ATC230830: Portfolio Committee on Public Works: Report on a Study Tour to the City-State of Singapore, Dated 30 August 2023

Public Works and Infrastructure

Portfolio Committee on Public Works: Report on a Study Tour to the City-State of Singapore, Dated 30 August 2023


The Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure, having undertaken a study tour to the City-State of Singapore from 24 to 28 July 2023, reports as follows:



  1. Members of the delegation:

  1. Ms N Ntobongwana, MP (Chairperson and leader of the delegation)

  2. Ms L Mjobo, MP

  3. Mr T Mashele, MP

  4. Ms M Hicklin, MP

  5. Ms M Siwisa, MP

  6. Support personnel

  7. Ms N Matinise (Committee Secretary)


  1. Public Works Entities:


  • Mr R Somanje (Chief Executive Officer: Agrément SA)

  • Dr M Myeza (Chief Executive Officer: Council for the Built Environment)

  • Mr K Nzo (Board Chairperson: Construction Industry Development Board)

  • Mr B Dladla (Chief Executive Officer: Construction Industry Development Board)

  • Mr S Nsibande (Chief Finance Officer: Construction Industry Development Board)

  • Ms T Malaka (Acting Chief Executive Officer: Independent Development Trust)


The entities were invited to participate in the study tour as they play a regulatory, standard-setting, and certifying role in the construction, professional built environment, and building material and system-development sectors. The oversight role of the committee over these entities assisted in a close working relationship with the entities. The Chairperson instructed that it would benefit the entities to be exposed to lessons from Singapore that would enhance their respective roles in the sector. 


1.1Objective of the study tour to the City-state of Singapore

1.1.1South Africa - Public Works and Infrastructure as Driver for Growth

South Africa is pursuing a policy of economic growth to counter inequality, poverty and unemployment. The construction industry and specifically large infrastructure projects is an integral part of the policy to stimulate economic growth. Facilitating partnership between government and the private sector is an important key to unlock this policy objective.

At the fifth South Africa Investment Conference (SAIC) held in April 2023, the President of South Africa committed government to raise R1.2 billion of the next five years. Over a cycle of five years, R1.5 trillion has been committed.  The SAIC website[1] reported that these commitments from the private sector made it possible to have 161 projects in construction or close to completion.

In the 2023-24 Budget Speech, the Minister of Finance emphasised the importance of these investments as infrastructure projects “lay the foundation for inclusive and sustainable growth; address supply-side constraints; and expand access to basic services”[2].

The country is in a focused drive to increase large infrastructure projects across the country as a catalyst for growth. It is committed to use private sector resources to strengthen state capacity to amplify infrastructure delivery[3].

The greatest challenge is using legislative and regulatory measures to create an interactive space that facilitates collaboration between senior government officials and private sector stakeholders. These legislative and regulatory measures require knowledge of spaces where private public partnerships (PPPs) in infrastructure projects have worked well. Singapore is an example of one such space.

1.1.2. Strategic objective

  • The visit focused on infrastructure and construction development as a catalyst for economic growth to address local challenges of poverty, inequality, and unemployment.

  • The strategic objective was to connect these local challenges with how Singapore addressed similar challenges through public private partnerships, long term planning instruments, joined-up action, and one-stop government service centres.



2.1Public Private Partnerships in Construction and Infrastructure

The Committee needed to gather insight on the role and form of public private partnerships in large infrastructure projects in Singapore. The focus was specifically on legislative and regulatory measures to facilitate PPPs; the different models of PPPs; accessing funding for projects through blended financing; addressing challenges with construction project management; and manners of oversight in cases of PPPs to ensure that funding from the public purse is used efficiently.

2.2 Planning Instruments

Infrastructure as catalyst for economic growth and social development has an aim addressing the triple challenges of South Africa (poverty, unemployment and inequality). Overcoming poverty, unemployment, and inequality requires an understanding of how the local challenges are connected to the African continent and the rest of the world.

A key aspect that the delegation needed to learn more about was the use of macro and micro, long and short-term planning instruments for successful delivery of infrastructure and construction projects. Infrastructure projects are complex. They require joined up work and oversight over executive action across a number of portfolio departments such as human settlement, economic development, cooperative governance and traditional affairs (municipal town and city planning).

2.3 Joined-up Action to Implement Policies

The strategic objective is to gather insight and knowledge about joined up policy making that is required in the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI). The DPWI function as regulator and standard setter with its entities such as Infrastructure South Africa (ISA), the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), and the Council for the Built Environment (CBE).

