PPP legislation being reviewed to ‘make it more workable’, says De Lille

4th September 2020 By: Irma Venter - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

South Africa’s public-private partnership (PPP) legislation is undergoing a review, says Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Patricia de Lille.

“I can confirm that there is a review at the moment.”

De Lille says the requirements around PPPs are “very complex” and “time consuming”.

“In the review, we are trying to see how we can keep the probity systems, but shorten the process. We are reviewing a complex piece of legislation to see if we can make it more workable and easier to have PPPs.”

De Lille says only 2% of infrastructure projects in South Africa are PPPs.

“PPPs have not been that successful in South Africa – the Gautrain is the exception.”

Sheila Galloway is the founder of the Utho Group, which is a PPP and infrastructure development advisory firm.

South Africa’s PPP framework is one of the best in the world, she notes.

“It is held out there as being a model example of a PPP framework. It is built to reduce, if not to eliminate, corruption. This may be the reason for the decline in PPPs in the country in recent years.”

Galloway says the value of PPPs in South Africa reached R11-billion in 2010/11, going down to R4-billion in 2017.

“PPPs are so legislated it goes against corruption.”

Galloway adds that there has been a reduction in interest and expertise within the PPP space, with the private sector “pulling back” because of a lack of trust in government, especially as it failed to implement PPP projects.

De Lille notes that government registered three PPPs with the National Treasury last year, including the Salvokop precinct, in Pretoria.

“The fourth will be the expansion of the Gautrain. We are currently assessing that project, and, hopefully, the second phase of gazetting will include the Gautrain.”

Meanwhile, the first 50 projects emanating from the Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium of South Africa process and an additional 12 special projects were gazetted in July as strategic integrated projects in terms of the Infrastructure Development Act.

One of the projects is Phase 2A of the Mokolo Crocodile Water Augmentation Project, in Limpopo, which will increase water supply in the Lephalale region.