By Jessie Taylor


Construction has begun on more than 60 infrastructure projects, which are set to provide South Africa with the boost it needs to kickstart its economy. 

The 62 projects fall under the National Infrastructure Plan and have been gazetted as Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPS) under the Infrastructure Development Act. This classification allows the implementation of the projects to be expedited.


Investing in economic potential

The National Infrastructure Plan (NIP) falls under the government’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP).

The ERRP aims to build a new economy and unleash South Africa’s economic potential by focusing on four broad interventions – infrastructure investment, energy generation, employment stimulus and the industrialisation of the South African manufacturing sector.

The ERRP has the potential to create more than 800 000 jobs and unlock more than R1 trillion in infrastructure investment over the next four years, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“Infrastructure has immense potential to stimulate investment and growth, to develop other economic sectors and create sustainable employment both directly and indirectly. We have developed a robust pipeline of projects that will completely transform the landscape of our cities, towns and rural areas,” President Ramaphosa says.

To facilitate the ease of implementing these projects, the government has established Infrastructure South Africa (ISA) and the Infrastructure Fund with the capacity to prepare and package projects. Fast-tracking the implementation process for the 62 projects will enable around R340 billion in new investment.

Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille estimates that addressing and maintaining South Africa’s public infrastructure through the 62 SIPs could cost around R6 trillion.

“Ultimately, infrastructure can be funded only by two sources: government and the private sector, with the government’s contribution from taxes and user payments. While finance can be raised from multiple sources, its availability and cost depend on the reliability of funding plans to service and ultimately repay any finance,” explains Minister De Lille.

Many of the projects are already under construction, providing much-needed jobs and helping to revive the struggling construction sector, Minister De Lille said.

The projects involve all three spheres of government, state-owned entities and departments. They will see the building of bridges, water systems, road and rail upgrades, student and social housing.

ISA has become the single-entry point for all infrastructure in the country. The ISA coordinates, monitors and raises funding for the SIPS across the country. This is no small among of funding – the government committed R100 billion over ten years to the Infrastructure Fund in 2020.


A coherent plan for SA’s infrastructure future

ISA, headed by Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, has been instrumental in establishing the National Infrastructure Plan 2050. This plan, developed over a period of six months working closely with sector specialists and other stakeholders, ensures a long-term overview of infrastructure with a view to driving economic and social transformation.

Dr Ramokgopa says the NIP 2050 targets the provision of energy, water, transport and digital communications.

“The NDP sets a target that more than 90% of the population should enjoy access to grid-connected or off-grid electricity by 2030. To realise this vision, South Africa’s energy system will be supported by effective policies, institutions, governance systems, regulations and, where appropriate, competitive markets. The NDP envisages a freight transport sector that facilitates domestic and cross-border movement across supply chains to enable industrialisation, diversification and trade and development,” Dr Ramokgopa says.

The NIP 2050 aims to develop a coherent plan for the development of the country’s infrastructure networks and is aligned with the vision of the National Development Plan (NDP) 2030. The NIP’s top priority is to ensure the foundations are in place to achieve the transformation needed for inclusive growth. Infrastructure investment addresses spatial integration, expansion of urban economies and rural development and revitalisation.

Progress can already be measured, says Minister De Lille, in the unbundling of Eskom and the state-owned enterprise’s commitment to transition to clean energy generation.

In addition, Transnet is the process of introducing third-party operators into its branch network and main lines and has a series of reforms planned for port services. These are expected to dramatically improve the freight transport services in rail and ports, with the added value of reducing pressure on the roads.

SANRAL has also made significant progress in its road projects around the country, with nine construction projects valued at R18 billion in progress.

“Infrastructure development is critical to attaining South Africa’s long-term economic and social goals. The NIP 2050 will ensure that the foundations for achieving the National Development Plan vision for inclusive growth are supported. The NIP 2050 offers a strategic vision and plan that links top NDP objectives to actionable steps and intermediate outcomes,” said Minister De Lille.


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