Shot in the arm for infrastructure projects

Zweli Mokgata

Zweli Mokgata

South Africa's development goals were given fresh impetus yesterday after the European Investment Bank (EIB) granted the country a R8,5billion loan over the next seven years for public infrastructure projects and to support private sector investment.

The EIB is the European Union's (EU) development bank, and finances projects in the EU and 140 countries worldwide. Between 1995 and last year the bank lent South Africa about R14,3billion.

"The R8,5billion loan will be focused on infrastructure projects such as power, water supply, sewerage, and communications as well as private sector investment," said David White, EIB regional representative in South Africa.

Eskom will use R2,8billion of the credit facility to strengthen its power transmission between Gauteng and the Western Cape. White said that after the problems experienced at Eskom's Koeberg nuclear power station over the past 18 months, this matter had shot to the top of the priority list.

Eskom communications manager Fani Zulu said the company was "very pleased" with the credit facility.

Other projects that will benefit are the Trans Caledon Tunnel Authority water project, communications on the N4 toll road to Mozambique and the Infrastructure Finance Corporation (INCA) for municipal water, sewerage and roads

"Our overall objectives in South Africa continue to be poverty alleviation and bringing the second economy into the first," said EU ambassador to South Africa Lodewyk Briet. - With Sapa