Infrastructure programme to create opportunities

South Africa’s infrastructure development programme will expand the black industrial class, with the Strategic Integrated Project II (SIP2), presenting an opportunity for black business to grow.

Speaking on infrastructure development and the role of black business at a business breakfast hosted by the Black Management Forum (BMF), Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said that SIP 2 (The Durban-Free State-Gauteng Logistics and Industrial Corridor) was intended to improve access to Durban’s export and import facilities, among others.

“Our infrastructure programme will, without reservation, expand the black industrial class, create new industrialists and improve social wellbeing,” he said on Thursday 23 Januarymalusi-gigaba.

SIP2 is also intended to integrate the Free State Industrial strategy activities into the corridor, while it will also build cargo nodes (Harrismith, Cato Ridge, Tambo Springs and the Dube Trade Port) and will further upgrade existing cargo nodes like City Deep and Pyramid.

It will expand rail capacity and rolling stock to meet forecast demand from 67Mt per annum to 167Mt in 2037. It will be worth R205 billion over the next five years.

“This presents an opportunity for black business to explore both downstream and upstream initiatives, high value-added goods and growth sector in the infrastructure value chain like cement plants, stone mining and others,” Gigaba said.

In the third quarter of 2013, 11 118 jobs had been created by SIP2.

Government is committed to support the effort to build black industrialists that are ready, able and willing to put in hard work to create sustainable, job creating and skill developing inclusive wealth.

“No economy creates a new class of industrialists without hard work. We expect the same from black business, so that they become true entrepreneurs and not mere middlemen,” the minister said.

As the country celebrates 20 years of democracy, it was necessary, said Gigaba, to ensure that those who were previously excluded from the economy now have a better life.

South Africa had always lagged behind compared to its peers due to inadequate economic infrastructure to facilitate trade, and the government-led infrastructure programme is intended to transform the economy and stimulate growth, among others.

The International Monetary Fund has predicted that the country’s economy will grow by 3.8% and will be driven by exports.

“This signals recovery, improved industrial output projections and it is positive for our economy. While this signals positive projections, it is not suitable for SA to build its economy on an export-led strategy. We must anchor our economy also on domestic consumption as well. This infrastructure investment will contribute to that objective,” Gigaba said. –

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