The multi-billion rand mixed-use Rainbow Junction development north of Pretoria’s central business district is “a shovel-ready project” and will contribute 84 000 jobs to the Gauteng economy as it is built over the next 10 years.
Rainbow Junction CEO Rosella Dingle confirmed this on Tuesday during a Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA) virtual discussion on The Role of Infrastructure, Technology, and Logistics Towards the Next Normal.
She said the development will contribute 1.85% of Gauteng’s GDP during construction and operations over the next 10 years. “Those are significant numbers and that is because it’s a mixed-use development, stretching from retail to residential to business uses.”
Original plans for the new nodal development include about 670 000m² of commercial development.
All ‘enablements’ in place
Dingle said “shovel-ready” means that “all the enablements are in place, all the permissions have been granted and the project is moving in several tranches … towards proclamation of the townships”.
She said they are waiting for permission to continue with infrastructural development and the provision and installation of services for the townships, which will allow building of the “top structures” to start.
Dingle said there is a K14 provincial road link that crosses the Apies River and links the old Zambezi Drive with Sefako Makgatho Drive to Rachel de Beer Street, with those two projects sitting in the hands of decision-makers at the City of Tshwane and the Gauteng Roads and Transport Department.
“Both of those decisions are pending but when unleashed, and we are expecting positive decisions soon, will stimulate post Covid-19 economic growth,” she said.
Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Agriculture, Environment and Rural Development Morakane Mosupyoe said investing in infrastructure is an essential enabler for promoting diversified and exclusive nodes in South Africa, not only in the province, but the continent as well.
Economic input and output
GGDA Group CEO Mosa Tshabalala said the Gauteng government’s objective is to ensure that it stimulates the economy to create jobs and boost the province’s contribution to South Africa’s GDP, taking into account the fact that Gauteng contributes 35% towards SA’s GDP.
But Tshabalala stressed that to stimulate jobs, the province needs to ensure there is sufficient economic infrastructure in place, such as bulk infrastructure, roads and telecommunications, to ensure that economic activity can take place.
“You can’t expect to bring investors into spaces where they cannot thrive and they themselves will incur increased costs to run sustainable businesses,” she said.
Tshabalala highlighted that all five corridors in Gauteng will have special economic zones (SEZs), each with a specific industry and sector focus.
She said the northern corridor, which is the Automotive City they will be rolling out over the years, will have the Auto SEZ and a high-tech and advanced manufacturing SEZ.
The southern corridor will have the Vaal SEZ, which will be more of a mixed-use special economic zone, while the western corridor will have an agriculture and agri-tech focus, she added.
“That model ensures that we concentrate our focus on economic infrastructure into designated zones and can add the investment capability and investment attraction capability to that to ensure we include our communities and our youth.
“We educate them, we bring them into this space and we help them understand that this is developed so they can develop as communities as well,” she said.
Siemens CEO Sabine Dall’Omo said capital is key to infrastructure developments and projects.
Dall’Omo said public-private partnerships (PPPs) could potentially be used in some areas but there then needs to be an understanding of how the repayment will work and how the community accepts the asset that will be rolled out.
This is to prevent variations during the course of 10 to 15 years sabotaging the outcome, payment period and success for South Africa, she said.
Dall’Omo said South Africa has a great example in the energy infrastructure environment with the Independent Power Producer (IPP) programme.
“South Africa has been receiving awards because it’s the best programme worldwide at a given point in time and has shown how these types of projects can be rolled out successfully as well as for the investor and IPP,” she said.
Prasa goes back to basics
Prasa Rail CEO Nosipho Damasane said the passenger rail agency is going back to basics to get passengers to work, which in phase one means rehabilitating the system.
Damasane said the second phase is to look at a modernisation programme in which the private sector will have a big role.
But she admitted that crime at Prasa “has become a national challenge” and the agency has started insourcing its security “to get the ownership that you require”.
“We have appointed the first round of 3 100 security officers in different categories to assist us,” she said.
Damasane added that Prasa does not start operations without first putting in the necessary security.
“Our strategy is turning to a situation where our biggest investment is security, followed by the actual infrastructure, followed by the actual operations and then to service our clients – in that order,” she said.
Damasane said one of the key strategies to stop and prevent the theft and vandalism of Prasa ’s infrastructure is to involve communities and appoint people in the communities where they live to create a sense of ownership of what Prasa does.
She said the country has a funding challenge but there is space for private sector participation and Prasa is looking at how to partner with some of its bigger suppliers.
“Sometimes partnering is not going to come in the form of just funding. It could come in terms of technology and skills sharing.”