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SIDSSA 2020 announces Covid-19 infrastructure-led recovery plan

This year’s inaugural Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium South Africa (SIDSSA) focused on reviving the South African economy by investing in the country’s infrastructure. 

SIDSSA was created to be a platform to bring together key decision-makers in the infrastructure investment sector to achieve its goal of fast-tracking an infrastructure-led economy recovery plan. 

The event was launched on June 23 as part of a government enterprise to encourage development in South Africa. President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke at this event and stressed the importance of reforms to revive the economy after Covid-19. 

“This crisis provides an opportunity for the Government to seriously consider key reforms necessary to revive and transform the economy to support inclusive.”

During the event, Ramaphosa said that the Covid-19 pandemic has created an urgent need for investment. 

“Covid-19 represents a major global health shock, which triggered the fracturing of our supply and demand systems. In addition, we experienced a further shock to financial markets, the result of significant outflows from South Africa and peer countries (emerging markets).”

The recovery was launched at the SIDSSA and was backed by financial institutions. Ramaphosa said that action needed to be taken as soon as possible. During the government’s presentation, several key projects were outlined with their priorities and projected impact. 

The need for Broadband – Project Thobela

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the need for internet access has become an essential need for households and businesses. In a 2018 General Household Survey (StatSA), it was revealed that only a tenth of South African households had access to the internet. 

“This share drops even further in rural areas. By bringing internet connectivity to regions with low levels of broadband penetration, Project Thobela will help to close South Africa’s digital divide.”

The proposed investment value for Project Thobela is R9.8 billion over a seven-year period. 

“In the first year of investment, Project Thobela will sustain 1 389 direct employment opportunities, 320 jobs along the value chain and further 1 568 jobs through the spending of these wages. This amounts to an economy-wide employment impact of 3 277 jobs in 2020, which increases to 9 175 by 2026.”

The Greater Cornubia – A new city 

The Greater Cornubia is situated approximately 7km from the King Shaka Airport and 25km from the Durban CBD. The city is a mixed-income development which consists of industrial, commercial, residential, and open spaces. 

The project officially began in the year 2016 with a proposed investment value of R25 billion over a period of 16 years. This development is set to include more than 58 000 house opportunities that will be provided by both the public and private sectors. 

“By investing in infrastructure for economic activity to take place, the Greater Cornubia will reduce the cost of doing business. The supply-side impact of the Greater Cornubia will be the increased economic activity for which it allows.” 

Mokolo Crocodile Water Augmentation Project (Phase 2A)

The government explained that the Mokolo Crocodile Water Augmentation Project Phase 2A (MCWAP-2A) will increase water supply in the Lephalale region. The proposed investment value of the project is R12.4 billion and the investment period is five years.

It was explained that the water from this project will become a second source of water for the Medupi and Matimba Power Stations. It would also help meet the growing demand for water in the Lephalale Municipality. 

“We do not estimate these supply-side economic impacts but suffice to say that by creating an additional water resource it frees up water from the most likely alternative in the absence of the investment. Further downstream economic benefits are that it might improve the prospects for the development of mineral resources in the Waterberg region.”

The Scheepersvlakte Citrus Farm

This greenfield citrus project situated in the Kirkwood region of the Eastern Cape will grow more than 500 hectares of citrus. The proposed investment value for this project is R122 million over a period of five years. 

The development of the Scheepersvlakte Citrus Farm will create job opportunities while establishing the farm. Once the farm is established there will be further employment opportunities for farmworkers. 

“It will also create further economic activity through wholesale and retail sales channels. Furthermore, additional investment in a packhouse or similar, while not included in this assessment, will also likely be required over time.”

Space Infrastructure Hub

The government proposed an investment of the Space Infrastructure Hub for National Development is R3.1 billion over an investment period of three years. During this period, the project is estimated to support on average 4 695 jobs per year. 

“In the first year of investment, the Space Infrastructure hubs will sustain 1 946 direct employment opportunities, 675 jobs along the value chain and further 2 250 jobs through the spending of these wages.”

This investment will allow the development of satellites, satellite-based augmentation systems, and earth observation satellites. 

The development of the Space Infrastructure Hub would allow South Africa to be less dependent on other countries for the specific information that only these satellites can provide. 

“It will provide information that might be used to develop products and services that can allow targeted responses to the socio-economic and infrastructure challenges South Africa must face.”

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