2010 is here, and despite the large number of investments made by the country towards infrastructure development, the infrastructure spending is currently short of what is required for achieving higher economic growth and job creation in South Africa. The global crisis has narrowed South Africa’s economic policy options considerably, with South Africa’s unemployment rate falling to 23, 0% in the last quarter of 2009 as well as the mining and manufacturing sectors, in particular, struggling to adjust to the country’s first recession in 17 years. Government’s response to the current status quo and global financial crisis included a R787 billion spend on infrastructure until 2011. This was a key source of employment creation while at the same time enhancing SA’s long term growth potential. The second element of this package was to accelerate the expanded public works programme, generating employment and accelerating skills development, and again, directly meeting the country’s primary priority. This was a single solution to competing issues, as this economic downturn offered the opportunity for expanding the role of government in restructuring the economy – providing the opportunity for the creation of a developmental state. The role of the developmental state is sharing risk, co-financing investment and jointly engaging with the banking sector in constructing a vibrant growing economy."
The Local Government Business Network in association with the Foundation for the Development of Africa and the Gauteng Department of Local Government and Housing will be hosting municipalities, government departments and state owned enterprises in an intense two-day Summit to review, consult and address current issues facing government in further investments on Infrastructure development, the application of labour intensive technologies, methods and programmes, the second phase of the expanded public works programme, public private partnerships as well as partnerships with other government agencies to create jobs and accelerate service delivery. This summit will take place on the eve of the most anticipated 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup in Africa, on 24-25 May 2010 at the Emperors Palace – Johannesburg – Gauteng, themed “Infrastructure Development and Financing beyond 2010”, where senior government and municipal officials, business and civil society will network, engage and share ideas on the way forward.
Over the next three years, the public sector aims to spend R846 billion on its infrastructure programmes. Extensive planning and consultation is currently in progress on infrastructure programmes for the next 10-20 years, in recognition of the long-term development challenges. Last year, government initiated the second phase of the expanded public works programme. Drawing on the successes and lessons of this programme over the past five years, R4 billion has been added to this programme to incentivise the creation of longer term, more stable employment in provinces, municipalities and non-governmental through infrastructure projects developed by municipalities. Over the 2009-2014 period, the second phase of the expanded public works programme aims to create 4.5 million short-term job opportunities. From this year, Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) will also be allowed to step up their lending to municipalities, land reform programmes and businesses in distress due to the economic crisis. A further guarantee of R15.2 billion has been approved for the Development Bank of Southern Africa, to enable them to extend capital to poorer municipalities for infrastructure projects.
The Municipal Infrastructure Summit’ 2010 is a planning and consultation process that aims to mainly deliberate upon the procedural constraints faced by government, municipalities and private infrastructure sector which has impacted on the ability to timeously implement infrastructure projects leading to 2010 and requisite strategies and approaches that will result in the acceleration of infrastructure development. In the current situation, there is also a need to discuss possible considerate measures that should be taken, to evade the tribulations of the global crisis on the infrastructure sector to keep pace with the development process and protect the interest of the investors. This would impact on the enormous financing needs of the sector. The summit will also address the diverse issues relating to the municipal infrastructure sector, including Public Private Partnerships. The sharing of national and provincial plans, best practice, challenges and experiences by government and an enabling framework and support structure that would be of vital importance to industry players, municipalities and key stakeholders. The Summit will focus on strategies at Municipal level that drive job creation and infrastructure investment within the municipality and its community. More than 500 delegates are expected to attend the summit in an environment that actively encourages and facilitates the crossfertilisation of ideas and experiences. The Summit format is heavily based on case studies to enable participants to immediately use that information within their own organisations. The roles and priorities of infrastructure development practitioners will be examined in detail during the following Breakaway Commissions (Sessions).
- Municipal Infrastructure Financing and Investment
- Roads and Public Transportation
- Housing, Water and Sanitation
- Municipal Energy and Environment
- Municipal Technology & Innovation