SA forges ahead with infrastructure plan

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Public Works and Infrastructure Minister, Patricia de Lille, says construction has begun on many of the 62 projects of the National Infrastructure Plan (NIP).

The projects, the Minister said in a briefing in Pretoria on Wednesday, have been gazetted as Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPS), in terms of the Infrastructure Development Act. This is to ensure that these projects follow an expedited path to implementation.

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“Many of these projects are already under construction, providing much needed jobs for our people, helping to revive the struggling construction sector,” De Lille said.

In approving the Infrastructure Investment Plan in May 2020, Cabinet also approved the establishment of Infrastructure South Africa (ISA), which is responsible for raising additional funding for the projects, and driving efforts to ensure that implementation is expedited and projects are completed.

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ISA, which is headed by Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, has over the past few months diligently worked on a long-term plan for infrastructure development across the country — the National Infrastructure Plan (NIP) 2050.

About R6.224 trillion is estimated to be needed in infrastructure finance between 2016 and 2040.

De Lille said the NIP 2050 aims to ensure that there is a long-term overview regarding infrastructure, in order to drive economic and social transformation to achieve NDP goals and beyond.

“There is a pressing need for a shared long-term vision and a robust institutional platform to enable sustained and continuous improvement in public infrastructure delivery.”

De Lille said some of the most important requirements of the NIP 2050 are already being implemented.

Buy-in from the sector

On 4 August 2021, Cabinet approved the gazetting of the National Infrastructure Plan 2050 for public comment. The NIP 2050 was subsequently gazetted for public comment on 10 August 2021, with the closing date for submission of written comments set for 17 September 2021.

De Lille said to complement the process of written comments, Infrastructure South Africa held a series of public consultation sessions with various stakeholders in the infrastructure sector.

Following these engagements, there was a need to consult more broadly with additional stakeholders.

A total of 85 written comments were received from departments, State-owned enterprises, implementing agents, advisory bodies, civil society organisations, institutes of higher learning, research organisations and professional bodies, including Business Unity South Africa and Business Leadership South Africa.

“There is huge support in terms of the development of a long-term infrastructure planning framework. Inputs made to NIP 2050 were aimed to strengthen and enhance the plan,” De Lille said.

Ramokgopa said 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, regulation 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.”

Ramokgopa said the South African government aims to expand infrastructure investment in support of economic and social objectives.

“This move is also meant to act as an economic stimulus. Since 2019, several initiatives have been launched to improve infrastructure investment, in support of economic and social objectives, and to stimulate the economy,” he said.

NIP 2050

NIP 2050 will be developed in two iterations and draws from, amongst others, the National Development Plan and National Spatial Development Framework.

On 11 March 2022, the first iteration of the NIP was gazetted after extensive and rigorous public consultation, and final approval by Cabinet on 9 March 2022.

The first iteration focuses on energy, water, freight transport and digital infrastructure.

ISA will also develop a second iteration of the NIP 2050, which focuses on distributed infrastructure and related municipal services.

The goal of the NIP 2050 is to create a foundation for achieving the NDP’s vision of inclusive growth.

The NIP 2050 identifies the most critical actions needed for sustained improvement in public infrastructure delivery. The NIP 2050 will have impact in the short-term, but with longer-term imperatives also in view. – SAnews.gov.za

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