On the cover: As was the case in the past when the country undertook various major infrastructure projects (such as the Gariep Dam on the cover), infrastructure development will be a way to get South Africa’s economy out of the depressed state in which it is. The South African construction industry goes into 2021 with the news that 29 of the country’s contractor, professional, supplier (and other) bodies have united to form what is known as the Construction Alliance South Africa (CASA). Infrastructure development can only be achieved through innovation, being competitive and with a truly transformed industry.
Infrastructure recovery hinges on urgent action, innovation
Hopes of a recovery in South Africa’s economic fortunes rely heavily on more infrastructure spending, but the COVID-19 pandemic is further complicating this difficult task; speed and ingenuity are now of the essence, according to SRK Consulting Partner and Principal Engineering Technologist Steve Bartels.
“Government’s establishment of Infrastructure South Africa to streamline project roll-out, and the recent prioritisation of strategic integrated projects, is a promising step,” said Bartels. “But all this work needs a strong and capable construction sector – and years of decline are now being aggravated by the local impact of the pandemic.”
COVID-19 reinforces need to invest in water infrastructure
The lack of a secure water supply in many areas of South Africa has exacerbated the COVID-19 crisis and again shed light on the worrying state of the country’s water infrastructure, especially in outlying areas.
South Africa’s water resource and supply, as well as sanitation infrastructure remain at risk. Bulk water resource infrastructure is struggling to cope with a rapid increase in demand in many areas of the country and the situation is being compounded by inadequate maintenance. Water supply in many urban areas is stable and will require investment in the medium and longer terms; however, it is severely compromised in less developed areas and, therefore, requires urgent intervention.