Govt turns to private sector to fix public sector facilities

19th March 2024 By: Irma Venter - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

Govt turns to private sector to fix public sector facilities

Given the current economic downturn, government does not have the resources to look after all of its assets, says Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) property management trading entity head Siza Sibande.

“Hence we want to partner with the private sector to improve public facilities.”

Addressing a media conference at the Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium South Africa 2024, held in Cape Town this week, Sibande noted that the DPWI was now focused on leveraging and optimising State assets.

“We developed a strategy that we call the State Immovable Asset Optimisation strategy.

“We have entered a new phase where government will apply partnerships/collaborations with the private sector, such as refurbishment, operate and transfer; and build, operate and transfer.

“The focus here is to leverage State assets by unlocking the value of underutilised immovable State assets.”

Sibande noted that the State had the biggest asset portfolio in the country, “yet the value we created out of these assets was close to zero”.

He added that the State’s targeted immovable asset portfolio comprised of about 29 000 land parcels, or 4.7-million hectares of land.

“This is quite a big portfolio that should be able to create a return on investment.”

Roughly 25% of the total land parcels were stand-alone and unutilised.

“These are at risk of illegal occupations,” said Sibande.

Around 3% of the properties are in Pretoria alone, he added, with one of these being Telkom Towers.

“This is one of those properties we want to leverage. It stands in the centre of the city. If we can refurbish it, we change the face of the inner city.”

Sibande said the State also held a large agricultural portfolio, “and we would want our people to have access to those properties with long leases”.

He added that DPWI had “issued the first round of some of these assets yesterday (March 17).”