National Infrastructure Development Plan

  1. We need to reinvest and build our national infrastructure. Our infrastructure is collapsing. Roads are filled with potholes and bridges are in a state of disrepair. We have dramatically underfunded the building and maintenance of physical infrastructure. We will need huge spending in national infrastructure. We will need a range of different measures to raise the money for this infrastructure spend. It is estimated that we will need to raise and spend R1-trillion in the next five years to be able to fully fund the development of new infrastructure and the maintenance of existing infrastructure. This spending will be paid for by: 1) closing corporate tax loopholes; 2) undertaking lifestyle audits of persons earning more than R500,000 per year and raising the effective tax rate on these persons; 3) an aggressive campaign on those individuals and companies who have engaged in monopolistic business practices; 4) by placing a tariff on exported raw minerals; 5) by placing tariffs on imports of manufactured goods; 6) a flat 10% tax on gross profits posted by companies earning more than R20-million per year; 7) the proceeds flowing from a Sovereign Wealth Fund; 8) the development and funding of a National Infrastructure Bank and 9) increasing the spend on infrastructure in the national budget so that it forms 4 – 8% of the national budget. This policy of rebuilding, developing and maintaining the national infrastructure will also put the unemployed in South Africa to work.
  2. We must begin to realize that there is an economic cost to not acting. Our deteriorating infrastructure will continue and will grow as a burden to our economy. Investing in infrastructure is not just bricks, mortar and concrete – it is about jobs and the economy. We will be able to put in excess of 15 million unemployed South Africans to work. Each and every infrastructure project will require equipment, supplies and services (architects, engineers etc.), building materials and supplies. This will create a huge stimulus in the economy, driving up growth in the real economy and in the input and output side of infrastructural development. Better infrastructure will lead to further effectiveness in the national economy, enabling the state and other players to make better use of our underlying infrastructure.
  3. The National Infrastructure Development Plan must be run by a newly formed State-Owned Enterprise created specifically to implement the NIDP. The NIDP cannot be farmed out to construction and engineering companies: rather it must be seen as an opportunity to build state capacity to design, engineer and build major infrastructure projects.
  4. We will need to structurally re-engineer our national roadway system, as well as major roads in our cities. The current methodology for maintaining roads and for building new roads sees roads being built and maintained have major structural problems including shallow foundations. We need to develop a national register for road and rail bridges and undertake an assessment of each of them, upgrading and taking action where necessary. We also need to undertake major new road building programs to deal with urban road congestion.
  5. We need to rebuild and expand mass transit in this country. We need to complete the building of the BRT systems in South Africa. We need to expand their area of coverage. We also need to address the problems of PRASA. We need to upgrade our passenger and freight rail lines. We also need to seriously consider the building of high-speed rail connections between Cape Town – Bloemfontein – JHB; Durban – JHB and other major transit routes.
  6. We need to upgrade the technology used at airports, in particular putting new satellite-based air traffic control systems into place.
  7. Our seaports are major entry and exit points for goods, raw minerals, manufactured products etc. to enter SA. Our major seaports – Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Richards Bay – need significant upgrading.
  8. Although there has been significant work in the building of dams, we need to expand the current water retention system through the building of smaller dams, as well as undertaking emergency maintenance on existing dams. We will also need to reconfigure our dams so that they can provide flood control (a particular problem in South Africa) and provide hydropower.
  9. We need to expand the sources by which we obtain drinking water. We need to reinvest in and expand the Lesotho Highlands Project. We need to start building Desalination Plants along our coastline. Water security, given the long drought that we have experienced, will become a major source of concern in the country. Wastewater treatment also needs significant upgrading: for starters (and also to conserve water) households should be fitted with greywater retention and reuse systems and we need to dramatically invest in fixing our crumbling wastewater treatment facilities.
  10. Our aging electrical grid needs to be addressed. In particular we need to invest in power transmission and distribution modernization projects to improve the reliability and resiliency of our complex electrical power grid. We need to invest in solar, hydro and wind generation plants.
  11. The majority of people in South Africa do not have access to broadband. We need to expand high-speed broadband networks in under-served and unserviced areas, and to boost speeds and capacity across the country. Internet access in the 21st century is a basic requirement for commerce, education, telemedicine and public safety.

 

 

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