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The Infrastructure Development Bill [B49 B-2013] was passed by Parliament on 26 March 2014. The Bill was agreed to in terms of Section 65 of the Constitution of the Republic.

[UPDATE:] President Jacob Zuma has signed into law the Infrastructure Development Act designed to fast track large economic and social infrastructure projects. Download the Infrastructure Development Act here.

The purpose of the Infrastructure Development Act, 2014 (Act No. 23 of 2014) (the Act) and what it means to you

Infrastructure investment has been identified in both the New Growth Path and National Development Plan as playing a critical role in the economy, both as a direct provider of services and as a catalyst for higher employment-creation, inclusive economic growth and trade competitiveness.

The signing of the Infrastructure Development Bill into law on 02 June 2014 followed an extensive consultative process with a wide range of stakeholders of the Department.

The Act is aimed at fast-tracking regulatory decision-making and speeding up the implementation of strategic infrastructure projects earmarked for South Africa. The roll-out of massive infrastructure projects over the past few years has not only contributed to the creation of jobs in the country but has also served as a cushion in stabilising the economy following the 2009 economic crisis and subsequent global economic slowdown.

A central task for the state is to ensure that infrastructure grows sufficiently to serve the expanding economy and population; that it promotes developmental goals such as employment creation; greening the economy and broad-based empowerment; and, that it is built, operated and maintained cost-effectively.

The division of responsibilities for infrastructure across the state, from the national departments to state-owned companies, provinces, municipalities and regulatory bodies, leads to the risk of contradictory plans and priorities or unco-ordinated implementation with cost-raising and development-dampening effects. To ensure a more strategic and co-ordinated response to these challenges, in October 2011, government established the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC).

The Infrastructure Development Act codifies into law the PICC and the National Infrastructure Plan as key mechanisms to co-ordinate and drive infrastructure development in South Africa. The Act is intended to speed up and improve the delivery and implementation of social and economic infrastructure and to maximise the developmental impact.

First, the Act establishes into law the coordination structures of the PICC. This is done to ensure that all three spheres of government are part of the PICC and that all the main executive authorities across the public sector are mandated to meet on a regular basis to drive implementation of infrastructure.

Second, it provides for Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs) that bring together a number of catalytic projects that make up the National Infrastructure Plan. These allow for better integration of connected projects and improved monitoring of implementation.

Third, it sets time-frames for the approval of regulatory decisions affecting the implementation of infrastructure projects. Instead of sequential approval processes, it provides for processes to run concurrently, wherever possible. This ensures that the state works to a common deadline and that this time-frame provides for public consultation processes.

Fourth, it sets out processes of co-ordination that require regulatory authorities and cross-cutting departments to work closely together through steering committees for each SIP that will co-ordinate efforts to speed up the implementation of infrastructure construction and completion.

Fifth, it provides for the PICC to expropriate land required for infrastructure development but makes such power subject to the constitution and any Act of Parliament specifically dealing with expropriation, which is passed by Parliament after its promulgation.

Sixth, it sets out the mechanism through which developmental targets can be set for each major infrastructure project, covering areas such as youth employment targets, greening the economy, skills development and broad-based economic empowerment.

This Act does not change the responsibilities of accounting officers or authorities and does not change the route for fiscal flows.

Line departments and public entities will continue to receive funding for specific infrastructure projects and these departments will continue to be accountable to Parliament for the spending of money.

As the Chair of the PICC Secretariat, EDD will be responsible for co-ordinating the implementation of projects and enhance the connection between projects (e.g. to ensure that when a school is built, it also has roads, sewage systems, water, electricity and ICT connectivity and that employment creation and industrialisation are maximised in the construction phase and through the procurement of locally-manufactured components).

Other responsibilities of EDD will comprise:

  • Issuing regulations and implementation frameworks for the SIPs, in consultation with the PICC and the responsible Ministers, including on skills, the Green Economy, employment creation, youth employment, rural development and BBBEE;
  • Providing quarterly progress report to the PICC; and
  • Authorisation for delegations by role-players in the PICC structures.