Pretoria — The Presidential Infrastructure Commission (PICC) will address the pace of infrastructure development in the country, which is lagging behind what the country needs, says Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
He said the PICC's mandate was to develop a 20-year infrastructure pipeline of projects to ensure that the country can plan ahead and move away from the "stop-start syndrome" around the building of infrastructure.
"This will allow us to ensure better financial mobilisation, provide greater certainty to the construction industry, give educational institutions a framework around which to plan their skills development strategies, and to provide a roadmap for investors and communities," said Motlanthe.
He was speaking at an event held to mark 60 years since the establishment of the Southern African/German Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Friday evening.
The Deputy President added that the PICC's infrastructure plan needed to include a focus on maintenance, so that "we do not only build new assets but also keep the state of the existing infrastructure base in good working order".
The PICC has developed an Infrastructure Plan with 17 Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs), covering more than 150 specific infrastructure interventions.
These cover all the key platforms: rail, road and port; dams, irrigation systems and sanitation; new energy generation plants, transmission lines and distribution of electricity to households; communication and broadband infrastructure; social infrastructure in the form of hospitals, schools and universities as well as regional infrastructure.
Motlanthe said that infrastructure development was a "jobs driver" in the New Growth Path. The New Growth Path seeks to place the economy on a production-led trajectory with growth targeted through ten jobs drivers.
"The New Growth Path will create substantially new business opportunities for global companies, including those belonging to the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry," said Motlanthe.
He said Germany had become one of South Africa's most important trading partners within the European Union and was ranked the 4th largest export destination for South Africa in the world.
"Today there are approximately 700 German-owned companies or subsidiaries of German companies in South Africa ... overall, South Africa's exports to Germany have been showing an upward swing over the five year period ending in 2011."
He said that the two countries would continue expanding bilateral ties in areas such as energy, skills development, resource development and government to government level co-operation.