Major projects, from a multimillion-rand film studio for the North Coast to hospitals, bridges, waterworks, technology parks, light industrial estates and a maritime school, were some of the more than 50 developments presented to potential financiers at the KZN Infrastructure Funding Fair in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.
Provincial government departments and municipalities pitched projects costing several billion to possible funders from the private sector and development finance institutions at the showcasing event at the Royal Showgrounds.
The KZN Treasury, in partnership with auditing and advisory firm Deloitte, and the KZN Department of Economic Development and Tourism, hosted the fair as a platform to find alternative sources of funding for infrastructure and other catalytic economic projects in the province.
Clive Coetzee, general manager for infrastructure management and economic services at the KZN Treasury, said the provincial government could not resolve infrastructure backlogs with its resources and needed to identify innovative financing, such as public-private partnerships.
“Even Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, in his medium-term budget speech on Wednesday, alluded to the fact that the government needs to look at different funding models for infrastructure and major projects. The fiscus is simply not enough,” he said.
Enterprise iLembe’s Mike Newton presented one of the most adventurous projects, the Indian Ocean Film Studio proposed for Tinley Manor.
He said about R260 million was being sought for the project, modelled on the successful Cape Town Film Studio. The plan had the support of the KZN Film Commission and other government agencies.
It was aimed at boosting KZN and South Africa’s film industry and would be linked to the planned Numz Adventure Island water park.
The provincial Department of Health laid out five hospital initiatives involving R5.25 billion for potential public-private partnership investment.
Department of Health infrastructure development head John Wilkus said budget cuts had halted a number of initiatives, forcing the department to seek public-private partnership funding.
Projects presented included R2.1bn for upgrading and refurbishing Edendale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg; R1.7bn for the Dr John Dube Memorial Hospital in Inanda; R1.1bn for the Madadeni Psychiatric Hospital near Newcastle; R88 million for upgrading the Hlabisa Hospital and R85m for Addington Hospital.
The KZN Sharks Board presented a proposal for building a R1bn maritime training school and museum aimed at “catapulting South Africa into a key maritime region” and creating thousands of maritime-related jobs before major developments like Durban’s dig-out port were in place.
The chief executive of the NGO Lungisisa Indlela Village (LIV), Tich Smith, wanted financing of R47.5m to complete the first LIV development in Cottonlands, Verulam.
Funding would cover a solar plant, skills training and development centre, student accommodation for volunteers and teacher accommodation.
Deloitte’s associate director of corporate finance, JP Labuschagne, said public-private partnerships involved rigorous planning and funding repayment structures. But they needed to be looked at more seriously as a financing option for major projects.
It was unfair to claim such partnerships took a long time, as all government projects required time, Labuschagne said. - The Mercury