The additional allocations made on Transport and Human Settlement should be used to achieve sustainable human settlements and ensure greater access to socio-economic opportunities.
If only words could easily translate to action. Listening to the 2011 Budget speech it has all the ingredients of a balanced menu to move South Africa to a path of sustained development including:
- R800 billion has been allocated to economic and infrastructure development over the next three years.
- A consolidated investment of R66 billion and R122 billion has been allocated for transport and human settlement development respectively.
Moreover, the job creation priorities recognise that the state must provide the social and physical infrastructure to ensure inclusivity in the economy. To achieve this, the budget speech is both short term and long term in outlook.
The delivery of housing has to ensure access to socio-economic opportunities, especially through linking housing and public transport infrastructure. The provision of a reliable and efficient public transport system will certainly deliver opportunities for improving the quality of lives and address the spatial distortions that continue to reflect past injustices condemning the marginalised to depend to the state and be perpetual recipients of state grants.
Caution should however be exercised that the expansion and modernisation of the transport and transport infrastructure does not result in increased cars on our roads and further contributing to environmental degradation. I note and recognise that the speech does touch on sustainability and green growth but does not go into detail in addressing these. The ever-increasing fuel prices should galvanise the country to support an improved transportation and public transport system. Importantly, the Minister alluded to shifting away from unnecessary consumption patterns.
Furthermore the provision of reliable and efficient public transportation network will on its own ensure increased ridership on public transportation and reduction in private car usage. This will certainly lead to a reduction in congestion and emissions resulting from private car usage.
The Minister also recognises
‘that now is the time to do extraordinary things, in dealing with our particular development circumstances. It requires new ideas and bold efforts from all: government, business, labour, communities and every family . . . Now we have to ignite the flame of higher inclusive growth, and sustain it.’
The challenge lies in the different ministries detailing how they’ll be operationalising their allocations to ensuring integrated and sustainable development. The challenge of capacity and competency of the different ministries adopting an integrated approach to planning and implementation will thus be crucial to ensuring effective spending.
Photo Credit: Media Club SA