Cape Town - Three key infrastructure projects have been launched by the government since February this year, President Jacob Zuma said today.
Zuma said since his announcement in the State of the Nation Address in February of a massive infrastructure programme to boost the economy and create jobs, the Northern Mineral Belt, the Saldanha-Northern Cape Development Corridor and Integrated Urban Space and Public Transport Programme, directed at the major cities, had been launched.
He said the public transport programme had so far been rolled out in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg.
The three key projects form part of a number of infrastructure projects which the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission (PICC) has in the pipeline.
Zuma said the 13 April Provincial and Local Government Conference of the PICC, which was attended by premiers, MECs and mayors, had yielded key results in that all the roleplayers had committed themselves to boosting infrastructure.
He said the conference had been held to provide an overview of the strategic infrastructure projects and mobilise key roleplayers.
The PICC has also being holding discussions with private sector investors and public agencies.
The Presidential Infrastructure Investor Conference would be held before the end of the year.
He said while rolling out new infrastructure in the country, a balance would be retained between protecting the environment and developing the country.
"We need infrastructure to develop [and grow our] economy and we need of course to balance this with the environment," he said, adding that there would also be transparency in the procurement process.
Turning to the help South Africa was giving to developing infrastructure in other African countries - through the Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative - Zuma said the South African government had conducted a survey on roads and railways to determine what needed to be added or revamped.
Zuma said progress had already been made, for example in freeing the movement of trucks in Kazangula in Zambia.
"The border post was redesigned which improved, among others, the processing of documents and other administrative bottlenecks," he said.
Beitbridge had also been identified as a key border crossing that needed to be improved.
Zuma said one of the challenges the initiative faced was improving co-ordination among member states.
The government was also looking at setting up funding mechanisms and to boost involvement from the private sector.
DA member Tim Harris said South Africa needed to boost the number of private-public partnerships at home as an example to other members of regional groupings - pointing out that only 6.2% of public expenditure in 2010 was channelled through public-private partnerships.