Develop Strategic Infrastructure

Foundation for Growth

 

Infrastructure development is the foundation for poverty reduction and economic growth in developing countries. The long-term success and participation in the global market by KwaZulu-Natal, as a Province with a vision to be one of the primary gateways into Africa, will be in its ability to maintain and improve its transport and logistics infrastructure.

The Province has adopted a target of increasing investment in capital infrastructure from the current 16.5% of GDP to 25% by 2020. The development of an Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan for the Province is well underway and is being developed with all the infrastructure related authorities. The key infrastructure areas to be focused on are the harbours, airports, road, rail, water, sanitation, electricity. ICT, school and health facilities, human settlements, as well as specialist infrastructure to support lead economic sectors in the Province.

These developments all form part of the National Infrastructure Plan, implemented through the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) and the 18 Strategic Integrated Projects, referred to as SIPs which it presides over. As a Province we are participating in 15 of these SIPs which of direct significance to us in KwaZulu-Natal.

Ports
With the revamping and extension of the Port of Durban already well underway at an estimated cost of more than R 22 billion, and the new Dugout Port in an advanced stage of detailed planning, as well as further expansions planned for the Port of Richards Bay, we are set to see many more cranes on the KwaZulu-Natal skyline.

Roads and Rail
The road and rail networks carry the life blood of our economy in the form of cargo and passengers.  Improving and expanding the cargo handling capacity of the Durban and Richard Bay ports immediately implies that adequate and appropriate rail and road network capacity is provided to improve linkages with other parts of the country, as well as with bordering countries.

Currently an improvement in the quality of our provincial roads has been reported with less than 43% of roads categorised as poor, compared to 52% in 2010. A similar trend is experienced with the national roads where less than 2% are now classified as poor, compared to 15% in 2010. An over-burdened road network and under-utilised rail network are however factors contributing to infrastructural deficiencies in the province. Because of the acknowledged lack of investment in public infrastructure spanning some years, freight is more effectively moved by road, which overburdens the road network. It is for this reason that the primary focus over the next five years will be on:
  • Working with Transnet to ensure the expansion of and maintenance of the core rail freight network, as well as on exploring opportunities for the manufacturing and servicing of the required rolling stock within the Province
  • Ensuring that the branch rail lines are revitalised to prevent further movement of goods from rail to road
  • Creating additional capacity along primary movement corridors in the Province
  • Maintaining secondary road networks
  • Extending rural road access in support of rural development initiatives ƒƒ Working with PRASA to improve passenger rail services and to explore the possibility of establishing high speed rail connections in the Province; and developing integrated public transport services.
Airports

The airports of KwaZulu-Natal offer greater potential to increase connectivity both at domestic and international level. It is for this reason that a Regional Airport Strategy has been developed, to ensure that the airport infrastructure present is optimised to its full potential to support economic growth initiatives.

The Provincial Executive Council has now also adopted the KwaZulu-Natal Integrated Aerotropolis Strategy, anchored around the King Shaka International Airport and the Dube TradePort. As such a clear framework has been established for growing air services and connectivity, integrated and coordinated spatial planning, as well as equitable and inclusive growth.

The airlift strategy is now being finalised and the Province is targeting to further secure its existing long haul route to Dubai, as well as four regional routes to Mauritius, Maputo, Harare, Lusaka and eight domestic routes to all the main centres of South Africa.  Targets are to increase the volume of passengers through KwaZulu-Natal airports from the current 5.2 million rising to 8 million in 2020, and to increase the international tonnage throughput from Dube TradePort cargo terminal from 6500 tonnes to 8000.

Water
Recent droughts have increased the risk of severe water shortages for human, commercial and agricultural use. The Province has experienced a situation where, largely as a result of a shortage of raw water and bulk services, it has not been able to maintain the level of household and commercial water connections. This situation is being addressed in a number of ways. But most importantly by investigating options of desalination as well as augmenting storage capacity through the following measures:
  • The Spring Grove Dam, was and completed in 2014. This will provide an additional system yield of 60 million cubic meters per annum into the Umgeni River System;
  • he raising of the Hazelmere Dam which has unfortunately had some setbacks, but is now scheduled for completion by the end of 2016.  This will provide additional 20 cubic meters of water per annum into uMdloti River system;
  • Phase 1 of the Smithfield Dam on the uMkhomazi
  • River, is undergoing a detailed feasibility study.  This is obviously a longer term solution which will yield 250 cubic meters of water per annum at a projected cost of R14 billion;
  • ƒ The Lower uThukela Regional Bulk Scheme. This will provide additional 40 million cubic meters per annum. Phase 1 of this project is scheduled for completion later this year.
However, we must all realise that water is increasingly becoming a scarce resource and just like in the case of electricity, we will have to learn to reduce our consumption and avoid wastage.
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