SA’s infrastructure ambitions face capacity challenges

16 April 2014

South Africa’s infrastructure investment and roll-out ambitions face capacity challenges as local government lacks architects, engineers, project managers and financial managers.

“Government has a good infrastructure plan on the table, but the bottom line is that they need more infrastructure specialists,” added Old Mutual head of infrastructural, developmental and environmental assets Jurie Swart.

Engineers were the “shortest in supply” – followed by technologists and technicians – within government’s labour force in the infrastructure arena, particularly when compared with the number of superintendents, forepersons, artisans and operators.

South Africa in 2007 averaged three civil engineering staff for every 100 000 population, compared with 22 in English-speaking and Scandinavian countries and an average of 20 in South Africa in 1989.

Local government required nearly 3 000 civil engineering staff, but only 1300 were currently employed.

The Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) infrastructure book contained over 645 infrastructure projects and government’s national infrastructure plan identifed 18 strategic integrated projects, or Sips, outlining geographic-, energy-, social-, spacial-, knowledge-, regional- and water and sanitation-focused programmes to be adopted.

By: Natasha Odendaal
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