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Infrastructure upgrades give provinces facelifts

Infrastructure

Heavy machinery operated by busy workmen will be a common sight across South Africa this year, as provinces go to work, building and upgrading infrastructure.

In their State of the Province Addresses recently, the nine Premiers outlined the infrastructure projects their provinces would deliver to boost economic and social development.

KwaZulu-Natal

In KwaZulu-Natal infrastructure will receive a major boost through the upgrading of regional airfields.

Four regional airports will be revamped including the Oribi Airport in Pietermaritzburg, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Airport in Ulundi and airports in Margate and Mkuze.

Premier Zweli Mkhize said the province would complete 285km of new gravel roads.

The province will also expand coal rail link to open access for coal mined in Limpopo. Parts of the rail line will pass through Swaziland to Richards Bay.

“Transnet is proceeding with investment of R31.6 billion to upgrade the coal export line to 81 million tons per annum,” Mkhize added. Rail passengers will enjoy travelling in new trains as the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) refurbishes the existing fleet.

The province will be allocated 936 new, modern coaches to be procured by the agency at an estimated R123 billion over the next 20 years. Next year 72 coaches will be delivered to the province at a cost of R161 million.

Eastern Cape

In the Eastern Cape R2.3 billion will be spent on the upgrade of East London Harbour.

Premier Noxolo Kiviet said the harbour upgrade would enable the Elitheni Coal Mine to export coal.

“The initial contract will result in 2.5 million tons of coal exports per annum by 2014, creating 2 000 direct and 20 000 indirect jobs,” she said.

The upgrading of the Mthatha Airport at a cost of R465 million is also underway.

The Premier also revealed that the province had spent R59.3 million of the R123 million allocated for building the Nkosi Dalibhunga Mandela Legacy Bridge and Road.

The province is currently upgrading two national roads - the N2 and N6 - in partnership with the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL).

A total of R1.5 billion has been budgeted for renovating hospitals including St Patricks in Mbizana, Cecilia Makiwane in Mdantsane, Frontier in Queenstown, St Elizabeth in Lusikisiki and Madwaleni in Elliotdale.

Premier Kiviet said 50 more schools would be constructed this year to replace mud schools.

Northern Cape

Acting Premier Grizelda Cjiekella announced that the Northern Cape would invest R2.2 billion on road infrastructure development. Roads to be upgraded include Carnarvon-Vosburg, Hotazel–Tsineng, Hopetown–Douglas, Hondeklip Bay–Garies roads and the Hakskeen Pan Project.

The province will spend R4.2 billion building a new university, which is expected to enrol 5 000 students by 2014.

“The prospects for the construction sector are expected to improve with the planned construction of the university, the Square Kilometre Array project, the investments in the rail upgrades for the

Oryx Iron Ore line and the Sishen-Coega manganese line,” said the acting Premier.

The Sishen/Saldanha railway line will be upgraded, increasing its capacity from 4 million tons to 16 million tons of iron ore a year.

A feasibility study for the R150 billion solar park to be built in Upington is to be completed this year, she added.

Health infrastructure will also be upgraded. This includes hospitals in Upington, Kuruman, De Aar Hospital and Postmasburg. Clinics will also be built in Williston, Kagung, Durham and Postmasburg.

Mpumalanga

Photo caption: The new Medupi Power Station, currently under construction in Limpopo, is one of the many infrastructure projects underway in the country.Mpumalanga will dedicate R10.3 billion over 10 years to ensure that the new university, currently under construction in the province, is fully functional by 2024.

The university is expected to accommodate 15 000 students.

Premier David Mabuza said construction would also start shortly on the R5 billion Majuba Rail Siding Project, aimed at establishing a private railway line to transport coal from the existing Transnet Coal Export railway line to the Majuba Power Station coal stockyard in Amersfoort.

On the health front, eight hospitals are to be demolished and reconstructed including Bethal, Elsie Ballot, Ermelo Sesifuba, Sabie, Lydenburg, Barberton, Mapulaneng and the Standerton TB Hospital.

A Maths, Science and Technology Academy will be developed to improve the capacity of teachers. In addition, a High Tech Centre of Excellency will be established to increase the skills base in the province, prioritising artisan and agricultural skills.

Eskom is also playing a role by providing water and sanitation to schools and health facilities to communities in four municipal areas. These beneficiaries will be connected to a power grid from the Majuba Power Station.

Western Cape

Premier Helen Zille announced that 70 per cent of provincial government buildings, rural libraries and schools will be connected to the broadband network by the end of 2014, turning them into wireless internet hotspots.

The province will also build and upgrade schools and hospitals this year.

This includes the construction of 26 new schools to replace 46 others and the building of 124 Grade R classrooms. Over the next three years, 420 schools will be refurbished.

The R33 million Malmesbury Community Day Centre Clinic opened last year, she added. Other health projects include the construction of the new Du Noon Community Health Care Centre and a R53 million emergency centre at Karl Bremer Hospital.

Gauteng

In Gauteng construction to expand the City Deep/Kaserne terminal, the largest and busiest container terminal in Africa, and upgrades to roads are currently underway.

Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said the province would upgrade roads including the R55 (Voortrekker Road) carriageway, William Nicol Drive and the Old Pretoria to Cullinan Road.

The province will also work with municipalities to expand the Bus Rapid Transit network, especially in Ekurhuleni.

Premier Mokonyane said PRASA would deliver 45 per cent of its new rolling stock fleet to the province.

Limpopo

Photo caption: Roads across the country are being upgraded and rehabilitated as part of government's efforts to develop and improve infrastructure.The Limpopo government has partnered with the Department of Trade and Industry to establish Special Economic Zones (SEZs). SEZs are geographical regions that have economic and other laws aimed at increasing foreign direct investment, development of infrastructure and increasing employment.

Premier Cassel Mathale announced that the first SEZ will be in Musina and will focus on logistics and coal, while the second will be in the Greater Tubatse Municipality, where it will explore possibilities in the platinum sector.

The establishment of the hydrogen fuel cell industry will also create an additional demand for platinum.

Also on the cards is the development and installation of bulk infrastructure in Lephalale. Eskom is also currently building the new Medupi Power Station in the area.

The power station is expected to become the largest dry-cooled, coal-fired power station in the world.

Free State

The Free State government plans to provide 100 per cent broadband coverage to all households in the province by 2020.

Premier Ace Magashule said the construction of a 1 000km link connecting Bloemfontein with Johannesburg and East London was progressing well and that it would improve internet connectivity.

The Durban-Free State-Gauteng Development Corridor will support the logistics and transport between South Africa’s industrial hubs, improve access to Durban’s export and import facilities and integrate the Free State Industrial Strategy, he added.

The province is also making steady progress with the construction and rehabilitation work on the province’s roads.

Premier Magashule announced that the construction of a new road in Thaba Nchu, the Monotsha Boarder Pass and Qwa-Qwa Route 4 was going well.

North West

In the North West six schools in Ngaka, Modiri and Molema and three more in Dr Kenneth Kaunda and Dr Ruth Segomotso Mompati are being constructed to replace mud schools, Premier Thandi Modise said.

The Mmabatho and Execelsius nursing colleges are being extended and nursing schools in Moses Kotane, Potchefstroom, Lichentenburg and Taung are to be upgraded.

Twenty-five roads are also being upgraded. Premier Modise said R200 million would be spent on road rehabilitation and maintenance in the 2013/14 financial year.

The Brits Hospital, which falls under the Hospital Revitalisation Programme, was nearing completion, she added.

During the 2013/14 financial year, the province is also expected to build 15 230 housing units in four regions to the value of over R1 billion.