Thank you programme director, President of CESA, Members of CESA, Delegates from other private sector firms, Public sector representatives, Leaders from different sectors, Ladies and gentlemen, Thobela! Ndi Matsheloni! Avuxeni! Goeie More! Good Morning!
Programme Director, It is an honour to share with you my experiences in relation to “Meeting socio-economic challenges through sustained infrastructure investment”. It is such a great coincidence that CESA gave me a topic that is talking to Roads Agency Limpopo’s campaign. “As an Agency we believe that we are at the HEART of socio-economic development in the Limpopo Province”.
Programme Director, Allow me to briefly share with you Roads Agency Limpopo’s infrastructure network: The total length of Roads Agency Limpopo’s road infrastructure network is 20 260km out of which about 14 500km is gravel (backlog). The infrastructure investment required to address the backlog in terms of upgrades amounts to R159billion (estimated at R11million per kilometer). On the other hand, we need to invest more in the continuous upkeep of our infrastructure.
At the heart of our strategy is serving the people of Limpopo province with distinction by playing a meaningful and constructive role, in terms of delivering quality and sustainable infrastructure. We expect all members of CESA, SAICE, ECSA, SACPCMP and other industry players to take their respective roles seriously. Members are expected to be partners in the design and delivery of internationally competitive and sustainable road infrastructure to our people.
Programme Director, When coming to the shortage or misplacement of technical skills, we need to accept reality and deal with it. It is quite clear that there is a mismatch between public and private sector capabilities in South Africa. This mismatch should not be exploited as an opportunity for profiteering by the private sector.
Capitalising and profiting from lack of technical and planning skills in local government or any sphere of government should be considered a disgraceful act. We should prioritise our country and the protection of its interests.
We should learn from models such as Australia. In Australia, the public sector expertise in science and engineering is much stronger than the private sector. This implies that the public sector decides on the type, quality and size of infrastructure that is designed and installed.
There is no room for unnecessary over-capitalisation of infrastructure. They are in full control of their assets, including how such assets should be operated and maintained. You and I, have a duty to change the way South African public service is.
“There is no such thing as village vs urban engineering designs”
“Quality and design of infrastructure is universal”.
Let reliable infrastructure of good quality be at the heart of our business. Programme Director, allow me to reflect on the Honourable Premier Chupu Mathabatha’s 2015 State of the Province Address (SOPA).
In the 2015/16 State of the Province address, Limpopo Premier the Honourable Chupu Mathabatha stated:”The Limpopo Development Plan has also identified specific economic regions that have a significant potential to accelerate the industrialisation process in the province. These include, but are not limited to Polokwane, Lephalale, Tubatse, Tzaneen and Makhado-Musina corridor as the areas of priority in terms of integrated human settlements and economic development.”
The Honourable MEC Jerry Ndou in his 2015/16 Budget Speech for the Department of Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure stated:- “Our infrastructure development, rehabilitation, upgrading and maintenance strategies are designed to be vehicles for stimulating economic growth in the provincial, district and local economic zones.”
“Infrastructure is a catalyst for growth and social justice and a game changer in the economic fortunes of our province, for it facilitates seamless movement of goods and people.” In response to both the Honourable Premier Mathabatha and the Honourable MEC Jerry Ndou, Roads Agency Limpopo SOC Limited has embarked on a programme of rolling out road infrastructure in the province.
It is our understanding that road infrastructure is at the heart of economic development, job creation and poverty alleviation.
Through our investment of more than R1.2 billion in road infrastructure delivery in the next three years, we will create jobs, support local suppliers and businesses and empower women in our areas of operation.
Contractors have been appointed in more than 12 projects for upgrading and maintenance of roads. Large projects of specific interest linked to the SEZ are:
a) Upgrading of Road D1392 from GaPhasha / Mampuru to Tukakgomo to Makgabane in Sekhukhune District over three years with a total contract value of R354 million. b) Upgrading of Roads D3820 and D3205 from Babangu to Ndlengeza to Noblehoek to Blinkwater to Maphalle in Mopani District over three years with a total contract value of R254 million. c) Upgrading of Road D3423 from Moletji to GaLegodi to Mankgodi Road in the Capricorn District over twelve moths with a total contract value of R 71 million.
Programme Director, allow me to paint a picture on investment in infrastructure. Research has shown that well-designed infrastructure investments have long-term economic benefits. Such investments have a potential to raise economic growth, productivity, job creation, land values, industrial growth and other positive spill-overs, more especially in developing countries such as South Africa.
The Global Competitiveness Report 2010 – 2011 of the 2010 World Economic Forum values the competitiveness of 133 economies. The second basic pillar of competitiveness is “Infrastructure (Economic ((water, roads and transport, energy, communications)) and social infrastructure).
With CESA, SAICE, ECSA, SACPCMP and other private sector players as partners, we can ensure that investment in infrastructure constitutes one of the main vehicles for increasing income, employment, productivity and consequently the competitiveness of the South African economy. In terms of striking strategic partnerships with the private sector, I am happy to announce that tomorrow, being Thursday 22 July 2015, RAL will be signing an MoA with Exxaro Coal for the upgrading of roads in Lephalale Municipality in the extent of 47 kms.
There are pending MoAs forging strategic partnerships with key economic contributors like PPC, Anglo American Platinum, Marula Platinum, ZZ2 and PMC which are earmarked for conclusion in this financial year.
Our competitive economy will be in a position to create jobs, alleviate poverty, support small businesses with special emphasis on youth and women empowerment and allow all citizens to participate meaningfully in the economic growth and development of the province.
Let us work as a team and make South Africa a better place for all.