SAnews.gov.za (Tshwane)

16 November 2012

South Africa: Rural Infrastructure Development a Priority for Govt

Pretoria — Infrastructure development, especially in the deep rural areas, will remain a key priority of the current administration, says KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works, Ravi Pillay.

Pillay was speaking at the unveiling of a community hall named after Inkosi Mkakwa Cele at KwaCele on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday.

"This beautiful community hall attests to our government's commitment to develop infrastructure in underdeveloped areas such as the rural countryside of our province.

"The development of rural areas and the related infrastructure shall continue. All deserving communities whether they are from KwaCele, oPhongolo, Lusikisiki or anywhere in the country will benefit from government programmes of rural and infrastructure development," he said.

Government earlier this year announced its grand infrastructure development plan, under which 18 Strategic Infrastructure Projects (SIPs) have been identified as key to pushing the country towards its development goals.

These projects have been developed with the sole purpose of unlocking the blockages which continue to hinder the development of regional economies in the country.

Pillay said government believed infrastructure development facilities such as the KwaCele community hall were crucial to unlocking economic potential in rural areas.

"The building of this community facility must not be viewed in isolation to the mega long-term infrastructure development plans or programmes as it is also an integral part of it, whichever way one looks at it.

"The building of this community hall is precisely what we mean when we talk of rural and infrastructure development."

The Public Works Department, both at national and provincial level, is the main driver of the multibillion rand infrastructure development plan.

Through the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission, a comprehensive plan has been developed to redress past imbalances that saw rural areas lagging behind when it comes to infrastructure development.

Government's economic blueprint, the New Growth Path, identified six job drivers that will stimulate economic development in the coming years.

These are tourism, infrastructure development, agriculture, mining and beneficiation, manufacturing and the green economy.

Government has singled out infrastructure development as its main focus this year as a catalyst to sustainable economic development. The national infrastructure plan has seen the development of an integrated, aligned and coordinated 20-year infrastructure pipeline.

Government is presently building integrated human settlements, schools, hospitals, clinics, nursing colleges, dams, power stations and other infrastructure around the country.

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