members and leadership of the NCOP, good afternoon. Thank you for inviting me to this very important debate. Just yesterday I was speaking to the Consulting Engineers of South Africa at their
Infrastructure Indaba and I really stressed the point that infrastructure- led growth is the only thing that can stimulate our economy and create the much-needed jobs for our people. Infrastructure is a key driver of economic growth in delivering the much- needed social infrastructure that so many members have made reference to. But we must do a lot more to speed up implementation.
During my engagement with the Consulting Engineers of South Africa, Cesa, I also expressed the importance of partnerships because government cannot do it alone. Therefore we need to do more around partnerships - partnerships first amongst the three spheres of government and partnership with the private sector. The President has been leading the drive to stimulate the economy, but it is incumbent on all patriotic South Africans to do our best to generate hope in our country and to restore the pride of the nation. So we all have a responsibility.
Hon members, as you all know that the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure is a newly reconfigured department in the sixth administration, the President gazetted the mandate of the new department on 25 August last year. Now it also includes the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission, PICC, unit and the Instructure Delivery Management System, IDMS, which has been
transferred from the National Treasury. It is all work in progress and we are working as fast as we can. But while we are setting up this new department we started going out to look at stalled projects across because that is where we need to pick up the pace. So far in the past two months we have visited 156 schools, 22 clinics, two hospitals and one dam. Next week I will be going to the Eastern Cape to look at four schools so that we can unblock all these blocked projects and complete them. [Applause.] I will be accompanied by Dr Ramokgopa who is the head of the Infrastructure Investment in the Office of the President.
We also all know and many members spoke about the R100 billion fund established by government. This will be a blended fund because we also expected the private sector to add some money.
In terms of the legislation, section 4(a) and 4(b) of the Infrastructure Development Act, clearly states that the Presidential Infrastructure Council, which is chaired by our President, is required to co-ordinate, do development, maintenance, implementation and monitoring of the National Infrastructure Plan as well as to co- ordinate the determination of priorities for the infrastructure. The backlog is too big. If we could really think that as government we could finance the entire backlog, it's going to take us years to
achieve this. That's why in terms of infrastructure investment we have identified a number of bankable projects that we can ask the private sector to fund. We can ask the private sector to build, operate and transfer so that we can quickly and faster catch up with the backlog.
But talking the Infrastructure Development Act that is guiding this department, I have also found that we have not developed regulations since 2014. I have immediately started the process of developing regulations because they are critical to enable the legislation. The regulations will look at to provide for the facilitation and co- ordination of public infrastructure development which is of significant economic and social importance for our country. The regulations must also ensure that infrastructure development in the in our country is given priority in planning, approval and implementation amongst others.
Furthermore, if you look at section 21 of the Infrastructure Development Act you will see that the Minister is required, in consultation with the PICC council to establish and do the regulations. I will be completing the regulations before the end of May so that I can take it to the PICC for consideration.
Chairperson, one of the key problems hampering our implementation is poor project preparation. All of these stalled projects around the country were not properly prepared before we put the shovel into the ground. That is going to be a key focus. We are going to establish a multidisciplinary team inside the department to make sure that we check every single project that is ready for implementation. If you do proper project proportion you de- risk that project and therefore you can also avoid the stop and go of the projects.
We all talked about money and said we need billions of rands to build these infrastructures. Money is not the only issue and we must stop exaggerating that its money that we need and therefore we can't do anything. We must begin to say that our future budgets must be built on separating the budget like MEC Madikizela spoke about maintenance. Maintenance is just as important as building a new infrastructure and we have a backlog of maintenance across the country. One of the members made a reference to the bridges. We started the project. It's an indictment that all of that our children are drowning on their way to school. So we have launched the number 17 daily bridgein the Eastern Cape and in the week's time I will be going to Durban to launch another bridge there. That is going to be one of the key priority programmes for all of us to make sure that we build bridges. [Applause.] The three worse provinces
where children have to cross rivers to go to school is the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Free State. So we have prioritised those three projects.
The other on is that when you go to the rural areas you can hardly drive. The access roads in the rural areas will also be a priority projects and so we are working with the Stellenbosch University and the University of Pretoria so that we can design a programme around that.
With regard to economic transformation and job creation, we have also commitment that we have made in terms of the Job Summit, Operation Phakisa and all the public sector programmes. For the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure our key driver for job creation will be the Expanded Public Works Programme, EPWP, where we are looking at creating at least five million jobs until 2024. But in transforming our economy that we all speak about, we must make sure that our economy is representative, it is inclusive and we must prioritise women, youth and people with disabilities, then we are talking about transformation. We must bring in those sectors that have been excluded out of the economy for many years.
Another target for the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure as we set up this department is to improve the quality and rate of infrastructure in this country. Yes, we do need extra money but we also have to make sure that there is infrastructure fund that we have established, that is now is counted by the Development Bank of Southern Africa DBSA, that is operational and works. That is one of the functions of the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure because we will have oversight over that infrastructure fund. We will together decide on priorities and what must be built first. But we also need to partner with government. In the ocean economy we are working in partnership with Minister Creecy and on the rural economy we are working with Minister Thoko Didiza. It is all working together that we can certainly do more. We are also working together with the Minister of Education. Every time when you build a school you must design it and appoint a consult and it takes a long time. The Public Works and Infrastructure is now working with the Department of Basic Education so that it has a modular design of a school or a clinic of what we need so that we don't have to do design all over again.
Let me get into what is in the annual performance plan and the medium strategic framework for the next five years. One of the things that is going to be the responsibility is to make sure that
we have to identify existing towns and cities for refurbishment and transformation of those cities. The target for the next five years will be three of these cities that we will identify and we will develop plans for the redesign and the transformation of those cities.
Public Works is also responsible for developing government precincts where we can bring all government offices together, easy access to the public. We have launched the first one at Salvokop in Pretoria. We will do the so turning in April. It's going to be R18 billion into that prescient. The one that really makes me very excited is that Public Works has also been asked to lead the process of building a new city. I heard hon Dangor speaking about the smart cities in Gauteng that the President spoke about in the state of the nation address. It separate from leading the process to build the complete new city and the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure will be leading that too. I agree with all of you that we cannot transform our economy without releasing land and government-owned buildings. Let us start with what we have.
Last year in October, Cabinet approved 14 000 hectors of land for human settlement purposes. Some of it was released to some of the provinces. Our target for the 2010-21 financial year is to relapse
900 000 hectors of land for redistribution and for land tenure reform. [Applause.] That's all in progress.
Also, in terms of the spatial development framework there is a new spatial development framework that is out for public participation right now as we speak. That's a very important document and it will help us to deal with the apartheid spatial planning of all of these years.
The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure must now ensure that we release government-owned land and buildings for restitution, redistribution, land tenure and for human settlements. We are very, very serious about this and we will make sure that over and above the 14 000 that has been released already to provinces - Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, North West and the Western Cape - we release another 20 parcels of land to the various provinces by the end of March 2020.
An hon member: What about Limpopo?