Welcoming address by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to the Presidential Infrastructure Investment Conference, Sandton Convention Centre
19 Oct 2012
President Jacob Zuma;
Ministers and Deputy Ministers;
Premiers and Mayors;
The Executive Secretary of Southern African Development Community, Dr Tomaz Salomao;
Leaders of organised business, labour and communities;
Experts from the engineering and build professions, and universities;
Ladies and gentlemen.
My task here is to welcome you to this important conference, a conference that will help us usher in a new phase of our development.
This conference has been convened by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) to showcase the biggest focus of government in the economy— namely, the building of infrastructure to lay the basis for growth, jobs and social equity.
We are here today to explore ways to build a coalition in support of the National Infrastructure Plan. By the end of this conference, each component of our society should have a better understanding on how they can benefit from of our investments and how they can contribute to development.
As we look around this room, we can see the importance of this event.
We are here to talk – to tell you about our plans – but also to listen and to work with you on developing concrete proposals to take forward our plans for public investment.
We have leaders here from across government. That is critical because, as you know, responsibility for infrastructure construction and maintenance often falls to a host of agencies— enterprises, regulatory bodies, departments and municipalities.
A central aim of the National Infrastructure Plan is to improve our co-ordination between and within the different spheres and agencies of government. That is a precondition for our success.
The Premiers, the South African Local Government Association as well as the mayors of the metros are part of the PICC.
I also have the pleasure of welcoming leaders from outside the state – from business, labour, academia and communities.
We have leaders here from business across the infrastructure value chain, from suppliers of equipment and materials, construction companies, financial institutions and, not least, investors who can take advantage of the new opportunities we are creating.
All the major, established and emerging, construction companies are represented here at a high level, as well as producers of construction materials.
So are the major professional and industry associations in the construction sector. Clearly we need their expertise and understanding to carry out our plans.
The presence of the manufacturers is also welcome. We expect the build programme to provide a stimulus to local manufacturing of capital equipment and other productive goods.
We look to our partners in industry to turn these plans into reality.
We also have here the leaders of the financial services institutions and retirement fund advisors. We need their support in developing efficient and sustainable financing packages for the projects included in the Infrastructure Plan.
We will here find ways to ensure that our national savings go to build up our national economy, guaranteeing sustained and inclusive growth in the future.
In this context we welcome the representatives of multilateral and international financial institutions.
The projects in the Infrastructure Plan cannot be financed solely through domestic savings. International funds, Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and banks can assist us in this regard.
Also here are Vice Chancellors and Deans of Engineering and Science from our universities. This is a partnership we need to build more strongly over the coming years.
Since the days of the Pharaohs in Egypt and the Sudan, construction projects have relied on skilled engineers and artisans — and we need to address our backlogs in this regard as urgently as possible.
Let me also welcome the representatives of communities, the Women’s National Coalition, the youth and the NGO sector.
Our build programmes must respond to the needs and aspirations of all our people.
Finally, and by no means least, we have here representatives of organised labour
It is the workers who actually build our projects — who will create the roads and bridges, power plants and irrigation schemes which we are here to discuss.
Dear friend and colleagues and friends,
As you can see, we have a huge diversity of participants in this conference, all distinguished in their fields, all important partners in our developmental efforts.
We have come to this conference to share our vision, to share information and to create a common platform for a discussion on partnerships as well as a basis for practical actions.
All of us can contribute. All of us can benefit. The challenge is to structure our engagements so that the end result is a society that is more cohesive, more prosperous and more productive.
Later on the President will provide a broader overview of our infrastructure strategy, followed by a presentation on the National Infrastructure Plan.
After that, in the closed session, we will have a discussion on key issues, constraints and possibilities — a discussion we hope will lay the basis for more shared action in the next few years.
We look forward to very productive discussions that will generates practical solutions.
Again, I thank all of you for your participation and welcome you to this important event and officially open this conference.
I thank you.
Issued by: The Presidency
19 Oct 2012
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