Following President Zuma's launch of the National Infrastructure Plan as part of his State of the Nation Address in 2012, Minister Blade Nzimande established a Special Projects Unit (SPU) to develop and implement skills plan which would help skill South Africans for and through the Strategic Infrastructure Programmes.
This training would take place not only in advance of the SIPs but also on the projects themselves.
There are 18 Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs) which have been identified as key drivers of economic growth and social development in the country:
SIP 1 – Unlocking the Northern Mineral Belt with Waterberg as the Catalyst
SIP 2 – Durban‐Free State‐Gauteng Logistics and Industrial Corridor
SIP 3 – South Eastern Node & Corridor Development
SIP 4 – Unlocking the Economic Opportunities in North West Province
SIP 5 – Saldanha‐Northern Cape Development Corridor
SIP 6 – Integrated Municipal Infrastructure Project
SIP 7 – Integrated Urban Space and Public Transport Programme
SIP 8 – Green Energy in Support of the South African Economy
SIP 9 – Electricity Generation to Support Socio‐Economic Development
SIP 10 – Electricity Transmission and Distribution for All
SIP 11 – Agri‐Logistics and Rural Infrastructure
SIP 12 – Revitalisation of Public Hospitals and other Health Facilities
SIP 13 – National School Build Programme
SIP 14 – Higher Education Infrastructure
SIP 15 – Expanding Access to Communication Technology
SIP 16 – SKA and MeerKat
SIP 17 – Regional Integration for African Cooperation and Development
SIP 18 – Water and Sanitation Infrastructure Master Plan
President Zuma added that "the massive investment in infrastructure must leave more than just power stations, rail lines, dams and roads. It must industrialise the country, generate skills and boost much needed job creation."
The Skills Plan identified three broad timeframes for implementation and five areas to focus on ‐ which are shown below. The work was new and challenging, hence time and effort had to be dedicated to developing a methodology with which to address the task.
A strategy built on partnerships
The implementation has involved the public and private sectors, nationally as well as provincially. These include:
Ministers – In addition to Minister Nzimande, the Ministers of Economic Development, Public Works, Public Service and Administration and Labour have played a strong leadership role although others have also made significant contributions.
SIP Skills Coordinators – Associated with each one of the eighteen SIPs, SIP Skill Coordinators have promoted training in the context of the projects under their umbrella.
Intermediate Bodies – A core group of people, known as Intermediate Bodies, drawn from the organisations listed in the March 2015 have helped to convene and manage the Occupational Teams/Clusters (made up of occupational experts) that have provided advice on what should be done to address the scarcity of 'their' scarce skills.
Managers (public sector prioritised)
Professionals and Associate Professionals
Service and Clerical Workers
Plant and Machine Operators
Elementary and Non‐Trade Production Workers
Department of Public Service and Administration
Council for the Built Environment
Transport SETA and the Contractors Plant Hire Association
Construction Industry Development Board
SETAs – The Sector Education and Training Authorities contributed as reported later.
Provinces – In the last year there has been a growing partnership with the Offices of the Premiers in many provinces. It is hoped that these partnerships will strengthen going forward.
The Business Community – Partnership with the business community is beginning to strengthen.
This was confirmed at a meeting of the President's Business Forum on 24 October 2014 at which organised business undertook to work with government on the implementation of the skills plan for SIPs and to collaborate in the Waterberg area as a first step.
Building these partnerships took time and effort and in itself is one of the major achievements of this work.
Skills for and through Strategic Infrastructure Projects March 2015
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