On 10 July 2014, President Jacob Zuma made the proclamation which officially brought into force the Infrastructure Development Act, No 23 of 2014 (Act).
The intention of the Act is to fast-track infrastructuredelivery in specifically designated areas. The Actrecognises 18 Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs)targeted for these fast-tracking purposes. Theseinclude:
- SIP 8: Green energy in support of the SouthAfrican economy;
- SIP 10: Electricity transmission and distributionfor all;
- SIP 12: Revitalisation of public hospitals andother health facilities;
- SIP 13: National school build programme; and
- SIP 18: Water and sanitation infrastructure.
The Act establishes the Presidential InfrastructureCo-ordinating Commission (PICC), and its Council,which is responsible for designating further SIPs,when this becomes necessary. Additional SIPs will bedesignated by notice in the Government Gazette.
To achieve its aim of improving, facilitating and coordinatingpublic infrastructure development, the Actprescribes periods of time within which various stagesin the infrastructure development process must occur.The Act is peremptory in this regard, noting that timeframes "may not be exceeded".
The period of time allowed by the Act for conductingpublic consultation on a project application andproject plan is 30 days. The period for submitting a detailed development and mitigation plan (basedon the project plan) to the relevant authority is 60days. The instigator of a project then has 44 dayswithin which to publically consult on the developmentand mitigation plans. The relevant authority has 57days to assess and consider the development andmitigation plan and make a final regulatory decision.
Timeframes for completing any of the stages involvingpublic consultation may be extended upon writtenrequest.
The Act also allows the PICC to expropriate landfor the purposes of implementing a SIP. The PICCis required, before making an expropriation, toconsult with the organ of state in whose favour theexpropriation is made. This expropriation powerremains a point of contention in this Act, sinceit remains unclear how it will interact with theExpropriation Act, No 63 of 1975.
Finally, to achieve its goals, the Act creates SteeringCommittees. These Committees are tasked withproviding concrete assistance to the SIPs, byidentifying necessary authorisations, licences andpermissions for a project, instructing that these besubmitted simultaneously, and ensuring applicationsfor these consents are complete, compliant and theirprogress is monitored.