With Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan calling for greater public–private partnerships, Consulting Engineers South Africa (Cesa) on Friday reaffirmed its commitment to working with government to accelerate infrastructure development plans for the next three years.
During his 2016 Budget Speech on Wednesday, Gordhan highlighted ambitions of addressing institutional and regulatory barriers to business investment and growth, while announcing plans to inject R865.4-billion into infrastructure projects such as housing, roads, rail, public transport, water and electricity to maintain its public infrastructure investment commitments over the next three years.
Cesa commented that inefficiencies in the way public-sector infrastructure projects were implemented cost South Africa billions of rands each year – funds which could have increased the potential infrastructure investment pool.
“These shortfalls include lack of planning, inappropriate procurement approaches, lack of project management capacity and capability, and a lack of other desired technical skills in the public sector,” the firm said in a statement.
However, the multiyear appropriations highlighted in the Budget were welcomed by Cesa.
The 2016 Budget showed transport and logistics infrastructure taking up the largest share of the 2016 medium-term expenditure framework for infrastructure, with R292-billion allocated to Department of Transport-led projects over a three-year period, while energy infrastructure accounted for R180.7-billion – or 21% of total public-sector infrastructure spending – over three years.
More than R95-billion had been allocated by the National Treasury for human settlements initiatives, with R28-billion and R54-billion to be spent improving health facilities and education infrastructure respectively, while about R30-billion was allocated for water and sanitation projects in the medium term.
Provincial human settlements departments were allocated R61.6-billion for low-income subsidy housing programmes, while metropolitan municipalities would receive R34.4-billion for bulk infrastructure, land and basic services, as well as the upgrading of informal settlements.
The Department of Water and Sanitation would continue to develop and rehabilitate water infrastructure, including dams, canals, water treatment works, reservoirs and pipelines to connect households, securing a total of R15-billion for regional bulk infrastructure and R12-billion for water services infrastructure for the medium term.