Kopanong Infrastructure Project to drain Gauteng Provincial Government coffers

Issued by Alan Fuchs MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Infrastructure Development and Property Management
11 Feb 2020 in Press Statements

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has learnt that the Kopanong Infrastructure Project will now take a further 30 years to complete.

After 17 years of dilly-dallying, flip-flopping and poor planning, Gauteng’s Department of Infrastructure Development has once again called for bids for the design, refurbishment, building, operation and maintenance of a government precinct in downtown Johannesburg.

This precinct is meant to house the officials of the provincial administration. The deadline for responses from bidders is the end of June 2020.

The Kopanong Precinct, as it is known, is a case study of how not to implement infrastructure projects. This results from a lack of expertise and experience in the public sector.

The project was first presented by former Premier Shilowa in 2003 at an estimated cost of R2, 5 billion.  In preparation for this project, about 21 properties were purchased by the provincial government in downtown Johannesburg.

In the meantime, as a result of the delays and a lack of maintenance, these buildings have deteriorated and have contributed towards the crime and grime in the inner city.

What is absolutely shocking, when one takes into account that the Chinese can build a hospital in less than 2 weeks, is that this project has been advertised to take place over a period of 30 years. This is necessary because of a lack of capital to speed up the process. The estimated cost would be R1, 1 billion per annum which amounts to a whopping R33 billion over the lifecycle of the project.

While the building of infrastructure is a fillip for the construction industry in the doldrums and has the potential of stimulating the economy, the inefficiency, wastage, and corruption evident in public sector projects is something that should greatly concern the taxpayers of Gauteng. What exacerbates this situation is the fact that no cost-benefit analysis has been presented to the residents of Gauteng.

Everything that government touches is destroyed and there is no reason to believe that this project will be any different. The DA will apply pressure to ensure that our taxes are not thrown into a pit of corruption and ineptitude.