The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) is putting a shoulder to the wheel to roll out Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs), which are aimed at improving the quality of life for South Africans.

“As a department, we will make our contribution in cementing the vision of a South Africa that leaves no one behind, as clearly articulated in the 2023 State of the Nation Address by His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“We are resolute that our programs should benefit the youth, women, military veterans, and people with disabilities in the construction and property sector,” said Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Sihle Zikalala on Tuesday.

Delivering his department’s 2023/24 Budget Vote in Cape Town, the Minister said infrastructure development is inextricably tied to the aspirations of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP) in post-COVID SA.

“Our objective is to use our role in the property and infrastructure sector to build assets, deliver climate-resilient smart infrastructure, facilitate spatial transformation, support economic empowerment, and drive job creation.

“During Africa Month, we reaffirm our commitment to a ‘Better Africa and a Better World’, which can be concretized through world-class infrastructure that crisscrosses Africa,” Zikalala said.

In the year ahead, the Minister said the department will coordinate the provision of a “social facilitation framework” to mitigate community unrest, which delays construction projects.

“We are determined to enhance the participation of communities in projects, drive localization of supplies, and involve locals in the maintenance of the property ecosystem,” he said, adding that the department’s construction branch will work closely with Infrastructure South Africa (ISA) to unclog delayed projects.

Other key areas of focus, the Minister said, are contract management, capacity building, risk management, and continuous monitoring of projects.

“We have introduced the ‘war room’ approach and the establishment of Project Management Units (PMUs) to fast track the implementation of projects and reduce the number of projects that are stalled.”

Zikalala said they are going to establish panels of contractors and consultants to avoid prolonged procurement processes.

Zikalala said his department is also addressing vacancy rates, which impede the capacity to effectively deliver projects on time and within budget.

“No matter the odds, we are determined to close down the curtain on the history of the department being associated with corruption, ineptitude, and poor infrastructure delivery.

“We will be regular with project site visits, where we will inspect, monitor and unblock service delivery challenges. Shovels must be on the ground. South Africa must become a construction site again.

“The department must not be a soft target for unscrupulous service providers who at times fleece it through shoddy workmanship and project stoppages, claiming liquidation of companies,” Zikalala said.


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