Cape Town breaks all-time record for municipal infrastructure spending

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29 Jul 2023 in News

Top performing directorates include Human Settlements, which spent 99,3% of its R880m capital budget, Safety and Security (99,6%), Water and Sanitation (95%) and Energy (96,9%).

With an R11bn infrastructure budget in 2023/24, Cape Town now aims for a further 41,5% increase in infrastructure spending compared to 2022/23, and a 134% increase over three years, with a total spend of R43 billion.

This three-year infrastructure investment is expected to directly create 135 000 jobs in Cape Town aside from the broader economic growth benefits. The City has seen four straight quarters of job growth and another new record – the highest number of people employed in Cape Town ever, at 1,7 million people, with 279 000 new jobs added over the last four quarters.

‘We have just clocked the highest capital expenditure the City has ever achieved – even exceeding the mega projects before the 2010 World Cup. This year, we have invested a record R6,94 billion in capital investment and infrastructure, or 93,5% of our planned budget.

‘What makes this number even more impressive is the fact that this was the first time ever that the City didn’t allow any mid-year write-downs on the planned budget. This speaks to a significant culture adjustment, and really puts that 93,5% spend on planned capital investment into perspective.

‘Our country’s path to recovery should be built on the things that unlock potential and convince investors that we’re a risk worth taking. Our path to recovery has to be built with real bricks and mortar – with kilometres of pipes dug, power lines run, megawatts installed, concrete poured and tarmac laid.

‘In Cape Town, we’re on that path already. We’re building for the future, because we know that if we do this – if we make our city a good bet for the future – the investment, the businesses and the jobs will follow. That’s how you build a City of hope, and that’s how we can build a Country of Hope,’ said Mayor Hill-Lewis.

Hill-Lewis said 74% of the City’s R11bn infrastructure budget in 23/24 will directly benefit lower income households. These investments are enabling economic advancement with Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain once again topping the number of residential building plans approved for 22/23.

Given the collapse of critical infrastructure in South Africa’s major cities – including sewer, electricity and roads infrastructure – it is vital that metros urgently ramp up their infrastructure investment.

‘I’ve made the point before that our infrastructure spend over this three-year period will be more than Johannesburg and Durban combined. If that didn’t mean anything to you before, I hope it does now following the fatal explosion in Johannesburg’s Bree Street.

‘While it is still to be determined whether the blast was due to a natural gas leak, a build-up of sewer gas, or a combination of the two, it is clear that the city’s neglected and chaotic underground infrastructure played a major part.

‘The failure to clean and maintain sewer pipes, the failure to expand sanitation infrastructure as a city grows, and the failure to comply with safety protocols in the planning and building of infrastructure not only robs residents of dignified services, it can also be deadly,’ said Mayor Hill-Lewis.

Hill-Lewis went on to summarise progress made in the first full financial year of his administration, including:

  • In the fight to end load-shedding, the City issued renewable and dispatchable energy tenders for 200MW and up to 600MW, respectively; and awarded a tender for 60MW of demand management aggregation.
  • Concluded contracts for the Potsdam extension and upgrade, the second biggest infrastructure project in the province
  • Exceeded the 50km sewer-pipe-replacement target, ramped up repairs and upgrading of pump stations, and improved response times to sewer spills. As a result, there have been significant improvements in water quality and a steady downward trend in sewer spills.
  • Launched a 24-hour highway patrol and a 24-hour law enforcement deployment in the CBD, with officers across the City increasingly supported by cutting-edge technology like number plate recognition dash cams.
  • In a first for the African continent, Cape Town launched our own Ease-of-doing-business index to track our progress in continuously improving our systems and processes to make it easier for businesses to grow and create jobs.
  • Approved the release of well-located City land for more than 1100 social housing units this year.
  • Broken ground on the MyCiti Metro South East corridor to Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain – this being the biggest infrastructure project in the province.
  • Expanded two safe spaces in the CBD and one in Bellville, helping more than 1400 people off the streets. A third safe space is also on the cards in the CBD – the biggest to date.
  • Approved a substantial review of the Municipal Spatial Development Framework, with a focus on growing the economy and enabling investment.
  • Launched a city-wide clean-up campaign to get Capetonians to take more pride in a cleaner city
  • Launched the new City App, improved the C3 service request system, with more improvements coming.

‘And besides these big things, we are making progress in smaller but no less important things too. We are fixing buildings, re-opening community swimming pools, and I feel that sense of hope well up even when I see our newly-repaired old clock at the top of City Hall, which has not worked for nearly two decades but which now keeps the time perfectly,’ said Mayor Hill-Lewis.