The Gauteng provincial government will spend R46-billion on infrastructure over the next three years, Premier David Makhura said in his keynote address at the Gauteng Infrastructure Funding Summit
The Premier said the investment would contribute significantly to economic empowerment, radical economic transformation, improving the quality of life of citizens and enhancing the global competitiveness of the Gauteng city region.
He said it was important to note that the Gauteng Infrastructure Master Plan estimated that R1.8-trillion was needed to meet the province’s infrastructure needs over the next decade-and-a-half.
“The government fiscus will never be enough . . . to meet the growing infrastructure needs of this dynamic province, which is why we are looking to the private-sector and State-owned companies to help us reshape the spatial economy of Gauteng,” he said.
Makhura pointed out that, between 2013 and 2016, the Gauteng government spent R30-billion on infrastructure project developments.
The infrastructure spend contributed to the creation of 92 000 direct jobs, R15-billion went directly to household incomes and it also stimulated additional economic activity in the Gauteng economy worth R26-billion.
A further R6-billion was generated and went to government revenue, while 92c of every R1 spent on infrastructure was added to the Gauteng economy.
“When we talk of mega human settlements, we have to take into account the full economic, spatial, social and ecological dimensions of this concept. We must also take into account issues of scale, location, design, densification and integration,” he said.
Makhura highlighted that there were several imperatives that the provincial government was seeking to realise through the concept of mega human settlements.
“Gauteng has delivered 1.2-million houses since 1994; however, we have a stubborn and persistent backlog of about 600 000 houses, owing to the high rate of urbanisation and in-migration.”
He added that the province could not address this moving and shifting backlog through the delivery of smaller numbers of houses, highlighting that megadevelopments that would deliver larger numbers of houses were needed.
“Scale is an important imperative; anything less than 10000 units should not qualify as a mega human settlement project,” he said.
Makhura also noted that urban sprawl, which was rife throughout the province, was financially costly and ecologically unsustainable.
He said it was imperative to promote densification and compact settlements for reasons of land scarcity and efficiency of infrastructure provision.
“We must build high-density developments that are aesthetically beautiful and ecologically attractive,” he said.
Makhura stressed that it was no longer affordable to accommodate people in human settlement developments that were far from economic opportunities and transport nodes.
“We can no longer afford to build houses without the simultaneous planning for and delivery of educational, health, public transport and sporting facilities. Integrated planning and multisectoral delivery of comprehensive services are non-negotiable,” he asserted.
He added that local government had to deliberately seek to allocate housing opportunities in a manner that integrated communities across municipal and geographic boundaries, as well as the racial and income divide, pointing out that social cohesion was important.
“In other words, central to the shift towards the vision of mega human settlements is scale, densification, location, integration and social cohesion. Without these four dimensions, we cannot talk of mega human settlements and post-apartheid cities,” Makhura said.