3 November 2017

South Africa: Government Banks On Infrastructure to Create Jobs

President Jacob Zuma has reiterated government's commitment to investing in infrastructure as a means of stimulating growth and creating jobs.

The President was fielding questions in the National Assembly on Thursday.

"Such spending is the equivalent of planting the seeds that will grow the economy. Our unwavering commitment to infrastructure development was strongly demonstrated during the recent Medium Term Budget Policy Statement, when the Minister of Finance announced that R948 billion will be spent on infrastructure over the next three years.

"This will certainly result in further job creation and stimulation of economic growth."

ANC MP Pinky Kekana had asked how the Presidency, through the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission (PICC), intended to use infrastructure development to stimulate economic growth and create jobs.

The President said the increased investment in infrastructure in the country in recent years has served as an economic boost during the period when the economy was faced with enormous pressures.

He said when the commodity boom turned and mineral demand decreased a few years ago, it directly impacted on a number of mineral-exporting countries.

He said in South Africa, as a result of the additional infrastructure investment, the economy has maintained growth, albeit at modest levels, until this year.

"Earlier this year, the economy went into a technical recession but recovered in the last quarter. The direct impact of new infrastructure spend has been considerable. It has been estimated that the multiplier effect has been R268 billion in the economy and this is associated with more than 700 000 jobs that are sustained in the economy."

He said the establishment of the PICC has yielded positive results and enables government to keep track of infrastructure spending and eliminate bottlenecks in the implementation of projects.

"The new market conditions have led to some State-owned companies reducing their new capital spending. This matter is now receiving attention, as we need to ensure that the combination of public and private sector spending on infrastructure is stepped up," President Zuma said.

Government committed to fighting crime

President Zuma said, meanwhile, that government remains committed to fighting crime in all its forms.

"Since 2009 to date, I have signed 84 proclamations authorising the Special Investigating Unit to investigate maladministration and corruption in government and State institutions.

"The South African Police Service and the National Prosecuting Authority have stated on record that they are investigating the allegations of the so-called State capture.

"I have also stated before Parliament that I will establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate such allegations.

"I will do so as soon as my application to review and set aside the relevant Public Protector's remedial action is finalised. The matter was heard in Court on 24 and 25 October and we are still waiting for the judgment.

"The authors of the two reports should provide their information to the above mentioned law enforcement agencies and also to the Commission as soon as it is established."

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