Govt. announces infrastructure plan

Eighteen new infrastructure projects were announced on Friday, at a conference hosted by the Presidency.

Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel pictured on 18 July 2012. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

SANDTON - Eighteen new infrastructure projects were announced on Friday at the presidential infrastructure investment conference.

After two years of planning, government said work had already begun.

President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and labour unions attended the conference held at the Sandton Convention Centre, north of Johannesburg.

Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said the new plan would help grow the nation's economy and improve the lives of South Africans.

The project will see new schools and hospitals being built, and will address municipal backlogs in all nine provinces.

According to a statement released by the Presidency, the Eastern Cape schools refurbishment programme was launched two weeks ago.

Under the plan, 49 mud schools will be replaced with "modern schools".

The statement added, "There are currently more than 2,000 registered school refurbishment projects across the country. In addition, 886 health facilities are being refurbished and revitalised.

"We are also going to build two new universities in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape as part of the social infrastructure build programme, which will expand access to higher education to the two provinces."

Friday's conference was aimed at creating partnerships between government, inventors, construction companies and unions.

The seminar heard that infrastructure development, agriculture, mining and beneficiation, manufacturing and the green economy were the major job drivers in the country.