President Jacob Zuma says infrastructure remains critical to South Africa’s development goals adding that it is an essential component of service delivery.
“It provides the physical platform for economic development by making available energy, transport facilities, communication and water to industries identified in the New Growth Path framework adopted by Cabinet, and so it spurs new investment and jobs,” Zuma said replying to oral questions in the National Council of Provinces on Tuesday.
Infrastructure also creates jobs and if properly structured, remained a major source for new industrialisation.
Zuma was asked to explain whether the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) has met since its establishment in September 2011 and whether it had identified any projects and infrastructure initiatives in all provinces for the 2011-2012 financial year. He was also asked to give details on the Moloto Rail Corridor.
He said The PICC structures met on numerous occasions. The Council convened two formal meetings, the Management Committee has met on more than ten occasions and the Secretariat meets at least fortnightly.
In January this year, the Cabinet Lekgotla, which included Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Premiers and SALGA representatives, received a report on the draft Infrastructure Plan and endorsed the proposed Plan. The Plan was then formally adopted by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission Council meeting in February this year.
Zuma said the Infrastructure Plan will focus on local procurement of components, building materials and construction equipment, in order to support local industry.
“The Infrastructure Plan has one Strategic Integrated Projects focused on African regional integration, because South Africa’s future prosperity is tied to expanding the African market.
It provides for a 20-year project pipeline and includes projects in the 2012/13 financial year and beyond. The Plan sets out 17 Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs), containing road, rail, port, water, sanitation, energy, communications, health and education infrastructural projects. Every province is covered by one or more Strategic Integrated Projects.
Zuma said the Moloto Corridor would be developed into the idea beyond simply a transport of day labour from Mpumalanga to Gauteng.
A technical team has identified the need to use the corridor to support agro-processing industries among others. Details of this will be pursued further at local level by the team which has been set up for Strategic Integrated Project 1, launched on 13 April 2012.
The President also noted that, two weeks ago the PICC convened a Provincial and Local Government Conference at which details of the 17 Strategic Integrated Projects were presented to MECs, Executive Mayors, Directors-General, as well as other senior government officials.