Nzimande outlines Sanral projects that will benefit from R3.5bn stimulus package
26th February 2019
By: Nadine James
Creamer Media Writer
SAVE THIS ARTICLE EMAIL THIS ARTICLE
Font size: -+
Transport Minster Blade Nzimande on Tuesday revealed that the R3.5-billion set aside for transport under the Economic Stimulus and Recovery Plan would be used to supplement funding in three key focus areas, namely the N2 Wild Coast road (N2WCR) upgrades, in the Eastern Cape, the N3 upgrades, in KwaZulu-Natal and the Moloto road upgrades, in Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
President Cyril Ramaphosa in September 2018 announced the Economic Stimulus and Recovery Plan, which outlined broad measures to set the country on a new growth path.
At the time, the President noted that the government had limited fiscal space to increase spending or borrowing and, as a result, the reprioritisation of spending would be crucial.
One of the areas mentioned in terms of this reprioritisation was infrastructure funding, with the President stating that additional funding would be directed towards provincial and national roads, human settlements, water infrastructure, schools, student accommodation and public transport.
During a media briefing, in Pretoria, on Tuesday, South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) CEO Skhumbuzo Macozoma said the projects within these key focus areas would benefit from the initial R3.5-billion stimulus, which will be used to progress key projects, supplemented by the funding set aside from Sanral’s normal budget, which amounts to R21-billion for 2018/19.
The total investment amount for the stimulus projects named by Nzimande amounts to R13.1-billion, of which R3.5-billion comes from the stimulus package.
Macozoma added that work on several of the projects had already started and, as a result, investment in these projects is ongoing.
“The N2WCR, for instance, is not starting now. We have already invested in the bridges and some of the access roads, as well as other facets . . . these funds will supplement and step up the level of investment.”
Nzmande noted that the N2WCR upgrade from East London to Port Edward was well under way and was expected to reduce travel time between Durban and East London by three hours. It would also improve logistical linkages to unlock opportunities in terms of agroprocessing and commerce.
The stimulus projects for the Wild Coast upgrade include a 16.3 km single carriageway and four-lane undivided road with two interchanges; a 17.7 km single carriageway; and an 11.5 km stretch of road.
The first project runs from Lingeni to the Mskiba bridge and is valued at R976-million. It is expected to create in excess of 480 jobs.
The second single carriageway will link the Msikiba and Mtentu bridges and includes one bridge and two interchanges and is expected to cost around R1.1-billion and create around 550 jobs.
The final project is for the stretch between Kulumbe and the Umtanvuna river and comprises two bridges and two interchanges at an estimated cost of R835-million.
All three projects will aim to prioritise small and medium-sized enterprises and emerging contractors that are woman- and youth-owned.
The N3 upgrades will focus on the stretch of road between Durban and Pietermaritzburg.
The first phase includes upgrades to the road between Cato Ridge and Pietermaritzburg, comprising ridge alignments and improvements to the EB Cloete interchange. The entire first phase is valued at R13-billion.
This Strategic Infrastructure Project (SIP) is aimed at unlocking capacity along the country’s “most important freight corridor”, Nizimande noted, adding that there are seven shovel-ready projects for this SIP.
He highlighted three of the seven projects – the EB Cloete Interchange, which links the N2 and N3 in eThekwini and is being upgraded to the tune of R1.5-billion; the creation of additional lanes between Cato Ridge and Camperdown in the uMgungundlovu municipality for about R1.5-billion; and additional lanes between Camperdown and Lynnfield Park, which is budgeted at about R1.2-billion.
About 11 100 jobs could be created for these three projects during the construction phase.
The government has further prioritised the upgrade of Moloto road, with R3.3-billion allocated by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni during his Budget speech last week.
Nzimande explained that the upgrade formed part of a larger vision – the establishment of the Moloto Development Corridor, which will result in roads being linked to commuter rail to enable more efficient freight movement.
He noted that there are major concerns about safety on Moloto road, which links Gauteng to Limpopo and Mpumalanga. He cited the fatal accident that occurred on the road on Monday, which led to six deaths and the injury of scores more.
The first phase of the upgrade – the improvement of the main carriageway between Siyabuswa and Marble Hall, in Limpopo – is nearing completion.
Additionally, the upgrade of four priority intersections, in Mpumalanga, has been completed.
Nzimande noted that there are three more Moloto-related construction work packages for Limpopo and five for Mpumalanga, all of which should be rolled out during the current financial year.
The stimulus projects include R23-million allocated to drainage improvements along Moloto road, as well as a similar amount allocated to upgrading gravel roads in KwaMhlanga.
Other stimulus projects include the construction of the Tweefontein and Kwaggafontein access roads in the Thembisile Hani municipality, in Mpumalanga. The roads have a combined budget of R200-million and are expected to create around 600 jobs.
Commenting on the broader vision for Moloto, Nzimande noted that, while expanding and improving the rail network is not feasible, given the financial constraints as a result of the country’s economic situation, the reality is that the degree to which commuters and freight transporters use road transport is unsustainable.
“We need to find ways and means of funding rail . . . the sooner we start identifying source of funding the better.”
He concluded by noting that the African National Congress has committed to expanding rail, for passengers in particular, and that in the next five years “important victories in shifting freight and passengers to rail will be realised.”
Transport Deputy Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga and Sanral executive engineer Louw Kannemeyer also attended the media briefing