SA infrastructure below par with one shining light – report

South Africa is now experiencing system failure – where the entire public infrastructure system across the country is looking likely to collapse over the coming period, and if disasters like floods happen like the one in KZN, the impact will be disproportionately damaging in terms of lives lost, damage and the cost of repairs. This makes for damning viewing in the Infrastructure report which was released by the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (Saice) last week. It reveals that about half of South Africa’s public infrastructure has collapsed or is collapsing. The lack of infrastructure maintenance, corruption in which dodgy black economic empowerment companies have been given tenders and often build flimsy infrastructure and cadre deployees without the necessary technical skills who have poorly looked after public assets have now snowballed into the breakdown of the entire public infrastructure – causing a system failure. The overall grade in the report was a ‘D’ compared to a ‘D+’ in 2006; the lowest rating since the report was first published in 2006. According to the Treasury, South Africa needs to invest 30% of GDP in infrastructure. In 2020, it was 13.7%, less than half of what we should be doing. “Something has to be done or South Africa may become a failed state’, said Saice President Professor Marianne Vanderschuren. This article was first published by the Daily Friend. – Asime Nyide

SA infrastructure collapsing – report

Staff Writer

About half of South Africa’s public infrastructure has collapsed or is collapsing. This needs to be addressed urgently, warned the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (Saice).

‘Something has to be done or South Africa may become a failed state’, said Saice President Professor Marianne Vanderschuren at the release of its 2022 Infrastructure Report Card on last week.

The scorecard is based on a five-point scale: ‘A’ is world class, ‘B’ is fit for the future, ‘C’ is satisfactory for now, ‘D’ is at risk of failure and ‘E’ is unfit for purpose.

The overall grade in the report was a ‘D’ compared to a ‘D+’ in 2006; the lowest rating since the report was first published in 2006.

There was an improvement to a ‘C-‘ with the investment made for the Fifa World Cup in 2010 ‘but the trend has been downwards ever since’.

The Gautrain is the only infrastructure sub-sector to receive an ‘A’ rating. Its infrastructure is in good condition and there are sound maintenance practices.

The four sub-sectors to receive ‘E’ ratings are the rail branch lines; Prasa branch lines; sanitation and wastewater in all but urban areas; and provincial and municipal unpaved roads.

Vanderschuren said there are centres of excellence in the country, such as the Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa), Gautrain, Sanral, the Eskom transmission network, ICT, oil and gas pipelines, and the fishing harbours.

According to Treasury, South Africa needs to invest 30% of GDP in infrastructure. In 2020, it was 13.7%, less than half of what we should be doing.

‘Unless we invest in social infrastructure properly, we cannot give people the mobility to find jobs, you can’t keep them healthy, you can’t educate them so that they get jobs,’ said Vanderschuren.

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