The study tour was an opportunity to learn more about how the ISA and the Property Management Trading Entity (PMTE) needs to work closer with the private sector to ensure standards and regulation of construction project management so that high quality projects are delivered on time, and within budget. 

2.4 The use of a multi-energy micro grid network - Alternative Energy Sources

Singapore uses energy and water sources in innovative manners that is important in a world where these resources are becoming scarce. The committee has the opportunity of visiting at least one project site that is set for completion in 2024 where multiple alternative energy sources are harnessed through innovative engineering. These multiple sources are joined up into one multi-energy network harnessed for the use of a diverse group of users in a learning and working environment.

2.5One-stop Government Service Centres

Singapore has established one-stop centres that uses ICT and smart technology to deliver government services. The study tour delegation has the opportunity to learn how Singapore turned these into automated centres that are in operation on a 24-hour basis. There are useful lessons that may assist our multi-level government to improve service delivery to our people.

3 THE STUDY TOUR (24 - 28 July 2023)


3.1 Meeting at the South African High Commission

The delegation paid a courtesy visit to the South African High Commission to have a briefing with the High Commissioner, Her Excellency Charlotte Lobe, the Deputy High Commissioner, Mr P Motsilili, and First Secretary, Mr Makhubele.

The discussions focused on the purpose and the programme through which the delegation aimed to reach its objectives. The High Commissioner provided an overview of the work of the High Commission and its alignment with the purpose of the visit of the delegation.

The High Commissioner summarised the work of the South African High Commission in Singapore in contributing towards the South African government’s programme as based on three foundational pillars:

  • Strong and Inclusive economic growth,

  • Improving capabilities of South Africans

  • Capable, ethical and developmental state.


The work of the High Commission ensures that the Department of International Relations & Cooperation (DIRCO) succeeds in its quest to be strategically placed to make a meaningful contribution towards tackling the triple challenges of South Africa (poverty, unemployment and inequality) through Priority 7: A better Africa and world, that contributes to the other priorities.

3.1.1 The role of the South African High Commission in Singapore

The role of the High Commission is to ensure that South African foreign policy is given practical expression through:

  • Strengthening bilateral relations between South Africa and Singapore;

  • Promotion of South Africa’s trade with Singapore;

  • Promotion of investments into various sectors of the South African economy;

  • Promotion of South Africa as a tourism destination;

  • Strengthen people to people mechanisms.


3.1.2 Strengthening bilateral relations between South Africa and Singapore

  • The High Commission facilitates and coordinates high level visits and engagements between South Africa and Singapore authorities. This includes the Minister of DIRCO’s working visit to Singapore in July 2022, the visit of the Minister of Health (July 2022) and coordination of visits of high-level delegations from Parliament and Legislatures.

  • 2023 will mark the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between South Africa and Singapore. The Mission is already engaging the authorities in Singapore on an annual programme to mark this milestone. The programme will include:

  • Outbound and inbound official working visit of His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa and His Excellency Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

  • Public Lectures at Universities - specifically universities named after our founding fathers (Nelson Mandela University and Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy) and the national universities (University of South Africa (UNISA) and Singapore Management University (SMU).

  • A possible stamp by the Singapore Post Office in celebration of the 30 years of diplomatic relations (this would imply a reciprocal programme from the South African side).

  • Youth exchange programmes.

  • Women trade and investment networking opportunities.

  • South Africa and Singapore to engage in a Foreign Office Consultation (FOC) which convenes annually, co-chaired at Deputy Director-General level with the Singapore counterpart. In between this high-level engagement, the Mission continues to engage with Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).


3.1.3 Significance of Singapore to South Africa

  • Singapore is both a maritime and aviation hub in the south-east Asia region. It is the gateway into Asia.

  • Major South African companies doing business in Asia have their headquarters in Singapore - Anglo American PLC (Public Limited Company) is a British listed multinational mining company with headquarters in London, England, is the world's largest producer of platinum, a major producer of diamonds, copper, nickel, iron ore, polyhalite and steelmaking coal. The company has its largest commercial-hub in Singapore. The significance is that Anglo-American plc uses Singapore as a logistic hub of commodities mined in South Africa. In terms of the impact of this work, Singapore is a place from which South Africa distributes its commodities into various parts of the world.

  • Other companies such as the information and communications technology company, Westcon Group has a foothold in both South Africa and Singapore. It delivers artificial intelligence (AI) solutions and seeks to serve markets within ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region.

  • Also, Cartrack South Africa, a software and ICT vehicle fleet management-based company, is investing in Singapore. It has established itself in the software and ICT service sector in a research and development project. They are planning to open a new Research and Development (R&D) and innovation centre in Singapore.

