Tag: infrastructure projects

Cabinet Lekgotla to measure progress

Pretoria – The review of state-owned entities, progress made on infrastructure and top government priorities will feature prominently at the Cabinet Lekgotla which began in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Minister in the Presidency responsible for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Collins Chabane, told reporters at the start of the meeting that several reports indicating government’s progress on several issues will be discussed in the next two days.

“The Lekgotla will receive a report from the presidential review commission on parastatals as well as the report on the progress made by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC),” Chabane said.

There will also be deliberations on the administration’s progress in education, health, safety and security, fighting crime and corruption as well as job creation.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the Presidential State Owned Enterprises Review Committee in May 2010, to review the role of SOEs in the country.

The appointment of the committee was a response to the acknowledgement that there was a need to strengthen the role of SOEs to ensure that they respond to a clearly defined public mandate and support the developmental aspirations of government.

It was further guided by the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) 2009 to 2014.

The MTSF states the need for the review of state owned enterprises as part of the economic transformation agenda of government.

Government had found that while these entities remain financially viable, SOEs, development finance institutions as well as companies in which the state has a significant shareholding must respond to a clearly defined public mandate, and help government to build a developmental state.

The PICC, which is chaired by the President, was tasked to oversee the country’s infrastructure plan as part of speeding up progress on major infrastructure projects.

The plan, first announced by Zuma in his State of the Nation address in February, lists 17 strategic integrated projects that cut across energy, transport and logistics infrastructure to schools, hospitals and nursing colleges. The projects cover economic and social infrastructure across all nine provinces, with an emphasis on undeveloped areas and opportunities. Energy projects will focus on supporting sustainable “green” energy initiatives through a diverse range of clean energy options.

The Lekgotla also takes place at time the country is still reeling in shock following the tragic killing last month of striking mine workers in Marikana, North West.

Asked if the meeting would discuss the Marikana tragedy, Chabane said: “While the issue is not part of the Lekgotla, Cabinet may request a report of the IMC (Inter-ministerial Committee) which deals with this matter so it may arise”. – SAnews.gov.za

Zuma welcomes Brics declaration

Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma has welcomed the Delhi Declaration issued by leaders of Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), saying it will invigorate their collective resolve to find global solutions to global challenges.

The declaration was issued after the fourth Brics Summit, which was held in New Delhi, India.

It highlights the possibility of establishing a new Development Bank for emerging economies and developing countries; the roles of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank; the Doha Round of trade talks; the situation in the Middle East and North Africa – particularly Syria, Iran, and Afghanistan; energy and efforts to fight terrorism, as well as the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa.

In a statement issued after the meeting, President Zuma said he was pleased with the Brics leaders’ commitment to support Africa and South Africa’s comprehensive infrastructure development programmes, as part of stimulating sustainable development and prosperity.

The President also welcomed the decision to prepare a new Brics-led Development Bank for inclusive and sustainable development projects.

In the declaration, the leaders directed their finance ministers to work towards forming a Development Bank that would cater for the needs of developing countries and supplement the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development.

“This development is welcomed by many other African leaders as it will support our priority infrastructure projects as well as trade and investment opportunities with our Brics partners. Such a bank has great potential to help us create good jobs in developing countries,” said Zuma.

On the matter of inclusive growth, Zuma said they were concerned about the current impasse in WTO trade negotiations, and the threat to the Doha Development Agenda.

“Developing economies are under pressure to offer additional and unreciprocated access to their markets in industrial products and services, in exchange for moderate reforms in agricultural protectionism. This is unfair, un-mandated and anti-development.”

With regards to global governance, Zuma said they reflected on the comprehensive reform that was required of global decision-making structures to better reflect the current realities of a multi-polar world.

He said this would be critical when they speak of the United Nations. Developing countries have been calling for better representation in the global body.

The leaders also discussed the situation in the Middle East and North Africa. According to Zuma, in order to bring stability to these regions, strong global governance was required now more than ever.

The Brics leaders also discussed the important issues of food security and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. – BuaNews

State has the money to fund infrastructure – Gordhan

Cape Town – South Africa has the money to spend on the infrastructure projects in the five regions outlined by President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation Address tonight, the Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan said.

