The South African Institution of Civil Engineering (Saice) has welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that the State has set aside R100-billion to start an infrastructure fund to be administered by the State-owned Development Bank of Southern Africa.
During his June 20 State of the Nation Address, Ramaphosa said the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure would play an oversight role of the infrastructure fund.
He also confirmed that the State was launching the fund in consultation with private investors, such as pension funds.
“These reforms will ensure better planning of infrastructure projects, rigorous feasibility and preparatory work, improved strategic management, impeccable execution and better governance,” Ramaphosa said at the time.
Commenting on the announcement, Saice acting CEO Steven Kaplan on Tuesday said the organisation hoped the fund would provide a much-needed boost to the depressed construction sector.
“We hope this funding will be entrusted [to] those who have the technical expertise and experience that will translate it into a positive turnaround for industry and the economy,” he said.
Saice has been vocal in the past about the need for appropriately qualified technical capacity at all levels of government, as the key to unlocking the infrastructure development and effective infrastructure spend lies in capacitating key government departments.
“To be able to reap the full potential of this massive fund, a lot more still needs to done to speedily ramp up technical and managerial capacity in key government departments,” said Kaplan.
“We hope details of a clear implementation plan will be shared soon, especially since no reference was made as to how President Ramaphosa’s plan to foster economic growth will coincide with the commitments already outlined in the National Development Plan.”