3.1.4 Bilateral trade between South Africa and Singapore

  • Based on the latest trade statistics from our Department of Trade and Industry, Singapore is ranked 31st as South Africa's biggest export destination in the rest of the world.

  • Singapore is ranked 44th as a biggest supplier of imports sourced by SA from the world.

  • Singapore is a significant investor in South Africa, with investments totalling over R 28 billion in sectors such as manufacturing, financial services, and real estate. South Africa has also encouraged Singaporean companies to invest in the country's renewable energy sector, which presents significant growth opportunities.

  • South Africa's economic relations towards Singapore are focused on trade, investment, tourism promotion and skills transfer.

  • In view of Singapore's advanced degree of integration in the international economy and its dependence on foreign trade and investment, South Africa is regarded as an important market for Singaporean goods and services. Singapore is also considered an important gateway for the export of goods and services to Southeast Asia and a major hub for joint venture partnerships throughout Asia.

3.1.5 Impact: Bilateral Trade flows between South Africa and Singapore

  • Trends in Total Trade

The total value of trade between South Africa and Singapore in 2022 was R28 billion with exports at R10 billion and the imports at R18 billion.


3.1.6 Improving impact: Sectors that offer Greatest Opportunities for South Africa to increase its exports

South Africa has capacity to export products from to Singapore in the following sectors:

  • Agriculture, especially, fruits

  • Agro-processing Industry

  • Automotive Industry

  • Auto Parts

  • Health Products

  • Hide Products Impact: Investment promotion

The South African High Commission in Singapore is targeting horizontal Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) or companies that establishes the same type of business operation in a foreign country as it operates in its home country as well as vertical FDI or companies that are looking at a possibility of diversifying into other sectors.

In order to attract investment into South Africa, the mission is working with the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI), Enterprise Singapore (ESG), South African Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, the Singapore Business Federation and other identified government ministries and agencies.

3.1.8Role of a Diplomat

The role of a diplomat has always been twofold: to both protect and to promote the interests of the home country.

Whereas previously the emphasis was often placed on the former, in recent period, the Mission is prioritizing the promotional aspect investments including working with other African Missions in Singapore and coordinating joint investment promotion initiatives such as the “Made in Africa Conference” to be held in August 2023 to promote Africa as a sourcing destination that offers new and growing markets for foreign enterprises.

Increasingly, the Mission has used virtual platforms to for investment forums, and business roundtables between Singapore business community and that of South Africa.

  • South Africa is the most industrialized economy with a sophisticated banking sector that has its major footprint in the rest of the African continent. Hence it is revered as the continent's financial hub. Most of the Singapore companies are head-quartered in South Africa and use South African Banks in their dealings in the continent.

  • As the second largest producer of gold as well as the world’s top producer of chrome, manganese, platinum, vanadium, and vermiculite provides huge opportunities for Singapore companies.

  • These do not only provide plenty of export opportunities but also investments in the area of the mining and beneficiation of South Africa’s mineral resources.

  • There are also investment opportunities identified in the areas of coal, solid fuels, oil and gas. The Mission is currently working with Singapore companies that are doing oil and gas exploration in South Africa like the Silver Wave Company.

  • SA has large and developed metal industry together with its natural resources and a supportive infrastructure represents profitable opportunities in the production and export of metals.

  • South Africa is also recognized as a world leader in coal-based synthesis and gas-to-liquids (GTL) technologies. Singapore FDIs are interested in this sector.

3.1.9 Impact: Tourism promotion

  • Since the opening of the economy following the devastation of COVID-19, Singapore based tourists have increased. In the month of August, the 243 tourists from Singapore have arrived in South Africa and the number is increasing monthly as the festive season is approaching.

  • During the period under review, we have also recorded 254 visa application from non-Singaporean nationals who are visiting South Africa mainly for tourism purposes.

  • South Africa ranks high on the Africa most top travel destination list in Singapore. This is attributed to its national parks, safaris, the beauty of the countryside, the magnificent exteriors, the sunny climate as well as the cultural diversity of its people.

  • The Mission continues to collaborate with the South African Tourism Hub in Mumbai to promote South Africa in Singapore as an attractive tourist destination.

  • Tourism is a major contributor to employment creation particularly for women and youth.

  • South Africa also earns hard currency from tourism. Consequently, tourism can lead to the reduction of poverty and to the promotion of socio-economic development and decent work.


3.1.10 Impact: People-to-people mechanism: Promotion of Women’s participation in the mainstream economy

The work of the Mission is anchored on a strong gender mainstreaming principle because women are a huge catalyst for socio-economic development, they are also innovators and creators of wealth.

