Anti-corruption strategy to underpin infrastructure plan: Ramaphosa

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The South African government says the country’s multi-billion rand infrastructure investment plan will be underpinned by an anti-corruption strategy.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said this during the opening of the Infrastructure South Africa Project Preparation Roundtable and Market Place under way in Midrand north of Johannesburg on Tuesday.

He said the Infrastructure Project Preparation will help government to complete its infrastructure projects on time and within budget. South Africa’s economic recovery plan post the COVID-19 pandemic is anchored on infrastructure roll-out to ensure growth and job creation.

The government says this can only be possible through a public-private partnership. The country needs a trillion rand to finance this ambitious plan.

But already there are fears due to government’s track record in completing infrastructure projects on time.

Two power stations, Khusile and Medupi have been under construction for ten years and are still not complete, with spending well over budget.

Addressing the Roundtable Ramaphosa said the project preparation will help enhance transparency and assist the government to complete its infrastructure projects within budget and on time.

” Proper Project Preparation enhances transparency, it eliminates and detects corruption, it enhances skills transfer. It also increases the capability of the state. The obvious benefits are also about completing projects on time, completing projects on budget and on target. Sometimes if you go around the country you will find projects that have been abandoned because there was no proper planning, there was no proper preparation.  You will see foundations all over the show and pipes on the side of the road and we want to avoid all that.”

Infrastructure projects rolled out

The government is currently rolling out 62 infrastructure projects countrywide worth billions of rand. These are in the areas of water, energy, transport, digital, human settlements, agriculture, and agro-processing among others. Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia De Lille says all these projects will be subjected to independent due diligence to avoid corruption.

” We are working on a more effective system to monitor projects and put systems in place that can prevent and detect corruption. This will bring a greater level of transparency and will give credibility to the implementation of the infrastructure investment plan. Transparency is the best deterrent for corruption so this infrastructure plan will be underpinned by an anti-corruption strategy. I have had a meeting with Advocate Mothibi last week and the SIU has agreed that they will help us to implement this anti-corruption strategy. ”

SABC journalist Samkele Maseko on government’s infrastructure plans:

Role of the private sector

Meanwhile, the private sector has joined hands with government in its ambitious infrastructure drive. The Head of Infrastructure and Investment in the Presidency and the Acting CEO of Infrastructure South Africa Dr. Kgosientso Ramokgopa says having credible project preparation in place has attracted human and capital investment from the private sector.

“To indicate that the private sector has been generous thus as the state seeks to build embedded capacity within the state, the private sector has made available over 25 experts, President. These are people who some of them have retired wealth of expertise, some of them are still attached to these institutions, they will be released and paid by the private sector for the benefit of the state so that we are able to conceptualise and ensure that we accelerate them toward financial closure and delivery and implementation. ”

President Ramaphosa has also lauded the private sector for availing its skilled personnel to help the government in its massive infrastructure roll-out.

The Infrastructure South Africa Project Preparation Roundtable will end on Tuesday.