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Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium of South Africa (SIDSSA) 2021 Keynote address

Members of the Executive present here today;
  • Ms. Patricia de Lille - Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure
  • Ms. Barbara Creecy - Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries
  • Ms. Senzo Mchunu - Minister of Water and Sanitation
  • Mr. Obed Bapela - Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
  • Ms. Pinky Kekana - Deputy Minister in the Presidency
  • Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa – Head of Infrastructure and Investment in the Presidency
Distinguished guests and participants at this year’s Symposium;
 
Ladies and gentlemen;
 
Good evening ladies and gentlemen
 
[Introduction]
 
Welcome to the second Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium of South Africa (SIDSSA21) hosted by Infrastructure and Investment Office in the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa.
 
The theme of this year‘s symposium is “Quality infrastructure for development, recovery and inclusive growth”.
 
 
The Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium South Africa (SIDSSA) is aimed at bringing together role players such as project sponsors, decision makers in government, financing institutions, international authorities and academic institutions in a symposium that allows for sharing of ideas, honest and constructive criticism and most importantly, an environment that can allow for the forging of long-term working relationships. 
 
The symposium is preceded by a series of targeted engagements, currently called The Pipeline Series. These engagements are aimed at soliciting important feedback from financing institutions on potential projects for showcasing at the symposium or funding in the short to medium term.
 
The first Symposium, held in June 2020, was able to culminate in the gazetting of 62 projects focused in the energy, water-and-sanitation, human-settlements, digital-infrastructure, agriculture-and-agro-processing, and transport sectors.
 
The SIDSSA project pipeline is uniquely mapped out by all parties involved, validated by multilateral funders who ensure that the project proposals can be realistically sustainable for investment and ultimately completed. Projects are considered based on high-level project criteria that include development impact, job creation, contribution to economic growth, spatial inclusivity, and transformation. Additionally, technical project information such as the ability to generate revenue and environmental considerations are considered.
 
This second edition of the Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium or SIDSSA 21 is focused on three focal areas as they have critical relevance to our country and to sustainable infrastructure delivery, namely;
 
  • Development which relates to development and delivery of infrastructure, on the one hand, and the development of our people through infrastructure delivery on the other.
  • which relates to the recovery of our economy through infrastructure delivery. Infrastructure is seen as a flywheel of our economy which should direct our economy on this recovery path.
  • Inclusive Growth which relates to redressing spatial imbalances between urban and rural areas through infrastructure delivery programmes. The entire population should be included in the benefits associated with infrastructure investment and subsequent gross fixed capital formation. Since SIDSSA 2020 we have embarked on visits to all our provinces to ensure the infrastructure pipeline of the country includes all the provincial infrastructure priorities as well.
 
 
Ladies and gentlemen,
 
This SIDSSA 2021 is a platform created by the government to continue forging the social compact between government, private sector, labour and civil society in the infrastructure space. 
 
The significance of infrastructure in development is well established in development literature. Infrastructure investment decisions are made through developmental policy within the context of the political economy.
 
The political economy of infrastructure in a strategic context relates to the allocation and approval of budget allocations for respective infrastructure sectors and projects.
 
Transport and logistics infrastructure projects have traditionally received the largest budget allocation (up to 30%) from the fiscus compared to other public infrastructure sectors.  In addition to the sectoral competition, there is also a spatial competition for the allocation of infrastructure investment. It is a known fact that rural areas receive a proportionally lower capital budget allocation compared to urban or metropolitan areas.
 
Transport projects like the N2 wildcoast development brings development and job opportunities for local communities. The programme also covers 18 long-standing Strategic Integrated Projects focusing on social and economic infrastructure to assess progress and apply remedies where necessary to fast track their completion.
SIDSSA2021 is on course to ensure that the future of this country is secured through the implementation of quality infrastructure for development, recovery and inclusive growth.
 
 
Given the challenges with regard to budget constraints, it is key for the country to invest in projects and infrastructure that will ensure inclusive growth and development in order to assist the recovery of our economy, such as green hydrogen and the green economy.
 
Globally, the demand for green hydrogen (H2) and green hydrogen-based products such as ammonia and synthetic jet fuels (PtX) is rising.
 
This is off of the back of national and corporate net zero commitments aimed at keeping global warming below 2 degrees (or ideally 1.5 degrees) above pre-industrial levels.
 
These commitments require the decarbonisation of ‘hard-to-abate’ sectors such as heavy-duty transport and industries such as cement, steel, ammonia and plastic manufacturing.
 
Due to the outstanding potential of renewable energy sources and existing hydrogen production facilities, South Africa is regarded as one of the main future suppliers of green hydrogen products to the world.  Building a hydrogen economy could open-up promising new export markets for South African companies as well is domestic use opportunities. It can also lead to significant economic development, reindustrialisation and job creation opportunities. This would support a just transition in the South African energy sector.
 
South Africa has a long history investigating green hydrogen. Since 2007, the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) has been researching green hydrogen with a focus on green mobility and the use of the platinum group metals.
 
The DSI is currently working on a Hydrogen Society Roadmap that will be released soon and will be the precursor to a National Green Hydrogen Strategy.
 
The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition is developing a hydrogen commercialisation strategy; and the Northern Cape and Gauteng Provinces are developing provincial green hydrogen strategies focused on exports and domestic decarbonisation respectively.
 
Due to the multi-sectoral implications of green hydrogen, the Presidency will be playing a convening and coordinating role across government with respect to green hydrogen.
 
Of the 62 projects, one led to South Africa’s emergence as a global contender of green energy with major investment support from Sasol and Anglo-American giving boost to the country’s green hydrogen projects.
 
The Presidency and the German Society for International Co-operation (GIZ), commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), have agreed to collaborate on green hydrogen and to thus jointly implement the project named “Promoting the development of a green hydrogen economy for South Africa”, abbreviated as H2.
 
With 12.5 million Euros in funding support from BMZ, this project aims to -
  • Support the development of a favourable strategic and regulatory framework for a green hydrogen economy in South Africa;
  • Coordinate the important contributions of different government departments and stakeholders for such a framework;
  • Enable relevant actors to build a green hydrogen export economy;
  • Enhance capacity and knowledge of South African stakeholders in the green hydrogen and Powerfuels sector; and
  • Mitigate potential implications of a green hydrogen and Powerfuels economy on the environment, society, and the economy.
 
The project duration is from September 2021 to December 2023 and the Presidency and GIZ look forward to a fruitful collaboration to unlock the vast potential of green hydrogen in South Africa.
 
This project is testament to our Constitutional imperative of partnership and participation as a young democracy.
 
In contributing to the ERRP and South Africa's overall Infrastructure Plan, over the next 30 years, some of the PV and Water Savings on Government Buildings Programme aims will be creating savings and revenue worth over R401bn by 2050, which can be reallocated to other government priorities; contributing R253 Billion towards GDP as well as developing 3 800 new small businesses and creating over 146000 jobs. As COP 26 approaches and the world takes the path toward transitioning to Net-Zero, one of the key achievements for the Programme includes reduction in CO2 and other GHG emission by over 54.5 megatons over the next 30 years.
 
We trust that you have had fruitful engagements thus far and shall continue to partner with us in building a better South Africa.
 
I thank you.