The South African High Commission is working with social partners in Singapore and South Africa to create platforms for women’s dialogue, collaboration in various sectors of the economy in order to promote women’s economic and financial inclusion. During the period under review, the mission has been part of the following initiatives:

  • Global Women Trade Summit organized in collaboration with the International Women Federation for Commerce and Industry Singapore.

  • World Women Leading Change Seminar (Celebration of the Women’s Month)

  • Virtual South Africa – Singapore Inaugural Women’s Roundtable (Women’s Month 2022)

The Mission is also working with women organizations both in Singapore and South Africa to promote available opportunities in trade and investment. This include creating business networking and business matching opportunities between women in SA and in Singapore. This has also led to the Mission hosting a Masterclasses on Trade and Investment that will be reported on in the 3rd Quarter report.

3.1.11 Impact: People to people Mechanism: Youth Development Initiatives

  • The Mission has mainstreamed youth development as one of the key priorities of government. This includes facilitating youth development initiatives between the NYDA and youth-led organizations in Singapore.

  • The Mission also engages different stakeholders such as the Character and Leadership Academy working in areas of youth development. During the period under review, the Mission hosted the following physical, virtual and hybrid youth development initiatives in collaboration with the academy:

    • Mandela Day: Global Youth Leadership Summit as well as a Bowling Fundraising Event where SDG 10 000 in pledge donations were made to support ASEAN youth with mental health challenges.

    • International Youth Day: South Africa – Singapore Youth Dialogue

  • Currently, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and the Leadership Academy are finalizing an MOU that will lead to annual exchange programmes between South African and Singapore youth. It is envisaged that in 2023 there will be an inbound and outbound youth exchange programmes.

3.1.12 Impact: People to people Mechanism: Skills Transfer

  • During the period under review, the mission has collaborated with various stakeholders to promote cultural exchange programmes.

  • The Heritage Month was used to highlight cultural heritage of South Africa and Singapore through the following initiatives:

    • Virtual Colloquium in celebration of the Heritage Month organized in collaboration with the Singapore High Commission in Pretoria and the Embassy Direct Publication.

    • International Conference on Cohesive Society (ICCS) that offers a platform for conversations on forging stronger understanding of issues of diversity and developing new ideas to foster greater harmony in societies globally (Partnering with Her Excellency Halimah Yacob, the former President of Singapore and the Singapore interfaith leadership).

    • The mission is also facilitating engagements with the science institutions and universities in both South Africa and Singapore. In this context, the mission is pursuing an idea of Science Diplomacy that has now found resonance with the work currently undertaken by the South African Centre for Science and Industrial Research (CSIR) that is considering a Science Diplomacy Hub that would coordinate initiatives within this industry.

3.1.13 Observation and findings

  • The Mission promotes tourism for science diplomacy purposes, research and development and for people who want to do business and or study in South Africa.

  • Anglo American is using Singapore as a marketing hub for minerals mined in SA.

  • South Africa mostly imports computers, computer parts, semi-conductors, integrated circuit boards and micro-chips from Singapore.

  • Singapore has no animals so all animal products are imported from all over the world.

  • Singaporean companies would rather be headquartered in SA and have operations in other countries because in other countries, they are compelled by statutes, to re-invest a sizeable percentage of their profits, whereas in SA, they are allowed to repatriate their profits.

  • Currently, there are Singaporean companies that are doing oil and gas exploration in SA (Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Free State provinces)

  • Singaporean women are included in the mainstream economy and are wealthy. The High Commission is trying to link SA women with Singaporean businesswomen for business-integration and best practise exchange purposes.

  • Regarding construction, Singapore insists on compliance and fines are imposed on contractors that fail to deliver projects on time and within budget. Enforcement is enhanced by the strict laws and regulations that govern Singapore.

  • The High Commission at times faces challenges when trying to lobby for investors due to challenges faced by SA. The current power crisis and social unrest due to service delivery protest prove to be serious constraints. For instance, there was an investor that showed interest to invest in a hotel in the Western Cape, but when the July riots and looting transpired, the investor disappeared with no trace. The sentiment remains positive about South African investments regardless of challenges faced by the country.

  • The Singaporean port development has indicated that the plans they have can be shared with SA but reality is that the plans would not entirely be suitable to adapt within the South African context due to the challenge of corruption within the construction sector.

  • Because of a natural affinity towards South Africa, Singapore does not see the current challenges as a threat to its investment because of the SA Constitutional and justice system holds people accountable.

  • There is no room and no tolerance for corruption in Singapore.

  • High rise agriculture is becoming a big opportunity for Singapore as the City-State has minimal land to utilise for agricultural purposes.

