New infrastructure projects worth R180bn are raring to go - Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivering the keynote address at the official opening of the Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium South Africa (SIDSSA24) in Cape Town. Photo: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivering the keynote address at the official opening of the Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium South Africa (SIDSSA24) in Cape Town. Photo: GCIS

Published Mar 20, 2024


The planning of 12 new big infrastructure projects valued at more than R180 billion are being prioritised by the government this year, so that public and private sector funding can bring these projects to reality, President Cyril Ramaphosa said yesterday.

The new projects come at a time when thousands of jobs have been lost in the construction sector over the past decade due to falling infrastructure spending, mainly by the government, and the private sector. Infrastructure backlogs, in energy, transport, housing, government services, and logistics have cut economic growth prospects off at the knees.

“We are working to rebuild the construction industry and ensure it is able to deliver projects on time, within budget and to the right quality,” the president said.

“With well over 1.2 million people employed in the industry, there needs to be a constant reliable pipeline of projects to enable the sector and its supplier industry to plan ahead,” Ramaphosa said.

He said it was anticipated more than 400 000 jobs, both direct and indirect, would be created during the construction and operation of the 12 projects.

Technical and financial expertise of development finance institutions and multilateral development banks would also be leveraged to increase the capacity of the state on these projects.

“For a long time people have been saying they do not see yellow cranes and equipment in our skyline… The key to developing bankable projects is preparation. Our reforms are unblocking and unlocking (the infrastructure development pipeline),” Ramaphosa said.

“This is where the tyre hits the tar… And where it matters the most,” he said at the 2024 Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium in Cape Town yesterday.

Ramaphosa said the government had gone through a period of planning of projects that gave the impression that no work was being done on infrastructure, but yellow cranes were likely to begin dotting the skyline again in the near future.

The 12 projects include the Fetakgomo Tubatse, Namakwa and Nkomazi Special Economic Zones, while four of the projects support investment in rail and ports to alleviate freight congestion, and shift transport of goods from road to rail.

A “Construction Book” of government infrastructure projects was released at the conference yesterday that listed over 150 infrastructure projects.

Of the 12 priority projects, the Durban Container Terminal Pier 1 expansion was expected to cost R38bn, while a liquid bulk berth would cost about R2.1bn. A freight rail link improvement between Gauteng and the Eastern Cape was expected to cost R7.5bn, while a liquid natural gas import terminal would cost about R2.1bn.

In the energy sector, projects included Eskom’s gas project at Mossel Bay (R30bn) and pumped hydro storage project in Fetakgomo Tubatse Special Economic Zone (R35.8bn).

Through the preparation of the Amathole Water bulk-supply augmentation and the Rooiwal waste-water treatment plant, Infrastructure South Africa hoped to leverage private sector involvement in the financing and delivery of these projects.

Of the health and education programmes included in the priority projects were schools worth R8.5bn.

Ramaphosa said to achieve the country’s infrastructure goals, an additional estimated R1.6 trillion in public sector investment was required, and a further R3.2trl from the private sector by 2030.

“We are working on reforms to develop sustainable infrastructure, lift business confidence and encourage investment. These reforms include the amendment of the Division of Revenue Act to enable provincial governments to use their infrastructure grants and budget allocations to crowd-in private-sector finance for large social infrastructure programmes,” he said.

Amendments to the Public-Private Partnership regulations, published for public comment recently were part of broader reforms to mobilise and pool public and private-sector resources for infrastructure.