More funding for infrastructure projects


24 October 2013

South Africa is to channel additional public funding into a number of priority infrastructure projects in the transport, communications and energy sectors, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan told Parliament on Wednesday.

Presenting his medium term budget policy statement in Cape Town, Gordhan said that billions of rands would be spent on the country’s digital broadcast migration project, rolling out new train coaches, and refurbishing research facilities for nuclear research.

As expected, Gordhan allocated additional funding to support the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s procurement of new rolling stock. The agency plans to purchase more than 300 six-car trains over the next decade, with initial deliveries expected in 2015/16.

More investment was expected in other areas of transport, Gordhan said.

“Under the oversight of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission, the rate of public investment will gather further momentum next year and beyond, supporting social delivery, industrialisation and skills development.

“Projects that will get under way soon include a new dam in the Eastern Cape, rehabilitation of the main roadway between the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, and a new coal-fired power station.”

The Department of Transport, meanwhile, is reviewing the impact of the country’s taxi recapitalisation programme, and Gordhan said that a portion of the programme’s funding would be delayed until the end of the spending period.

The government has prioritised South Africa’s delayed migration from analogue to digital TV signals to improve broadcast quality and accessibility in rural areas while bringing the country in line with international standards.

Gordhan said that money would be made available to roll out set-top boxes – for converting digital to analogue signals for older TV sets – to more than 5-million low-income households in preparation for the switch to digital television in 2015.