meeting which brought together Ministers, Premiers, Mayors and the South African Local Government Association aimed to ensure the effective integration of the country’s substantial infrastructure programme.
Ramaphosa said the focus of this administration is to strengthen infrastructure under one roof to ensure effective implementation.
“Our experience has been that infrastructure can only be sustainable if there are cooperation and partnership between all three spheres of government and if there is a common intent,” he said.
In terms of the Infrastructure Development Act of 2014, the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) acts through its council.
The council manages the growth, maintenance, application and monitoring of the National Infrastructure Plan; determines the priorities for infrastructure development; designates strategic integrated projects (SIPS) and ensures that infrastructure development, in respect of any SIP, is given priority in planning, approval and implementation.
The council also coordinates the identification of strategic partners with which to conclude agreements that seek to promote the objects of infrastructure development.
Furthermore, the council must ensure that infrastructure projects promote economic equality, social unity, adequate employment opportunities and skills development.
In keeping with this mandate, the council has agreed to speed up the implementation of projects in prioritised sectors such as human settlements, transport, energy, water and sanitation, agriculture and agro-processing, and digital infrastructure.
It confirmed a new approach to infrastructure build. It includes:
- Preventing corruption by way of transparent tender processes and stronger due diligence.
- Greater involvement of communities in its design and implementation.
- Emphasising local employment and procurement of tenders, and targeted involvement of SMEs.
- Blended financing through the Infrastructure Fund to compile more resources from the private sector, multilateral development banks and development finance institutions.
President Ramaphosa went on to emphasise the value of infrastructure development in response to Covid-19’s economic impact, restoring growth and creating jobs.
“Extraordinary measures are required to return us to a path of sustainable growth. Central to this effort is infrastructure construction and maintenance, which is the flywheel for economic growth and large-scale job creation,” he concluded.