Saice calls for urgent infrastructure reforms

Sekadi Phayane-Shakhane, Saice’s CEO.

Sekadi Phayane-Shakhane, Saice’s CEO.

Published Jun 5, 2024


The South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) yesterday called for urgent infrastructure reforms to foster economic growth and improve living standards.

SAICE said in a statement that Sekadi Phayane-Shakhane, SAICE’s CEO, addressing the Big 5 Construct South Africa’s Stakeholders Engagement Forum, said, “Infrastructure contributes significantly to human development, poverty reduction, and the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

Despite the progress made in the last 30 years of democracy, South Africa faced numerous challenges hindering sustainable growth, she said.

The 4th SAICE Infrastructure Report Card (IRC) of 2022 had awarded an overall grade ‘D’ to South Africa’s public infrastructure, indicating it is "at risk of failure."

Phayane-Shakhane said: "Infrastructure is not coping with normal demand and is poorly maintained," stressing the urgent need for action to avoid risks to the public.

Nevertheless, she said the IRC had identified pockets of excellence in national roads, airports, and heavy haul freight lines, reflecting successful investments in economic infrastructure.

Comparatively, Saice said South Africa ranked fourth in the Africa Infrastructure Development Index (AIDI) with 80% as of 2022, following Seychelles, Egypt, and Libya. However, certain sectors still experienced poor access and inequality.

Phayane-Shakhane said innovative funding mechanisms, good governance and building a professional sector was needed.

She acknowledged government’s efforts to stabilise key institutions and drive necessary reforms, expressing hope that the next administration will continue this momentum.

“Professionalisation will play a key role in South Africa’s economic growth, particularly in the development and delivery of key infrastructure. We need to reinvigorate the technical capacity in our public institutions as well as ensure there are technical decisions makers in each sphere of an infrastructure project life cycle,” she said.