18 February 2019

South Africa: Infrastructure Plan Transforming Face of Gauteng

Photo: Evan Bench
Looking out over Johannesburg from Braamfontein. Nelson Mandela bridge over the train station. CBD in the background

The 15-year Infrastructure Master Plan worth R1.3 trillion is set to transform and modernise the face of Gauteng.

Gauteng has already spent more than R80 billion on infrastructure development at schools, clinics, hospitals, libraries, roads, public transport, broadband and industrial parks. This, Premier David Makhura said has had massive social and economic benefits for the people and economy of the province.

Through the Gauteng Infrastructure Funding Agency, Makhura said the province has also developed bankable infrastructure projects worth $6.8 billion from the commitments made by private sector companies at the Africa Investment Conference which was hosted by the African Development Bank last year.

The building of the Gautrain and BRT systems in metros are part of the Infrastructure Master Plan, Makhura said in his State of the Province Address on Monday.

"The full integration of the Gautrain, BRTs and metro rail into a modern, efficient, reliable, affordable and integrated single mass transit system is what we must now focus on.

"We will have a single transport authority by the second half of 2019, which will be charged with the responsibility to drive our vision," the Premier said.

Makhura went on to report that the province upgraded and rehabilitated road network of more than 5000 km - that have no e-tolls.

While the user-pay principle remains in place, Makhura said there is general agreement that urban tolling is not viable nor sustainable.

"What is being finalised with national government is how to settle the debt incurred during the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Plan as well as how to fund new roads. There is no going back to the e-tolls."

The province is also making inroads with the rollout of broadband infrastructure to ensure internet connectivity as part of the fourth industrial revolution readiness.

So far Gauteng has 10 000 kilometres of fibre which connects about 1 1181 sites - including schools, hospitals, public service customer care centres and industrial parks.

Huge investments have also been made in the transformation, modernisation and expansion of educational infrastructure in order to cater to the needs of the new economy and society in the digital age.

There is also increased access to Early Childhood Development centres from 83 000 to more than 480 000 children.

With regards to skills development and job opportunities for youth, the Tshepo 1 Million will continue to bring hope.

The province will also continue to expand the primary health care by increasing the absorption of community health workers in the public health system to improve service delivery and care.

Despite the outstanding track record of delivering 1.2 million houses, the housing backlog remains stubbornly high, at just over 1 million - due to rapid urbanisation and the high rate of in-migration.

In response to this challenge, Makhura said 31 mega human settlements are planned in the next five years. Ten are already under construction, 11 in detailed planning and the remaining ten at a conceptual stage.

Gauteng residents have experienced continuous significant improvement in the quality of life and their level of satisfaction with basic services and infrastructure is above the national average, Makhura said.

"Our province is a zone of opportunity that offers better living standards to millions of people. Hence, the high rate of in-migration," Makhura said, adding that all sectors need to consolidate their efforts to make further impact.

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