Cape Town launches R120bn infrastructure portfolio for economic growth

12 Feb 2023 in Where We Govern

Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis has launched the City’s R120 billion infrastructure portfolio, which is set to form the foundation for economic growth in the city over 10 years. Speaking to stakeholders at the release of an inaugural annual City Infrastructure Report, Mayor Hill-Lewis said the City has prepared a ten-year infrastructure project pipeline that would position Cape Town as a beacon of hope in South Africa and beyond. The full Infrastructure Report can be accessed here:

‘In Cape Town we are passionate about significantly accelerating our city’s infrastructure investment pipeline. Nothing else has consumed more time in our first year in government than this pipeline – making sure that we budget for this expansion, that our big projects are properly planned, and that we have the skilled people necessary to turn plans into projects. 

‘Last year our infrastructure budget was R5,7 billion. In two years, it will be north of R12 billion. Next year it will be R10,5 billion. That means we are growing infrastructure investment by 110% in three years.

‘Our mission is to make Cape Town the “City of Hope” in South Africa. An important part of that mission is making absolutely sure that we never allow the kind of infrastructural rot that we see elsewhere to happen here, and that where our infrastructure is already under tremendous strain, that we act now to fix it. 

‘In Cape Town, we will show the alternative – a government that plans for the future, that invests constantly, that cares for what we have, and that gets ahead of the urbanisation curve. I have no doubt that Cape Town at double its size can be an even greater city than it is today, provided we do the right things now.

‘Cape Town’s R120 billion infrastructure portfolio aims to support meaningfully faster economic growth to help more Capetonians into jobs and out of poverty over the next 10 years. And crucially, we are doing this because we want to deliver dignity to every person, particularly our poorest residents,’ said Mayor Hill-Lewis.

This first annual Infrastructure Report presents a view of the City’s 10-year master plan for infrastructure, and how it is set to evolve.

The report will be a new annual feature, forming part of a broader drive to be open and transparent with Capetonians about the state of our city, and what the City is doing to meet the needs of the future. 

Key economic growth challenges the R120bn infrastructure portfolio aims to address include:

  • Upgraded wastewater works and sewers to reduce spills and ensure a healthy and dignified environment
  • Deliver 300 million litres from new water sources daily
  • End load-shedding over time
  • The new Khayelitsha-Claremont bus route and fixing passenger rail once control is devolved to the City
  • City-wide roads upgrades and congestion relief projects
  • Expanded waste collection, drop-off sites and landfill
  • Land release and bulk services for more affordable housing

Key highlights in each infrastructure are as follows:

Water and Sanitation

  • Major capacity upgrades at Potsdam, Zandvliet, Athlone, Macassar, and refurbishing the Bellville wastewater works. Over R3bn is approved over the current three-year budget cycle
  • R860m for major upgrades to the Cape Flats, Milnerton, Phillipi, and Gordon’s Bay bulk sewers
  • Quadrupling Sewer Pipe Replacement from 25km to 100km per year, worth R755m over three years
  • A seven-fold increase in budgets for sewer pump station  upgrades, from R70 million in 2022, ramping up to R400 million in 2024, and R500 million in 2025. We have already installed early warning telemetric alarm systems at all sewer pump stations to help detect faults. Over R100 million annually will go to generators, security and electrical maintenance to protect against load-shedding, with the budget for major upgrades and refurbishments set to exceed R400 million by 2024.

To up Cape Town’s water security and protect the city from future droughts, Cape Town is investing around R5 billion to introduce 300 Mega-Litres per day of new water by 2030.

The Table Mountain Group Aquifer has already delivered its first water in 2020, and the first groundwater to be injected into the supply network from the Cape Flats Aquifer is expected towards the middle of 2023.

The City will continue to reduce water wastage through programmes such as leak detection, pressure management, and doubling annual water pipe replacement targets. 


Cape Town is aiming to end load-shedding over time through various means, including:

  • buying power on the open market, with a 3-phase power procurement for 4-stages of load-shedding within three years
  • paying businesses and residents to sell power back to the City
  • incentives for voluntary energy savings under a new Power Heroes programme
  • municipal generation projects such as Steenbras Hydro power, solar PV, and gas turbines

Between now and 2028, Cape Town will spend around R1 billion a year on electricity infrastructure, with 58% of this going to keeping our grid and medium voltage infrastructure in good shape.

Electricity generation’ makes up the second largest spending item in planned refurbishment and replacement projects over the next 10 years. These projects address the refurbishment needs at Steenbras Hydro Pumped Storage (and two small gas turbines (78 MW) which are usually only run in emergencies.

The City is further looking to add 70MW of solar PV generation to its portfolio, spread across the Atlantis, Athlone and Paardevlei projects.

The City will also continue to build on Cape Town’s high 97,7% degree of electrification to households in the metropolitan area.

Waste Management

The City is allocating a significant 21% of planned spending over ten years to landfill infrastructure, which is set to add 35 additional years of landfill airspace.

The service radius of drop-off sites will also be changed from seven kilometres to three kilometres, with an estimated R600 million committed to develop new drop-off facilities.

A total of R650m will go towards new refuse removal vehicles over three years to ensure a more reliable service.

Urban Mobility

With passenger rail having collapsed to a point of only serving 2% of all commuters, it is of highest importance rail is devolved to the City and backed with the necessary budgets and private sector investment to resurrect this critical infrastructure. 

Around R6,4 bn is approved for Transport and Roads infrastructure over 3 years, with over R600m in the current financial year going to the major MyCiti south-east expansion to will link Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain to Claremont and Wynberg.

Human Settlements

The City’s human settlements budget totals R2,8bn over three years – driven largely by dwindling national grant-funding.

The majority (68%) of the Human Settlement Directorate’s planned capital spend over the next 10 years is committed to the provision of serviced sites in line with changing national policy, while informal settlement upgrades make up 38% of capital projects.

The future of affordable housing delivery is not going to be in the free housing space, and is not going to be delivered by the state. Instead, it will be about the enabling state.

To make any meaningful dent in housing demand in our cities, we need to reposition the state as an enabler of housing by unlocking micro-developers, social housing companies, and private sector delivery.

Micro-developers are doing incredible work right now in the upgrading of townships and informal settlements, and are delivering more units than the entire rest of the property market.

We will soon offer planning support officers in townships, with off-the-shelf pre-approved building plans for rental units. 

At the same time, our rapid land release priority programme has moved 1130 social housing unit approvals through Council since May last year. Many more units have now entered the construction phase, including 800 in the inner City and 2 500 along Voortrekker Road corridor and close to economic nodes. In total, the City has 6 500 social housing rental units in the pipeline across 50 land parcels city-wide.