Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia de Lille, has shed light on 50 new infrastructure projects that the South African government plans to break ground on to boost employment throughout the country.
As per Business Tech‘s report, De Lille unveiled 50 new infrastructure projects to be spread out across four provinces in South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Limpopo & Northern Cape), which will make improvements to Transport, Housing, Water and Energy infrastructure. It will also create The Space Infrastructure Hub for National Development, which would allow for the development of satellite infrastructure and mapping systems.
“The severe economic recession, together with the Covid-19 pandemic, has now placed an added urgency on us to navigate a new normal,” De Lille said.
“In this new normal, there is an even greater need to partner in the investment and implementation of infrastructure that will facilitate social and economic growth in a workable and purposeful way.
The 50 projects (and an additional 12 special projects) were gazetted on Friday as Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs) in terms of the Infrastructure Development Act. It will incorporate some 15 transport infrastructure projects worth R47 billion, which will create upwards of 50,000 new jobs, 11 water and sanitation projects worth R106 billion, which will create over 25,000 new jobs, and 18 human settlement projects worth R138 billion, creating 190,000 jobs.
Furthermore, two agricultural and agro-processing projects worth R7 billion will create 4,000 job opportunities, the single digital infrastructure project will create more than 700 job opportunities at the cost of R4 billion and the three electricity infrastructure projects, worth R58 billion, will create an additional 6,000 jobs. In total, the 50 projects will cost R360 billion and create 275,700 jobs.
“In South Africa, infrastructure investment, together with the use of public land and public buildings, is a critical lever to achieve spatial and economic justice by connecting our people, integrating our communities and bringing people closer to work opportunities,” De Lille added.
It is an ambitious effort to propel South Africa out of the downward economic spiral that has been gathering momentum for years and has spun out of control with the COVID-19 pandemic. In a country with high levels of unemployment, job creation will always be welcomed, while improvements to infrastructure will improve worker efficiency throughout the country, particularly in rural regions where such infrastructure is currently non-existent.
However, questions will be raised over the ever-present hand of corruption which has disrupted far more than its fair share of ambitious infrastructure projects that South Africa has undertaken in the past. De Lille has claimed that a new, strict oversight process will be put in place regarding the awarding of tenders and other processes, making details of the projects publicly available and open to scrutiny.