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Budget Speech 2015

Transport, energy and communications



Fellow South Africans, we have all been reminded of the importance of infrastructure investment and maintenance over the past year. It is not just an inconvenience when the lights go out, there is a cost to the economy in production and income and jobs foregone.


Many South Africans regularly experience other kinds of infrastructure failure: unreliable water supplies, roads that are impassable when it rains, trains that break down or poor telecommunication linkages.


These are large, long-term, costly challenges, and so the work of Minister Peters, Minister Joemat-Pettersson, Minister Cwele, Minister Mokonyane and Minister Patel in securing maximum value out of available funds is especially critical.


We are able to make substantial contributions through the fiscus to infrastructure services over the MTEF period. These include:


1) R1.1 billion for the upgrade of the Moloto Road to improve safety and mobility on this road.


2) The Passenger Rail Agency’s R53 billion ten-year renewal programme is now in progress. The first 44 new train sets, or 528 coaches, will be delivered over the next three years.


3) Over R80 billion for local roads and over 220 water and sanitation projects.


4) R105 billion for housing and associated bulk infrastructure requirements.


5) Over R18 billion for 875 000 households to be connected to the grid or to receive off-grid electricity; and


6) R1.1 billion for broadband connectivity in government institutions and schools.


I need to emphasise, Honourable Speaker, that not all infrastructure services qualify for budget funding. Cost recovery from users is a key foundation of infrastructure sustainability, together with fiscal support for access to essential services.


I therefore wish to endorse the Deputy President’s carefully balanced approach to resolving the Gauteng Freeway financing matter. Concerns regarding the socio-economic impact of toll tariffs have been heard, and revised monthly ceilings will shortly be proposed. We will include a national contribution to meeting the associated cost in the Adjustments Appropriation later this year. Measures will also be taken to ease compliance and improve enforcement. But cost recovery from road-users will continue to be the principal financing mechanism for this major road system.