By: Chris Bathembu
President Jacob Zuma says the multi-billion infrastructure development programme government has embarked on, has been a valuable source of learning for the country.
Zuma told Parliament on Thursday during the State of the Nation Address that in the year ahead, government will fast-track many of the projects that the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission has announced.
The plan lists 18 strategic integrated projects, covering more than 150 specific infrastructure interventions, ranging across rail, road, ports, dams, irrigation systems, sanitation and energy.
“The lessons are that we must coordinate, integrate and focus on implementation,” Zuma said.
He said the past two years have demonstrated that where the state intervenes strongly and consistently, it can turn around key industries that face external or internal threats, as has happened in the manufacturing sector.
“We have seen the revitalisation of train and bus production in South Africa, largely because of the drive for local procurement,” he said.
The Passenger Rail Agency of South African and Transnet have committed billions of rands to improving the commuter and freight train network.
The clothing, textiles and footwear industry has stabilised after 15 years of steadily falling employment. A clothing support scheme provides broad financial support, saving a number of factories and jobs.