Infrastructure plan must benefit locals, says Zungu | Infrastructure news

Chairman of the Black Business Council, Sandile Zungu, says the outcomes of the government’s R3.2 trillion infrastructure programme must be transformative and not create jobs and businesses for overseas countries.

He was speaking during a Business Day Dialogue sponsored by Accenture last Tuesday.

“We don’t believe that [transformation] is unreasonable,” said Zungu.

He called for jobs to be created that would benefit the previously disadvantaged. He did not want to see jobs created in Europe and elsewhere out of the programmes.

“So far, so bad,” he said, noting that the build programme out of the FIFA World Cup two years ago did not create any sustainable new construction companies. “It did not deliver the value it ought to have delivered,” he said.

Geoffrey Qhena, CEO of the Industrial Development Corporation, said it was important not to rely on one entity, such as a development finance institution, to deliver the necessary investment, as capital must also be raised elsewhere.

“We cannot do it alone,” said Qhena.

Paul O’Flaherty, Eskom’s CFO, said when it came to external funding, a balance was needed to avoid control being lost, while skills development and sustainability elements also needed to be factored in.

“Not enough is being done when it comes to the foreign companies being brought in,” he said.

Ravi Naidoo, group executive of development planning at the Development Bank of SA, said it was important for SA firms to be involved over the entire life plan of the projects, including, for instance, maintenance.

“One of the things that has failed us in the past is we have looked at it in a very fragmented way,” he said.

He said financing terms needed to be crafted carefully to ensure SA firms got a large part of the local content going forward.

Roger Jardine, CEO of industrial company Aveng, which is likely to benefit from the infrastructure build programme, admitted that while the programme could be healthy for companies that would benefit, it was important such big projects were properly scoped, adjudicated, awarded and managed.

Source: business live

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