Speaking in Davos at the World Economic Forum, Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe indicated that infrastructure maintenance was one of government’s key priorities.
This echoed his sentiments in August 2016, when he announced that an action plan would be developed to ensure greater expenditure on municipal infrastructure maintenance. In addition, he indicated that the plan would enforce proper financial asset management to ensure an extended lifespan and increased quality of infrastructure.
He went on to say that R1.3 trillion of assets are in jeopardy because of insufficient maintenance. It has been fifteen months since he first made the undertaking yet little has been done to achieve this plan. In fact, the situation has regressed.
The Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development, under the leadership of MEC Jacob Mamabolo, has slashed infrastructure maintenance budgets and deteriorating infrastructure contradicts the undertaking made by national government that greater control over assets would be implemented.
The fact is that assets that are currently not being used for service delivery are not being maintained and they are losing value because of their deterioration. The deterioration of these assets also impacts negatively on the residential amenity of people living near to them.
The Department of Infrastructure’s Property Management Division, which is responsible for the management of the infrastructure, is so dysfunctional, that MEC Mamabolo has proposed that it be outsourced.
The cost of outsourcing is concerning, and should the contract be given to a connected cadre who may not have the requisite skill set to take control of R30 billion worth of assets, the situation is likely to worsen.
The DA will closely monitor this proposed outsourcing process and ensure that the ANC-run Gauteng government does not continue to squander public funds.