  • The best practice in the world regarding expropriation without compensation can be found in Singapore.  


  • The URA reports to the Ministry of National Development but works with other government agencies like the Housing Development Board (HDB), Building and Construction Authority (BCA), National Parks and Council for Estate Agencies (CEA)

  • The URA is responsible for the entire 734 square metres land area of Singapore, which comprises of a population comprising of 5,6 million.

  • The mission of the URA is to make Singapore a great city to live, work and play.

3.2.1 Functions of the URA The Evolution of Planning from Concept to Master Plan in Singapore


  • As the country does not have much land, it has to optimise how it uses scarce land resources for the diverse needs of its diverse population.

  • It involves allocating land for competing uses such as housing, commerce, industry, parks, transport, recreation and defence, as well as determining the development density for various locations. The government of Singapore designed and successfully implemented urban development plans such as the Concept Plan and the Master Plan.

  • The Concept Plan (1958) is the strategic long-range land use and transportation plan that provides broad directions to guide Singapore's physical development. It expresses the government's long-term planning intentions for the nation's territory as a whole. The Concept Plan was reviewed and resulted in the 1971 Concept Plan. See the projects that this resulted in below.

  • The Master Plan is reviewed every five years. It is the statutory land use plan that guides medium term (10 - 15 year) development. It translates the ideals and broad strategies in the Master Plan into shorter term detailed plans that guide the development of land and property. The Master Plan shows the permissible land use and density for human, business and recreation settlement that happens in infrastructure and construction projects in Singapore.

  • The URA performs similar functions to what municipalities perform in the South African Integrated Development Planning as described in the Municipal Systems Act that aims to link spatial planning to achieve developmental aims[4] to give people rights to a safe and healthy environment, protection of property, housing, health care, food, water, security, and education[5].

The Singapore URA is responsible for Land use Planning; Urban Design; Development Control; Design and Planning Lab; Infrastructure Planning; Conservation of Built Heritage.

  • Facilitating Government Land Sales and Property Research.

  • Promotion: Place Management of Key Areas; Promotion of Architectural, Urban Design and ensuring Planning Excellence

3.2.2 Evolving needs and challenges

  • Ageing population and changing household demographics

  • Remaining competitive in a fast-changing world

  • Developing sustainably and close resource loops

  • Adapting to and mitigating climate change

  • Being resilient and preparing for crisis

  • Responding to advancements and new trends in technology


3.2.3 Integrated Long Term Planning Process

The URA uses an integrated planning approach that includes government ministries (Ministry of National Development, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Culture and Youth, Ministry of Health) and government agencies (Housing Development Board, National Parks, Building and Construction Authority, Singapore Land Authority, Land Transport Authority, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, Singapore Tourism Board, National Environment Agency, InfoComm Media Development Authority, GovTech Singapore etc.) 2022 Concept Plan - From Regular Reviews of Concept Plans 1958-1971-2019


This review resulted in the development of the Jurong Industrial Estate, construction of the Changi Airport, road and rail networks, satellite housing towns and reclamation of the Marina Bay.

The reclamation was a long term project that started long before under the Concept Plans of 1958, 1971, and 2019. Initial reclamations involved the removal of slum water-dwellings that used to characterise the poor and homeless who lived in housing structures called kampongs and boats on the waterside. In the early years Singapore’s human settlement was characterised by kampong slum dwellings. This was an under-developed society that suffered from social ills, inequality, poverty and unemployment. People lived with low dignity due to a lack of social infrastructure that included polluted water due as there was no sewerage and clean water systems.

The Concept Plan of 1958 led to an initial clean up and resettlement of people. The review of the 1958 Concept Plan took place in 1971. The long-term Land Use Plans that was developed from that resulted in the majority of people being removed from kampongs into public housing systems. Large social infrastructure projects installed sewerage, water, electricity and other social infrastructure, and efficient transport and telecommunications systems. Another review of the 1971 Plan was done and the 2019 Master Plan and Long-Term Land Use Structure Plan of 2022 sketched the future plans of Singapore. Further Long-Term Land Use Structure Plan 2022


The Long-Term Plan maps out long-term possibilities and vision for the future of Singapore, while the Master Plan provides a detailed statutory plan that guides developments for the next 10-15 years. The 2019 Master Plan provides a detailed and transparent statutory land use plan and regular reviews.

Key features of this plan include:

  • Polycentric development to bring jobs closer to homes

  • Nature corridors to connect green areas

  • Future Development Areas to give Singapore room to adjust future plans.

3.2.4 Turning plans into reality

  • Most of the land belongs to the State and it has power to control strategic development in specific areas for the public good.

