KZN sets up infrastructure crack team

Friday, August 5, 2011

Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal government has come up with an innovative way to address ineffective spending patterns on infrastructure.

KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize and MEC for Finance Ina Cronje on Thursday launched the establishment of the Provincial Infrastructure Crack Team.

The provincial government realised it needed to step up its infrastructure delivery. Spending on infrastructure, said Cronje, is a catalyst for economic growth and job creation.

Therefore, an 18-member team of experts in various technical disciplines, was identified to assist the provincial government to ensure that value for money and on-budget spending for infrastructure allocations are guaranteed.

The team will work for a three-year period and as needed by the provincial government.

"We want to spend all the money that is set aside for infrastructure in the province wisely. We want the province to become a model for spending wisely and correctly on infrastructure," said Cronje.

The province has R12 billion for infrastructure this year and is also getting R6.1 billion on infrastructure conditional grants from national government.

"We want to make sure that not even a single cent goes back to national government. This will happen if our planning capacity and monitoring processes are sound and existent," said Cronje.

"After carefully following all the supply chain management prescripts and adjudication processes, Provincial Treasury identified 18 companies with expertise and extensive experience in areas which include, inter alia, engineering, architecture, law and project management.

"This is a pool of infrastructure experts that will assist the departments and the municipalities as and when the need arises," said the MEC.

This is indicative of government's commitment to support and nurture emerging contractors in particular.

This is also to ensure that government gets value for money, quality and that skills on infrastructure are transferred to constructors working with government.

Mkhize said what has been crippling the delivery system was infrastructure budgets that were not being spent.

"We then resolved as cabinet to form a team of this nature to address this weakness. The Provincial Treasury was therefore entrusted by cabinet to run with this project and we are proud to witness it getting off the ground. I wish the members of the Crack team all the best," he said.

The cost of the project has not yet been established as the Finance Department and the team still have to sort out administrative details.