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Minister emphasises need for speedy implementation of infrastructure projects

12th May 2023

By: Natasha Odendaal

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Sihle Zikalala says there is an urgent need to speed up the implementation of infrastructure projects to achieve economic and social transformation.

The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI), he says, is a key role-player in South Africa’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan and is at the centre of driving the implementation of South Africa’s blueprint, the National Development Plan (NDP).

“The message that we have sent to the department and all our stakeholders is that we must usher in a new era of delivering projects on time and within budget, and our projects must be of a good quality,” he told the media during a briefing on April 25.

“The department must not be associated with poor infrastructure delivery and spending. We intend to move swiftly in responding to project delays and implementing interventions to remove obstacles hindering infrastructure delivery in South Africa.”

Over the past few weeks, the DPWI, which is focused on building new and upgrading and repurposing existing infrastructure, as well as expediting the maintenance of neglected infrastructure, has been taking stock of various departmental operations and conducting visits to some of the sites where the department is doing work.

Through the Infrastructure Investment Plan, the public sector is projected to spend R903-billion on infrastructure over the medium term, with the largest portion of this, about R448-billion, to be spent by State-owned companies, public entities and through public- private partnerships.

The total value of projects completed, mostly roads and human settlement projects, is R21.4-billion, while the total value of projects currently in construction is R313.5-billion. Projects in procurement total R295.2-billion, says Zikalala.

This followed the gazetting of 88 Strategic Infrastructure Projects (SIPs) – 62 projects in July 2020 and a further 26 in December 2023.

A number of these projects have been completed, including various road projects in KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State and Limpopo, while housing projects in Gauteng and many other projects across the country are in the construction and procurement phases, Zikalala outlines.

These include Phase 2 of the Welisizwe Rural Bridges programme, which started in April.

“We plan to build 96 bridges in total and three per quarter to enable rural communities in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, the Free State and the North West to safely access schools, workplaces and public amenities. R3.8-billion is allocated for the programme over the medium term.”

The construction of enabling bulk infrastructure, such as roads and water components for the Lufhereng mixed-use development in Gauteng, will start next month. It will support the development of 31 000 mixed- housing units.

Access roads for the Umzimvubu water project in the Eastern Cape are nearing completion, while the construction of the Ntabelanga dam, which is a part of this project, will start later this year.

In the Western Cape, site establishment for the Clanwilliam dam-raising project has been completed and all surface works and 15% of all concrete works will be completed by year-end.

Through Infrastructure South Africa, a R300-billion pipeline of green hydrogen projects is undergoing project preparation support to make it ready for implementation.

Among the projects is the Boegoebaai Green Hydrogen, in the Northern Cape, which will support the Boegoebaai Port and Rail Programme and has the potential to create an additional 35 000 work opportunities once it starts and all feasibility studies have been completed.

The Prieska Power Reserve Project, in the Northern Cape, is a catalytic project that will start producing green hydrogen and ammonia in 2026, with more than 10 500 jobs expected to be created during the construction and operational phases.

Meanwhile, the upgrade of the South African National Roads Agency Limited’s (Sanral’s) N3 Highway is progressing well, with most key milestones having been achieved.

“We anticipate work on the upgrade of the N3 Ashburton Interchange to Murray Road and the capacity improvement on the N2/N3 EB Cloete Interchange to start in May 2023,” Zikalala continues.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

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