R900 billion in mega projects for South Africa – including new highways and power plants

 ·26 Apr 2023

The Minsiter of Public Works and Infrastructure Sihle Zikalala says that the public sector has projected to spend R903 billion on infrastructure over the medium term in South Africa.

According to the minister, the largest portion of this, roughly R448 billion, will be spent by state-owned companies, public entities and public-private partnerships.

Currently, 88 Strategic Infrastructure Projects (SIPs) have been gazetted by the government. The minister said that these include developments in green hydrogen projects, housing projects and large-scale road construction projects.

Regarding green hydrogen power projects, Zikalala said that through Infrastructure South Africa, the department had amassed a pipeline of green hydrogen projects with a value of over R300 billion.

One of the projects is the Boegoebaai Green Hydrogen initiative in Northern Cape, with the potential to generate 35,000 employment opportunities after the completion of all feasibility studies.

The Prieska Power Reserve (PPR) Project in Northern Cape is another project set to produce green hydrogen and ammonia from 2026, with the potential to create over 10,500 jobs during both the construction and operational phases, the minister said.

Furthermore, the department plans to develop roads and housing projects. Through the second phase of the Welisizwe Rural Bridges programme, the department aims to build 96 bridges at R3.8 billion.

In Gauteng, from June 2023, the construction of bulk mixed housing infrastructure units (31,000) is set to take place. Among other projects, the department said that the total value of projects completed is R21.4 billion – mainly roads and human settlement projects.

“The total value of projects currently in construction is R313.5 billion. Projects in procurement are standing at R295.2 billion,” said the minister.

Updates on some of the most notable projects include:

Highway upgrades

  • N3 Highway upgrade – overall progress is meeting timeline targets, and further improvement is set to start on May 2023.
  • N2 Wildcoast Highway (Mtentu Bridge) – a new tender was issued and evaluated by the DBSA and SANRAL; work is set to start on May 2023.

Water projects

  • Umkhomazi Water Project (KZN) – an R24 billion water augmentation project that is in its advanced stage of preparation.
  • Vaal River System and the Lesotho Highlands Water Project – construction of advanced infrastructure in progress.
  • Raising of Hazelmere Dam – aimed to augment the water supply to the KZN North Coast by raising the dam wall; it is 100% completed.

Harbour and ports of entry 

  • Maintenance of the Proclaimed Fishing Harbours (Western Cape) – R500 million spent by the Department.
  • Emanguzi Police Station – a project expected to be completed by June 2023.
  • Concrete border fence (uMkhanyakude) – to stop transporting steel cars across the borders.


  • Salvokop Precinct Project – installation of bulk infrastructure is ongoing, including the earthworks, trenching and reservoir works underway.

Project hijacking

Although there are a handful of projects underway, the department has had to meet with the Economic Sabotage Unit to work with the police to deal with economic crimes and the rising phenomenon of the construction mafia.

The minister said that the construction mafia invades, intimidates and disrupts the delivery of projects on the ground.

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