  • The state ensures that land and buildings are developed according to the planning intentions of the Master Plan.

  • Transparent and clear guidelines for both macro and micro controls are set to ensure compliance.


3.2.5 Planning strategies Economic (Sustain a robust and vibrant economy)

  • Polycentric job nodes: Variety of commercial hubs, business parks and industrial areas closer to home. (Changi Airport Hub, Punggol Digital District, Jurong Lake District and Tuas Port)

  • The Marina Bay: Planned as a seamless extension of the existing Central Business District.

  • Enhancing the City Centre: Vibrant, mixed-use neighborhoods that are connected and convenient and have more public spaces.

  • Higher value knowledge economy: Business Park at one-north.

  • Bustling eco-systems: Linking businesses, research facilities and infrastructure.

  • Well-connected global hub: Consolidation of port operations at Tuas port and expansion of Changi airport. Social (Provide a good quality living environment)

  • Variety of housing choices: Private landed housing, private condominium, high-rise public housing and Waterfront housing.

  • Livable Towns with good amenities: Town center with shops, library and market; education institutions, transport infrastructure, recreation spaces, sport complex and greenery.

  • New Typologies to better serve residents, e.g., The Kampung Admiralty.

  • More homes for new needs and aspirations: Close to transport, job nodes and amenities, Green, community-centric, car-lite precincts that encourage walking and cycling in and around the city center.

  • Enhancing mobility: By 2030, the URS aims to have 10 households within a 10 min walk to nearest Mobile Rail Train (MRT). By 2040, there should be a 400km rail network, which is currently at 258km. The public transport system is aimed to reach the city by no later than 45 mins during peak hour by 2040.

  • Transit priority corridors: Bus-priority lanes together with wider footpaths, dedicated cycling paths or shared paths.

  • The future of mobility: Autonomous vehicles, drones for deliveries, air taxis for quick trips and mobility as a service.

  • Retaining sense of identity: With all new developments, areas like China Town, Tong Ah Building, Than Hok Keng Temple etc, are kept at their original form to preserve heritage and original meaning.

  • Public spaces for all to enjoy. Environment (Develop in an environmentally responsible manner)

  • City in nature: 7800 ha of green spaces, four gazetted nature reserves, 450hs of Nature Parks and identified Nature Areas as well as more than 370 km of park connectors.

  • Restoring nature into the urban landscape: There is currently 155ha of skyrise greenery to date and the aim is to reach 200ha by 2030.

  • Enabling a low - carbon city: Decabornise and diversify energy supply.

  • Adapting to climate change: Enhance flood and coastal resilience. By 2100, Singapore may experience mean sea levels that are projected to rise by 1metre, sea levels could rise up to 4 – 5 m at the confluence of extreme high tides and storm surges, heavier and more frequent rainfall could prevail and an increase in daily mean temperature of 1,4 to 4,6 degrees Celsius.


3.2.6 Digital Planning

  • This entails Planning and Development data, Social / Demographic data, People and Vehicle movement and Crowd-sourced feedback / Ground sensing.

  • Digital Planning is mainly used to understand home – workflows and analytics for placement of amenities.

  • Corenet-X is One-stop portal for consultants to submit a coordinated BIM model to multiple agencies, and for agencies to deconflict any regulatory requirements.

  • Urban Design 3D Model and Multi-Scenario Simulation.


3.2.7 Sustaining land and sea -space options

  • Creating new developmental space on used land

  • Unlocking underground space

  • Optimising use of sea space

  • Optimising use of land


3.2.8Observations and findings

  • Public housing is one strategy used to ensure that all Singaporean citizens have a place to settle. This is done through the National Savings Programme.

  • There are strict regulations and standards set up for contractors, which include innovative standards and building materials used in order to get full compliance certification for each construction project.

  • CoreNet - X is to facilitate the communication between all agencies involved in all development projects.



3.3.1Brief background and history of the HDB

The Housing & Development Board (HDB) is Singapore's public housing authority. It plans and develops Singapore's housing estates; building homes and transforming towns to create a quality living environment for all. It provides various commercial, recreational, and social amenities in our towns for our residents’ convenience.

This entity was established on 1 February 1960 during its nation’s housing crisis, and it was tasked with providing sanitary living conditions to replace the prevalent unhygienic slums and crowded squatter settlements. It delivered and built 21,000 flats in less than 3 years. By 1965, within a decade of its formation, it had built 54,000 flats.

Singapore's public housing has housed an entire nation. Currently, more than 1 million flats have been completed in 23 towns and 3 estates across the island. HDB flats spell home for 80% of Singapore's resident population, of which about 90% own their home.

