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Infrastructure focus of Zuma speech

Feb 09 2012 19:34 Fin24

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Jobs, economy loom large over Zuma speech

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma again placed emphasis on job creation and poverty alleviation in his fourth State of the Nation address on Thursday.

Expertise gained during the 2010 soccer world cup will be used on a range of projects, he said.

The infrastructure plan will overseen by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission, (PICC), which was established in September.

The PICC has identified and developed projects and infrastructure initiatives from state-owned enterprises as well as national, provincial and local government departments, he said.

"We have chosen five major geographically-focussed programmes, as well as projects focusing on health and basic education infrastructure, information and communication technologies and regional integration," he said

The projects are as follows:

* A plan to develop and integrate rail, road and water infrastructure, centred around two main areas in Limpopo: the Waterberg in the Western part of the province and Steelpoort in the eastern part to boost mining in the area;

* An expansion of rail transport in Mpumalanga, connecting coalfields to power stations.

* A greater focus on infrastructure connected to mining and mineral beneficiation in the North West.

Industrial corridor

Zuma said efforts will be made to improve the movement of goods and economic integration through a Durban-Free State-Gauteng logistics and industrial corridor.

"This project is intended to connect the major economic centres of Gauteng and Durban/Pinetown, and at the same time, connect these centres with improved export capacity through our sea-ports," he said.

"In this regard, I am pleased to announce the Market Demand Strategy of Transnet, which entails an investment, over the next seven years, of R300bn in capital projects."

R200bn will be allocated to rail projects and the majority of the balance, to projects in the ports.

"The massive investment in infrastructure must leave more than just power stations, rail-lines, dams and roads. It must industrialise the country, generate skills and boost much needed job creation.

"I will convene a presidential infrastructure summit to discuss the implementation of the plan with potential investors and social partners," he said.



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