State injects R18bn for roads in provinces

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

The government has injected a whopping R18billion into provinces and municipalities for labour-intensive road construction and maintenance this year.

Minister of Public Works, Thoko Didiza, announced that the money was going to assist the provinces to improve the lives of the poor. She was speaking in Durban yesterday during the 12th regional seminar on labour intensive practices.

"Critical in this national endeavour to bring a better life to millions of people in the country is the Expanded Public Works Programme. Government's commitment to this programme is underpinned by the budget allocations that prescribe the objectives of labour and skills development as central to the delivery of infrastructure, social and economic services," Didiza said.

She said her department was playing a critical role in the provision of training, thus dealing directly with negative perceptions that the advances of modern technology were making labour-intensive methods inferior in terms of time, cost and quality.

Didiza said the government was also determined to increase public sector capital budgets at an unprecedented rate.

"We want to increase public sector capital budget by 15percent annually and raise gross domestic fixed investments from 15percent to 25percent of gross domestic product.

"We are committed to ensuring growth, development and transformation of our construction industry, and to increasing its inherent ability to create jobs," she said.

Didiza hailed programmes such as Zibambele, saying they had not only provided jobs to the poor, but had also brought dignity to their lives.

"Road construction has proved a highly effective way of combining the need for maintenance with providing dignity and income to the poor, particularly in rural areas," she said.