8 October 2012
The Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) will address the pace of infrastructure development in South Africa, which is lagging behind what the country needs, says Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
Motlanthe was speaking at an event held to mark 60 years since the establishment of the Southern African/German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Pretoria on Friday evening.
20-year pipeline of projects
He said the PICC’s mandate was to develop a 20-year infrastructure pipeline of projects to ensure that South Africa could plan ahead and move away from the “stop-start syndrome” around the building of infrastructure.
“This will allow us to ensure better financial mobilisation, provide greater certainty to the construction industry, give educational institutions a framework around which to plan their skills development strategies, and to provide a roadmap for investors and communities.”
The Deputy President added that the PICC’s infrastructure plan needed to include a focus on maintenance, so that “we do not only build new assets but also keep the state of the existing infrastructure base in good working order”.
The PICC is working on a plan involving 17 strategic integrated projects (SIPs) covering more than 150 specific infrastructure interventions countrywide.
These cover all the key platforms: rail, roads and ports; dams, irrigation systems and sanitation; new energy generation plants, transmission lines and distribution of electricity to households; communication and broadband infrastructure; social infrastructure in the form of hospitals, schools and universities; and regional infrastructure.
Motlanthe said that infrastructure development was a “jobs driver” in the government’s New Growth Path, which seeks to place the economy on a production-led trajectory with growth targeted through 10 key jobs drivers.
Germany SA’s 4th-largest export destination
“The New Growth Path will create substantially new business opportunities for global companies, including those belonging to the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry.”
He said Germany had become one of South Africa’s most important trading partners within the European Union, and was he fourth-largest export destination for South Africa in the world.
“Today there are approximately 700 German-owned companies or subsidiaries of German companies in South Africa … overall, South Africa’s exports to Germany have been showing an upward swing over the five-year period ending in 2011.”
He said that the two countries would continue expanding bilateral ties in areas such as energy, skills development, resource development and government-to-government co-operation.