The City of Cape Town launches its R120bn infrastructure pipeline

Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis

The City of Cape Town has launched its R120 billion infrastructure portfolio which is set to form the foundation of economic growth within the city over ten years.

Last year, our infrastructure budget was R5.7 billion,” commented Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis. “In two years, it will be north of R12 billion. Next year, it will be R10.5 billion. That means we are growing infrastructure investment by 110% in three years.”

This first annual Infrastructure Report presents a view of the City’s ten-year master plan for infrastructure, and how it is set to evolve.

Key economic growth challenges the infrastructure portfolio aims to address include upgrade wastewater works and sewers; to deliver 300 million litres from new water sources daily; to end load shedding over time; the new Khayelitsha-Claremont bus route and fixing the passenger rail once control is devolved to the City; city-wide road upgrades and congestion relief projects; expanded waste collection; drop-off sites and landfills; land release and bulk services for more affordable housing.

Key highlights in each infrastructure category are as follows:

Water and sanitation

  • Major capacity upgrades at Potsdam, Zandvliet, Athlone, Macassar, and refurbishing the Bellville wastewater works. Over R3 billion has been approved over the current three-year budget cycle.
  • R860 million for major upgrades to the Cape Flats, Milnerton, Phillipi, and Gordon’s Bay bulk sewers.
  • Quadrupling sewer pipe replacements from 25km to 100km per year worth R755 million over three years.
  • A seven-fold increase in budgets for sewer pump station upgrades from R70 million in 2022, ramping up to R400 million in 2024, and R500 million in 2025. The City has already installed early warning telemetric alarm systems at all sewer pump stations to help detect faults. Over R100 million annually will go to generators, security, and electrical maintenance to protect against load shedding, with the budget for major upgrades and refurbishments set to exceed R400 million by 2024.

To up Cape Town’s water security and protect the city from future droughts, Cape Town is investing around R5 billion to introduce 300 Mega-Litres per day of new water by 2030.

The Table Mountain Group Aquifer has already delivered its first water in 2020, and the first groundwater to be injected into the supply network from the Cape Flats Aquifer is expected towards the middle of 2023.

The City plans to continue to reduce water wastage through programmes such as leak detection, pressure management, and doubling annual water pipe replacement targets.


Cape Town is aiming to end load shedding over time through various means including:

  • Purchasing power on the open market with a three-phase power procurement for 4-stages of load shedding within three years.
  • Paying businesses and residents to sell power back to the City.
  • Incentives for voluntary energy savings under a new Power Heroes programme
  • Municipal generation projects such as Steenbras Hydro power, solar PV, and gas turbines.

Between 2023 and 2028, the City says it will spend around R1 billion a year on electricity infrastructure, with 58% of this going to keeping our grid and medium voltage infrastructure in good shape.

Electricity generation makes up the second largest spending item in planned refurbishment and replacement projects over the next ten years. These projects address the refurbishment needs at Steenbras Hydro Pumped Storage (and two small gas turbines (78 MW) which are usually only run in emergencies.

The City is further looking to add 70MW of solar PV generation to its portfolio, spread across the Atlantis, Athlone and Paardevlei projects, and continue to build on Cape Town’s high 97.7% degree of electrification to households in the metropolitan area.

Waste management

The City is allocating 21% of its planned spending over ten years to landfill infrastructure, which is set to add 35 additional years of landfill airspace.

The service radius of drop-off sites will also be changed from seven kilometres to three kilometres, with an estimated R600 million committed to develop new drop-off facilities.

A total of R650 million will go towards new refuse removal vehicles over three years to ensure a more reliable service.

Urban mobility

With the passenger rail having collapsed to a point of only serving 2% of all commuters, the City says it is of the highest importance that the rail is devolved to the City and backed with the necessary budgets and private sector investment to resurrect this critical infrastructure.

Around R6.4 billion has been approved for Transport and Roads infrastructure over three years with over R600 million in the current financial year going to the major MyCiti south-east expansion to link Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain to Claremont and Wynberg.

Human settlements

The City’s human settlements budget totals R2.8 billion over three years, driven largely by dwindling national grant-funding.

The majority (68%) of the Human Settlement Directorate’s planned capital spend over the next ten years is committed to the provision of serviced sites in line with changing national policy while informal settlement upgrades make up 38% of capital projects.

To make any meaningful dent in the housing demand in our cities, we need to reposition the state as an enabler of housing by unlocking micro-developers, social housing companies, and private sector delivery,” said Hill-Lewis.

Micro-developers are doing incredible work right now in the upgrading of townships and informal settlements and are delivering more units than the entire rest of the property market”.

We will soon offer planning support officers in townships, with off-the-shelf pre-approved building plans for rental units.”

At the same time, our rapid land release priority programme has moved 1 130 social housing unit approvals through Council since May last year. Many more units have now entered the construction phase, including 800 in the inner City and 2 500 along Voortrekker Road corridor and close to economic nodes. In total, the City has 6 500 social housing rental units in the pipeline across 50 land parcels city-wide,” he concluded.