Infrastructure development a catalyst to economic growth

Thursday, February 12, 2015

By More Matshediso

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma says the National Infrastructure Development programme continues to be a key job driver and catalyst for economic growth.

“Water is a critical resource for economic growth and a better life. Several projects aimed at providing water for industrial and household use are in the implementation or planning phases around the country,” he said during the State of the Nation Address on Thursday.

He said major projects include Umzimvubu Water project in the Eastern Cape, Jozini Dam in Umkhanyakude in KwaZulu-Natal and projects in Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga and phase one of the Mokolo Crocodile Water Augmentation in Limpopo.

Government to improve water supply

“Progress is being made to improve the water supply to areas that had been affected by shortages, such as  Makana District Municipality in the Eastern Cape, Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality in North West and Giyani in Limpopo where we celebrated the delivery of water to 55 villages in October last year,” President Zuma said.

He urged all South Africans to conserve water. “Every drop counts. The country loses seven billion rand a year to water losses.”

To mitigate this challenge, government through the Department of Water and Sanitation will train 15 000 artisans or plumbers who will fix leaking taps in their local communities.

Expanding transport networks

President Zuma said the infrastructure programme continues to expand transport networks and to improve roads which augurs well for economic growth.

“The Department of Transport will spend about nine billion rand on the Provincial Roads Maintenance Grant or the Sihamba Sonke Programme and 11 billion rand on upgrading and maintaining roads which are not tolled.

“Over six billion rand will be spent in 13 cities on planning, building and operating integrated public transport networks during this financial year,” President Zuma said.

Infrastructure in schools, higher education institutions

He said government will also continue to improve the infrastructure in schools and higher education institutions to create a conducive environment for learning and teaching.

He said through the Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative which is part of the national infrastructure plan, 92 new schools have been completed to date and 108 are under construction.

About 342 schools have received water for the first time.

He said 351 schools have received decent sanitation while 288 have been connected to electricity.

He said government has identified 16 sites for the construction of 12 new Technical and Vocational Education and Training College campuses and the refurbishment of two existing campuses.

“Work is also continuing to establish the three brand new universities, Sol Plaatjie in the Northern Cape, the University of Mpumalanga and the Sefako Makgatho Allied and Health Sciences University,” President Zuma said.

Housing

He said government continues to deliver houses to people. “By 30 September 2014, a total number of more than 50 000 houses were delivered in the subsidy and affordable housing segments. 

“Government will also provide 5000 housing opportunities for Military veterans. Government will also work to eradicate the backlog of title deeds for pre and post 1994 housing stock,” he said. - SAnews.gov.za

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