For over 50 years, the HDB has provided quality and affordable public housing for generations of Singaporeans and is proudly continuing to do so.

The HDB environmental policy outlines its commitment to environmental management and green practices.

3.3.2 Supporting Pillars

For HDB to successfully meet the difficult goals set out, it needed a sound public housing strategy. This strategy was defined by 3 crucial fundamentals:


3.3.3 The concept of a sole agency

A sole agency in charge of public housing enabled more effective resource planning and allocation. This concept made it possible for it to secure the land, raw materials, and manpower for large-scale construction to optimise results and achieve economies of scale.

3.3.4 A total approach to housing

By adopting a total approach covering planning and design, land assembly, and construction, the housing task was carried out as a seamless whole – through allocation, management, and maintenance.

3.3.5 Strong government support

Support from the government in the form of political and financial commitment, complemented by legislation, helped put early public housing on the right track quickly, which made housing the nation that much smoother and fruitful a journey.


3.3.6 Observations and findings

  • The HDB story began with it taking over from its predecessor, the Singapore Improvement Trust. Persevering through challenges, HDB has since established public housing in Singapore as a benchmark of excellence.

  • HDB sprang into action, and in less than 3 years, it had built 21,000 flats; 2 years later, that number was 54,000. Within a brief span of 10 years, HDB built a sufficient number of flats for Singaporeans and resolved the housing crisis.

  • HDB is now home to more than 80% of Singapore’s population, across 23 towns and 3 estates.

  • Every working individual has a Singapore Provident Fund (SPF) account. From almost 80% of each individual’s take home salary, 37% is meant for retirement (6%), medical insurance (8%) and home buying (23%). Another 37% comprises of the employer contribution (20%) and employee contribution (17%) towards the SPF account.

  • The HDB provides housing to citizens who are unable to afford private housing, most of which are coming from slums.

  • Immigrants do not have a mindset of buying homes in Singapore, so the compulsory SPF account that was established through government policies, encourages them to buy homes and encourages them to have a sense of belonging.

  • The main focus of the HDB is public housing because the mandate is based on regulations, but the Ministry of National Development would at times, make special regulations for processes of land acquisition.

  • When the new government of Singapore took land ownership over after independence from colonization and through the Land Acquisition Act, it was able to expropriate land from private owners. As a result of this, 90% of Singaporean land is owned by the State.

  • In instances where flats were built in a manner that depicts that land was not optimally used, government can acquire it with equitable compensation and upgrade the block of flats according to current regulations and standards of construction. The owners or occupants of the flats may be required to pay up to 30 % of the upgrade costs. This is termed the “Selective Upgrading Programme”.

  • Government currently spends SGD 1billion per annum on housing subsidies.

  • Citizens are allowed to buy twice from the HDB but one has to own one flat at a time.

  • Mortgage loan financing remains available for citizens who want to purchase private housing.

  • Collection of rates and maintenance of public areas is done by Town Councilors as each town has its own Councilor that manages the upkeep and management of towns.

  • There is an agency responsible for conservation of heritage that ensures that Singapore does not lose its cultural significance while developing more urban structures for human settlements.

  • The Prime Location Public Housing Scheme (PLPHS) allows for people to enjoy living in prime areas of the city – state.

  • Government support necessitates lower bond rates and citizens are highly subsidized.

  • The HDB reports to the Ministry of National Development, which is the one that reports to Parliament regarding its budget.

  • Because Singapore subscribes to Asian values and principles, a family unit is strongly encouraged and as result, heavily subsidized bonds are mainly granted to married couples. Single applicants were only incorporated into the scheme in 2017 but only qualify for single units (1 bedroom, 36m2, costing SGD 341 000). LGBTQI+ couples would only qualify to buy houses in an open market, which is less subsidized by the government, even so, they only qualify to buy as individuals and not as couples.

  • HDB offers a range of flats, ranging from 36 m2 1 or 2 room(s), 90 m2 4 rooms to 110 m2 per size. The subsidy amount depends on the size and location of the flat. Inner – city (mature) areas are more subsidized than out of town areas because of price range.



3.4.1Background and history of the Bugis Village

This project was initiated in 2020, with CapitaLand holding a three-year tender for the integrated management of Bugis Village and adjacent Bugis Street.

CapitaLand as private company had to revamp the area and enhance connectivity to ensure the integration of Bugis Village and Bugis Street. To do this, the project includes the construction of a new link bridge connecting Bugis Street to Bugis Village. It also needs to ensure sheltered access from Bugis MRT station.

