Quarrying and mining operations supplying construction materials for infrastructure are ready to meet the supply demands of the industry should Government release funds for largescale infrastructure projects.
In his annual budget speech Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana announced a R17,5 billion budget earmarked for accelerated infrastructure development projects throughout the country as part of Governments mid-term plan to revive the ailing economy.
Commenting on the announcement ASPASA director, Nico Pienaar, said that although the announcement is good news for the industry, it would not be the first time that Government has announced such packages that have failed to launch.
“The Minister has indicated that all government departments will be included and that innovative financing and delivery mechanisms will be launched as announced by the president in his State of the Nation Address. We therefore sincerely hope that Government will include ASPASA and other professional bodies in the planning and execution of the infrastructure plans.
“Government wants to unlock higher levels of employment in the sector and we suggest it is critical to work with industry associations and regulatory bodies to ensure jobs created are meaningful, sustainable, safe and empower the larger communities rather than the select few.
“These organisations play an important role in regulating the industry ensuring compliance with all relevant legislation as well as labour requirements. We want to avoid the use of roadside borrow pits and unlawful illegal sand or aggregate operations. We expect Government to rather make use of compliant ASPASA members who are tax-paying, law abiding enterprises that contribute to local and national economies.
“If we are to succeed in these plans to upgrade roads, bridges, water and sewer networks, transport, school infrastructure, hospitals and clinics then we need to work together to ensure capacity and the right products are available when required,” says Nico.
He concludes that the material mining and quarrying industry in South Africa is a strong and resilient one that directly employs nearly half a million people. Largescale projects will have a direct and positive effect on this end of the industry.