Government outlines key sectors for infrastructure plan to create jobs
But with hundreds of billions needed, private sector must step up, says De Lille
The government is betting on multibillion-rand infrastructure projects to boost job creation amid an economic slump made worse by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
A report presented by the head of the investment and infrastructure office in the presidency, Sputla Ramokgopa, and public works minister Patricia De Lille shows how the government is planning to invest billions of rands between now and 2021, in the hope of creating jobs.
The report details some of the plans which were earlier tabled at the Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium, hosted by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday.
It outlines 15 projects, expected to be completed by the government and the private sector, at a total cost of R379.7bn. The projects are expected to create 769,540 job opportunities.
But Ramokgopa cautioned that some of the projects mentioned in the presentation might not be realised, as they were still only in the conceptual phase.
The 15 projects are part of the government's broader infrastructure programme, which aims to attract over R700bn across various sectors and parts of the country.
Ramokgopa said there were also around 177 other projects they were looking at, which would see investment into a number of sectors in the economy.
He first identified four main sectors, which he called “network industries': water and sanitation, energy, transport and ICT infrastructure.
“The network industries are important because they have got a superior multiplier, in fact they give you an opportunity to introduce efficiencies in the economy, they open more corridors and they allow municipalities to put in place what you call land based financing mechanisms,'' said Ramokgopa.
He said the government would also focus on agriculture because of the number of rural provinces and the sector's ability to drive job creation. Another focus would be on the human settlements sector, with the aim to allow the private sector to participate to deliver housing in the low-cost housing market.
Speaking to MPs on Wednesday, De Lille said the government's infrastructure plan could not be funded by the fiscus alone.
“It became very clear ... that the bulk of infrastructure - the fiscus will never be able to fund the programme alone and therefore we have to go look outside for further assistance from the private sector,'' said De Lille.
The minister said the plan was a new way of dealing with infrastructure. She said the government has also put together a skills database, where they were looking at bringing in skilled young professionals.