Infrastructure projects underway, land reform to be boosted

Posted On Friday, 15 February 2013 06:22 Published by eProp@News
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President Jacob Zuma has in his State of the Nation Address on Thursday highlighted various infrastructure projects that have already kicked off and also announced several new measures to speed up land reform.

Delivering his address, during a joint sitting of Parliament, Zuma gave an update on various infrastructure projects, and also announced that a study on the country’s tax policies would be launched later this year .

Turning to infrastructure projects, he said by the end of next month and starting from 2009, the government will have spent about R860 billion on infrastructure.

Various projects having started across the country, he said.

These include the start of construction of the first phase of the Mokolo and Crocodile River Water Augmentation which will provide water required for the Matimba and the Medupi power stations.

  • The construction of the bulk water distribution system for the De Hoop Dam also began in October last year, to supply water to the Greater Sekhukhune, Waterberg and Capricorn district municipalities.
  • Work is now under way to develop the City Deep inland terminal in Gauteng.
  • Initial work has commenced in the expansion of the Pier 2 in the Durban Port.
  • Construction is also under way at the Port of Ngqura to develop a new transshipment hub.
  • Preparatory work has started on the Umzimvubu Dam in the Eastern Cape
  • Construction work is taking place in five cities – Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay, Rustenburg, eThekwini, Tshwane to integrate the different modes of transport – bus, taxi and train.
  • 675km of electricity lines have been laid to economic centres and also to bring power to rural areas, while the government signed contracts to the value of R47 billion in the renewable energy programme. 
  • 98 new schools will have been built by the end of next month, of which more than 40 are in the Eastern Cape that are replacing mud schools.

He said construction is expected to begin in September at the sites of two new universities in the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga.

With 2013 set to mark the centenary of the 1913 Land Act, Zuma said the government would take a number of steps to speed up land reform.

These include shortening the time it takes to finalise a claim while proposed amendments had been made to the Restitution of Land Rights Act to provide for the re-opening of the lodgement of restitution claims, by people who missed the deadline of 31 December 1998, he said.

“Also to be explored, are exceptions to the June 1913 cut-off date to accommodate claims by the descendants of the Khoi and San as well as heritage sites and historical landmarks,” he said.

However, he said, government would continue to pursue the “just and equitable” principle for compensation, as set out in the constitution instead of the “willing buyer, willing seller” principle, which forces the state to  pay more for land than the actual value.

He said government would also need to provide better incentives for commercial farmers that are willing and capable of mentoring smallholder farmers.

On small business support, he said a key project for the Presidency currently is to get government departments to pay small business within 30 days.

“Departments are required to submit monthly reports so that we can monitor progress in this regard,” he said, adding that accounting officers who fail to execute this directive, should face consequences.

The government will also prioritise the development of black owned enterprises and black industrialists, said Zuma, adding that the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Act and codes are being finalised.

 

Last modified on Friday, 15 February 2013 06:31

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