South Africa has a strong public infrastructure network that is improving citizens’ lives. The country consistently ranks in the top five countries in Africa with the best public infrastructure, which is crucial for economic growth and poverty alleviation. However, proper maintenance and upgrading of this world-class infrastructure is essential for its continued support. The Vulindlela Bulk Water Supply Scheme in KwaZulu-Natal has recently undergone upgrades, providing clean, quality water to around 350,000 residents. The Darvill wastewater treatment plant in Pietermaritzburg has also been upgraded, treating up to 100 million liters a day.
However, many instances of public infrastructure are not being properly maintained and upgraded. The South African Institution of Civil Engineering gave the country’s social infrastructure a D rating, with E being failed or failing. Passenger rail scored particularly low, achieving an E.
The maintenance of public infrastructure is often the responsibility of local government, but it remains of concern that municipalities are failing to spend conditional grants allocated to them for maintenance and upgrades. The National Treasury reported that slightly more than half of the Municipal Infrastructure Grant was being spent by municipalities. The Department of Cooperative Governance, National Treasury, and national and provincial governments will continue to support municipalities in using their budgets effectively and fulfilling their responsibilities to the South African people.
Investment in infrastructure across government is crucial for its vital developmental function. Construction is underway on several bulk water, housing, energy, and roads projects, and better infrastructure maintenance will make a significant difference in people’s lives. When social infrastructure is well-maintained, citizens benefit, businesses are supported, and the economy grows and develops.
By: The Presidency