South Africa

President deals with infrastructure questions in parliament


Published

President Jacob Zuma attended parliament yesterday to answer questions posed by members. He gave two answers in relation to infrastructure projects which help to clarify the government position as it moves forward on a massive infrastructure programme.

The questions and answers are in full below as published on the presidential website:

Question:

What (a) has been the progress with the infrastructure programme of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) since South Africa’s appointment as the coordinator and (b) challenges have been encountered thus far? No 1322E

Reply:

The Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative, falling within the ambit of the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development, is aimed at achieving regional integration and to improve trade amongst African states.

Trade in the continent is constrained by a number of factors. These include the inadequacy of infrastructure such as road, rail and communication networks, differences in trade regimes, restrictive customs procedures, as well as inadequate skills and finance.

The Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative committee comprises eight Heads of State and Government under South Africa’s leadership. It cuts across various industry sectors such as Transport, Energy, Technology, Water and Sanitation as well as Agriculture. South Africa champions the North South Corridor road and rail projects.

This Corridor stretches from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, across the Republic of Congo, Zambia, Malawi, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique to South Africa. We have conducted an assessment of the roads and the railways to get a sense of what needs to be fixed in order to allow the free flow of goods, people and services. We are making progress.

For example, we have freed the movement of trucks in Kazangula in Zambia. The border post was redesigned which improved among others the processing of documents and other administrative bottlenecks.We have also identified Beit Bridge as another area that has huge constraints.

The traffic jam slows down the movement of people and trucks between Zimbabwe and South Africa, which increases the costs of moving goods.The three Regional Economic Communities – Southern African Development Community (SADC), East African Community and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), are key partners in improving road and rail infrastructure, as well as issues pertaining to border posts and ports in their respective regions and countries.

We have identified them as key partners in this programme.

Amongst the challenges is to further improve and strengthen coordination amongst the member states. Other issues we are looking at include funding methods for the projects and to get more private sector investments into the projects.

We are committed to make this succeed given the importance of infrastructure for Africa’s growth and development.

Question:

(1) What was the outcome of the first Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission conference, held on 13 April 2012, to discuss the infrastructure development plan that he announced during his 2012 state of the nation address;

(2) When does he (a) intend to convene the Presidential Infrastructure Summit to discuss the implementation of the infrastructure plan with potential investors and social partners and (b) when does he envisage that initial projects forming part of the plan will be launched, in view of escalating construction and financing costs? No 1446E

Reply:

The Provincial and Local Government Conference of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) was held on 13 April 2012 and was hosted by the deputy President as the deputy chairperson of the PICC.

The conference was convened to share information on the infrastructure plan, to provide an overview of the strategic infrastructure projects which were announced in the State of the Nation Address (SoPA), and to mobilise support and commitment from key role players.

It was attended by Ministers, Premiers, Mayors and officials. The conference was a resounding success and achieved its objectives. The delegates welcomed and supported the infrastructure plan as a necessary and timely intervention.

The conference resulted in a greater understanding of the infrastructure plan by delegates and a commitment by all spheres of government and public enterprises to work together to ensure the successful implementation thereof.

All participants committed themselves to play their respective roles to implement the infrastructure plan urgently. Three Intergovernmental Forums have subsequently been convened to launch specific infrastructure projects.

To date we have launched three projects, the Northern Mineral Belt, the Saldanha-Northern Cape Development Corridor and the Integrated Urban Space and Public Transport Programme, directed at the major cities in the country. So far it is being implemented in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Ethekwini.

Work is going well towards launching the remaining projects. The PICC secretariat has held discussions with private sector investors as well as public agencies to partner government in this important initiative. The Presidential infrastructure investor conference is scheduled to take place before the end of the year.

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