Public Works and Infrastructure minister Patricia De Lille has detailed some of the infrastructure projects that government plans to introduce as a source of mass employment in South Africa.
In a presentation on Thursday (29 October), De Lille said that government economic recovery plan has produced a ‘credible pipeline of infrastructure projects across the country’ that are not only transactional in nature but also address the social, economic and ‘spatial injustices’ of the past.
“The construction industry has been the most severely impacted by the downgrade in the economy and Covid-19 with a -14.2% contraction in the construction sector,” she said.
“Since the end of 2019, the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) has worked closely with the Infrastructure and Investment Office in the Presidency to put together a pipeline of infrastructure projects that will completely transform the landscape of our cities, towns and rural areas.
“The infrastructure investment plan focuses on implementation and investment in the immediate, medium and long term.”
The first phase of the Infrastructure Investment Plan includes projects from all three spheres of government, State-owned enterprises and the private sector.
50 infrastructure projects were determined ready for investment and implementation. A further 12 special projects, of which five had an additional focus of mass employment, were identified in the plan. All 62 were then gazetted as Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs) in July 2020.
De Lille outlined four of the projects in more detail below.
Project 29 – over 52,000 jobs
Special Integrated Project 29 is known as the comprehensive urban management programme and will be implemented across all 44 districts and 8 metros to clean up cities and towns.
“SIP 29 is being done by the National Department of Public Works and Infrastructure together with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency (MISA), using the District Development Model systems,” said De Lille.
She said that the programme will employ and sustain 52,000 jobs over the next three years whilst also providing training and skills development to aid in the sustainability and longevity of employment post the programme.
This translates to approximately 1,000 jobs per district, starting in the Vhembe District Municipality, OR Tambo District Municipality and eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, she said.
“The activities will be locally-driven, allowing participants to earn an income while contributing to their community in tasks such as cleaning our towns, cities and townships.”
Recruitment is to be done using the Covid-19 social grant database coupled with the indigent grant databases of the respective local municipalities.
“The identified focus areas that are to be addressed in the urban management plan will be determined through social facilitation with local communities, the district champions and local champions. ”
Project 30 – 10,000 jobs
Special Integrated Project 30 is the digitisation of government information programme.
De Lille said that this project is led by the Department of Public Service and Administration, and focuses on accelerating of job creation as a response to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
She said that the project will do this through the creation of mass employment opportunities for 10,000 unemployed youth graduates to digitise physical paper-based government records.
Project 26 – more than 4,000 jobs
Special Integrated Project 26 is the rural roads rehabilitation and upgrading special programme.
The programme, which has also had a mass public employment component to it, specifically focuses on innovative local technologies, using labour-intensive methods and local materials, said De Lille.
“More than 4,000 jobs will be created in labour-intensive maintenance and construction of rural roads with a method that focuses on local conditions and assisting the communities in maintenance and upkeep.
“The 200 kilometres of roads that have initially identified are in the rural areas of the Eastern Cape, North West, Limpopo, Free State and KwaZulu Natal.”
Project 25 – unspecified
Special Integrated Project 25 is the rural bridges Welisizwe programme.
De Lille said that the project is a partnership between the Department of Defence and the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure for the installation of bridges over rivers to enable the safe crossing of communities and in many cases children to schools and health facilities as well as economic opportunities.
“Gazetting this Programme has enabled the rollout of bridges to be scaled up. The delivery programme, subject to the finalisation of the funding which is imminent is for the installation of 14 bridges by March 2021 and 170 in the following 12 months,” she said.
The plan is for the installation of 400 bridges in three years, with the priority provinces being Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Free State.
“The intention is for the immediate term to utilise the existing funding and technology while a new procurement process is being embarked on. This process will explore innovative technology and funding options from the national and international markets.”