An inter-governmental forum bringing together Ministers, national departments, provinces, municipalities and state owned enterprises convened yesterday, 10 December, to launch the Strategic Integrated Project (SIP)13: the National School Build Programme.
The forum aims to coordinate and integrate the actions of all spheres of government and state owned enterprises, in the implementation of the National Infrastructure Plan, as unveiled by President Zuma in his 2012 State of the National Address, and developed by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC).
The aim of SIP 13 is to consolidate and integrate plans to remove inappropriate and unsafe school structures, upgrade and refurbish existing schools and construct new schools across the country. The school build programme also aims to ensure focus on maintenance of existing and new schools.
Further, the programme seeks to align the provision of services to ensure that all new schools are connected to water, electricity, sanitation, information and communications technology (ICT), good access to roads and bridges, libraries and laboratories.
The forum agreed on the steps to be taken by all stakeholders to implement the SIP as well as appoint interim coordinating agencies. We are satisfied that on all accounts the inter-governmental forum was a success.
The forum was addressed by the Ministers of Basic Education, Public Works and Economic Development who collectively emphasised the need for speed and innovation to eradicate all unsafe and inappropriate schools and to respond to the additional demands.
Going forward, the technical team (made up of Departments of Basic Education, Public Works, the PICC technical team and state owned companies) has been asked to work around the clock to further develop the plan and table a revised programme by January.
The plan should stipulate the scope of work in terms of what will be implemented, when and the cost on a year-on-year basis, starting in 2013. The Development Bank of Southern Africa and the Independent Development Trust were appointed as interim project coordinators to fast track implementation and ensure coherence across all spheres of the state and state owned entities.