Stakeholders discuss nuts and bolts of infrastructure plan

Monday, May 28, 2012

Pretoria - Stakeholders on Monday came together to add meat to one of the 17 projects announced in the country's major infrastructure programme.

At a meeting discussing the Strategic Integrated Project 6 (Sip 6): Integrated Municipal Infrastructure in Pretoria on Monday, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said Sip 6 came about after gaps and weaknesses in the implementation of basic infrastructure were noted by government.

Municipalities were noted to have limited technical abilities among others.

"We've got to move from lamenting problems to solving them," said Patel, adding that 23 districts have been selected to partake in Sip 6. The districts selected collectively have a population of about 20 million people.

In his State of the Nation Address in February, President Jacob Zuma announced a massive infrastructure development plan that lists17 Strategic Integrated Projects (Sips) that cut across rail, road, schools and hospitals construction.

The projects cover a range of economic and social infrastructure across all nine provinces, with an emphasis on poorer regions.

Sip 6 will deal with all basic and economic basic services, including the maintenance and fixing of roads, as well as access to digital services. Gauteng and the Western Cape provinces are excluded from Sip 6.

The implementation of Sip 6 is expected to contribute to job creation as well as to develop rural areas.
Speaking at the same meeting, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said good infrastructure could not be taken for granted but added that "a plan is as good as its implementation."

Earlier this month Sip 7 was launched by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Minister Richard Baloyi. Sip 7, the minister said, was expected to turn the country's major cities into sustainable economic hubs by unlocking the mineral beneficiation potential in the country's mining cities, speeding up the building of new human settlements closer to where people work and building an integrated public transport system that incorporates rail, taxis and buses.