S.Africa's infrastructure development needs to walk the talk


“We are absolutely clear that Treasury needs to be involved from the beginning because ultimately they bring a discipline into the process. Funders need to be brought into the process early on in the game. There needs to be transparency throughout the process and a critical aspect is that decisions need to be taken and kept,” Banking Association South Africa’s managing director Cas Coovadia told CNBC Africa.

“These are long term projects that have significant outlay of funds and we need certainty of decision-making. We need certainty on the part of government that they will stay the route throughout the course of the project. We can get it done but we seem to be involved in talking about these issues instead of saying let’s get a few projects on the ground. We learn by mistakes we make but at least we’ll be moving forward in this.”

There is either little or very slow progress being made on South Africa’s major infrastructure developments and this seems to be causing frustration in the private sector.

“All our banks tell us they don’t have problems with policy issues. They do have problems with coordination, in that the projects aren’t coming through the pipeline and we need to get those projects on the table,” Coovadia explained.

“We have to welcome any effort to coordinate the various stakeholders in the infrastructure programme but such coordination must lead to projects being put on the table, and more projects coming through the pipeline.”

Coovadia added that the only way to assess to resolve blockages within the process is to identify them while the projects are being implemented.

“We’re part of the Treasury-led task team that’s been formed to unblock blockages but the problem is that we’re not identifying the blockages. The best way to do that is let’s identify a couple of projects, let’s put project finance and project management people around those projects, both from the public and private sector. As they’re doing that if we’re identifying blockages, let’s deal with it,” he said.