“We already know that for the past five or six years that for every three-year period we have had something around R800 billion to R900 billion being spent, largely by our state-owned enterprises (on infrastructure).

“So we’ve demonstrated the ability to bring resources in which is what will be required to get these projects going,” Gordhan told BuaNews, stressing that these key infrastructure projects would be developed over a number of years.

Among other things, the projects would help develop better economic links between outlying areas and the main urban centre and to make it easier for companies to export and do business locally, he said.

“If we get this right it means that many areas of the country will have a heightened level of economic opportunity and there will be all sorts of job opportunities and there will be opportunities for people to manufacture the things that go into the investment in the infrastructure development that has been outlined,” he said.

Gordhan also defended the state getting more involved in the economy.

“You know if the state didn’t get involved in all the economies of the world, particularly the major ones, since in 2008 you would have had no economy or country left,” he said, pointing out that it was the state backed by tax-payers’ money that helped save banks in the 2008 financial crisis.

“So the story about the state getting too involved is an old story, what we need is the right balance,” he pointed out.

Speaking on the night, the leader of the opposition Lindiwe Mazibuko, although welcoming the announcement by Zuma of the infrastructure projects, said it was not clear from where the funding for the infrastructure projects outlined by Zuma would be sourced.

“In fact a quick look actually shows that we are about R300 billion short, so I’m curious to see how that will be dealt with in the budget,” said Mazibuko.

Her concern on where the funding would come from for the infrastructure projects was echoed by Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota, who added that corruption in the procurement system also risked raising the cost of these projects. – BuaNews

Take advantage of infrastructure projects – Zuma

Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma has urged South Africans to take advantage of the opportunities that will be created by a massive new infrastructure build programme.

Addressing a breakfast event at Grand West Casino hosted by the New Age newspaper, Zuma said South Africans should take advantage of the “window period” created by the government with his announcement in the State of the Nation Address yesterday on infrastructure projects, and participate in building the economy.

Last night, Zuma announced that the country would spend billions of rands over the coming years on rail, road, and economic links in five regions in the country and on building new universities and refurbishing hospitals.

“We believe it [the key infrastructure projects] is going to change the economic landscape of the country and connect it to the continent,” said Zuma, adding that it was now clear for anyone where investment had to be placed in the economy.

“There are massive opportunities that are coming, let us take advantage,” he said, pointing out that for example South Africa had a significant coastline but was not servicing commercial shipping on a big scale.

He said the setting up of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission in September last year showed that it was “no longer business as usual” for government, as the commission had already started identifying projects which had clear timeframes.

Zuma called on big companies to help develop small businesses and pointed out that large firm that did so would benefit and grow bigger.

South African firms should also enter Africa with more vigor, he said, adding that the continent was one of the most promising investment regions in the world at the moment.

He said while many felt that South Africa was not a powerful country, he believed otherwise.

“I believe we are very big. I have always said if Japan, an island economy, can grow, why can’t we?” said Zuma of one of the countries that rapidly rebuilt itself after the Second World War to become one of the biggest economies in the world by the 1980s.

He believed South Africa had made progress but added that the country still faced challenges.

With rapid urbanisation following the end of apartheid, the country found itself with a major infrastructure shortage, he said.

In answer to a question on why the country did not create many jobs last year, Zuma said he believed that South Africa “did very well” in the face of the challenges globally.

“The fact that we were able to create jobs even in that situation tells you that we didn’t do too badly.”

In answer to a question from a caller on whether factories that were closed down in Queenstown and Butterworth in the Eastern Cape would be started up again, Zuma said the government would be revitalising the rural areas and stimulating economic growth there.

In reponse to whether the government would be considering nationalisation, he said nationalisation was not the government’s policy.

“We have been saying this inside the country and outside the country. It doesn’t mean because one [ANC member] has a view, that it is national policy,” he said, adding that the government’s policy was one of a mixed economy where the state and business partnered together.

In answer to another question from someone on the floor on what keeps him awake at night, Zuma said it was the problem of the poor.

“Every night I think what can we do to alleviate their plight,” he said. – BuaNews