SOUTH Africans are getting used to headlines about large cost overruns on public infrastructure projects. Where, initially, the main problem of the infrastructure roll-out programme was the inability of public entities to spend their capital budgets, many state-owned enterprises (SOEs) now appear to suffer from a chronic inability to deliver projects on time and within budget. Cost overruns of more than 50% and delays of multiple years are not uncommon. Examples include Eskom’s three largest power station construction projects (Medupi, Kusile and Ingagula), Transnet’s multiproduct pipeline and Airports Company South Africa’s King Shaka International Airport.The government’s plans for infrastructure roll-out are ambitious. For the next three years, R827bn has been budgeted for public sector projects. Beyond that, public sector-led projects worth R4-trillion are up for consideration. The government has leaned heavily on the retirement industry to step up the investment of pension fund...

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