21 August 2014
President Jacob Zuma has called on the ministers, premiers and mayors on the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) to work together urgently and creatively to speed up delivery of the country’s infrastructure build.
Chairing the first sitting of the PICC under the new administration in Pretoria on Tuesday, Zuma said the commission had been established “to ensure that the delivery of infrastructure does not suffer as departments or spheres of government protect turf, or due to mindless rules and long delays.
“The PICC is action-oriented, flexible and focused,” he said. “It must address matters with speed, partnership, and a problem-solving culture. It must attend to regulatory matters if necessary, so that we make decisions and ensure actual delivery.”
A high-level government team of ministers, premiers and metro mayors that was first set up in 2012, the commission is chaired by the President himself.
The PICC monitors more than 150 infrastructure projects in rail, road, ports, dams, irrigation systems, sanitation and electricity.
Zuma said the commission was was beginning to make solid progress in improving infrastructure spending across all three spheres of government, but said there were concerns over limited construction activity.
He said the commission was now coming down hard on projects that were not brought to conclusion. “Now we are making sure that dams are opened, that new schools are occupied by learners and that railway carriages are manufactured.
“But we recognise that much more needs to be done to generate more energy, develop better logistics and transport systems, ensure that water and sanitation reaches communities, and expand information and communication technologies, including broadband, to strengthen the 21st century economy.
“And of course, investment in health, education and rural infrastructure are all critical to the welfare and productivity of our people,” Zuma said.