South Africa’s infrastructure build programme is gaining pace, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Delivering the 2023 State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Cape Town City Hall, the President said inroads were being achieved through the work of the Infrastructure Fund and Infrastructure South Africa.
The two were established to support the country’s strategic infrastructure projects.
In this regard, the President said one of the greatest obstacles to infrastructure investment “is the lack of technical skills and project management capacity”.
He said: “To fix this, Infrastructure South Africa has been allocated R600 million for project preparation, specifically in rural and under-resourced areas.”
The support and planning mechanisms that government has put in place over several years, were “now starting to bear fruit in increased public investment in infrastructure”.
“By January this year, projects worth R232 billion were under construction and projects worth nearly R4 billion had been completed. The completed projects include new human settlements in Gauteng, road upgrades and the development of small harbours,” he said.
In a major development, the President said the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) had over the past three months awarded road construction contracts worth R18 billion.
“The construction of the Msikaba Bridge and Mtentu Bridge will be finished and make travel in the Eastern Cape much better,” he said.
This investment would substantially benefit the construction industry and enable large-scale job creation, skills development and poverty relief, especially in nearby rural communities.
“Last year, we said we would increase the construction of rural bridges as part of the Welisizwe programme, to enable residents to easily and safely reach schools, workplaces and amenities.
“Twenty-four bridges in KwaZulu-Natal are currently under construction and site preparations are being made for a further 24 bridges. In the telecommunications sector, the completion of the spectrum auction has unlocked new investment and contributed R14 billion to the fiscus,” the President said.
During 2023, government would migrate the remaining households to digital television signal and complete the switch-off of analogue transmission.
This, he said, would release valuable spectrum for the rollout of 5G mobile networks and will reduce the cost of data.
“These actions will bring us closer to our vision of affordable, high-speed internet access for all. In the State of the Nation Address last year, we said that we would concentrate our efforts on mobilising greater levels of investment, which is essential to growing the economy and creating jobs,” he said.
“We said that we would give impetus to the campaign that we embarked on nearly five years ago to raise R1.2 trillion in new investment. Last year, the fourth South Africa Investment Conference raised R367 billion in investment commitments, bringing our five-year investment target firmly within sight.”
President Ramaphosa will on 13 April 2023 hold the fifth South Africa Investment Conference.
At this conference, he said the country would set a new target to mobilise more than R2 trillion in new investment by 2028. – SAnews.gov.za