 Plans were also explored for the integrated development to house a day-to-night market, a retail incubator, and areas for co-living and co-working. A section will also be converted into a hub offering brands a space to innovate new ways of creating curated brand experiences or pilot new concepts.

Part of the plan is to provide open display areas using a series of loose and colourful container boxes, to be named Bugis Box. It will be a modern interpretation of street markets with trendy street food, quirky gifts, and trending fashion accessories.

3.4.2Observations and findings

The shopping hub is divided into two segments, one being a high-end shopping mall and the other being a low-cost shopping collection of outlets.




The delegation that was hosted by two Members of the Singaporean Parliament, was accompanied to Parliament by the High Commissioner, Deputy High Commissioner and First Secretary of the Mission. Mr Vikram Nair and Gan Thiam Poh, accompanied by two officials, hosted the delegation and shared insights regarding parliamentary operations. The Chairperson of the Committee outlined the purpose of the visit and introduced the delegation.

3.5.1Observations and findings


  • 80% of Singaporeans live in public housing and 20% lives in private residences.

  • The most important pillar of Singapore is that all Singaporeans must have a home.

  • No foreign nationals are allowed to buy landed houses in Singapore but there is a specific demarcated area for them to buy public housing.

  • First – time married couples are given a grant by the government to buy homes and the income value of the couple will determine the grant amount afforded by the government.

  • Public schooling and healthcare are the most crucial priorities of the Singaporean government, as a result most children go to public schools. Parents who fail to send children to school are fined.

  • Even though education has the biggest budget, the health budget is fast approaching and most likely to surpass education due to the needs of the population. One of the reasons for the increase of the health budget is that there are many health programmes that have been established, to encourage Singaporeans to eat healthy and exercise.

  • Integrated buildings are meant to ensure that communities have all required amenities at a walking distance from home. Provision of shelter is also prioritized from home to public transport as the weather can be extremely hot or too rainy.

  • The unemployment rate in Singapore is very low (1-2%). There are more available jobs that people who live in the island. Locally, there is a job mismatch because the available people do not have the necessary qualification and skills matching available job requirements. The former Prime Minister started a programme to encourage Singaporeans to constantly upgrade themselves so as to be able to find better employment and in turn, increase their income base.

  • Parliament uses the Westminster model. Its sittings are once every month on Mondays except for June and December, unless there is an emergency.

  • Members of Parliament are allowed to have other jobs while they are public representatives. It is only Ministers that are full time employed by the government because they have to solely focus on the state’s deliverables.

  • Members of Parliament hold weekly constituency meetings. They are on the ground 3-4 times a week because that is what is expected from them by their constituencies.

  • Members of Parliament earn a “clean wage” with no extra benefits and the wage comes in a form of an allowance (SGD 19 6000,00 per annum), which they have to contribute to their own political parties for sustainability.

  • Legislative Assistants for secretarial assistance are appointed in constituency offices at an allowance of SGD 450,000 per annum.

  • Singapore has an Anti – Corruption Bureau that reports to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Commercial Affairs.

  • The Corrupt Processes Investigation Bureau (CPIB) investigates corruption allegations against Members of Parliament and reports to the Prime Minister of the state then the President. This entity ensures that Singapore has a corrupt – free government.

  • The Prime Minister is responsible for the passing of the budget for Ministries and government agencies.

  • Singapore has no illegal immigrants because of the nature of security at their ports of entry.

  • Singapore has a death penalty for drug traffickers. If one is found with 15 mg of pure heroine quantity warrants death penalty.



3.6.1Background and history of the Holland Village

Established in the early 1900s by Singapore’s Dutch community, Holland Village was the former home of British Army personnel and their families. Plantations, colonial estates and nurseries once dotted this neighbourhood, and its European-influenced legacy can still be seen in the architecture of its quaint shophouses and low-rise buildings.

The district was named after the English architect Hugh Holland but was colloquially known as hue hng au (‘behind the flower garden’ in the Hokkien dialect), in reference to its close proximity to the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Over the years, Holland Village has garnered a reputation for being a creative commune and an incubator for local artists, musicians and entrepreneurs. The main stretch of Holland Village along Lorong Mambong exudes a subtle European charm, and is a trove of al fresco cafes, restaurants and popular lifestyle outlets.

This is a revitalisation project of an older mixed-use housing and commercial area. The project is run by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in partnership with several private companies that specialise in housing services and commercial leasing.

The project is managed by the Far East Organisation. The development consists of residential apartments, serviced apartments, retail, office, and community spaces.

It has a residential component, named One Holland Village Residences, which offers 296 residential units split into three blocks. The lower half of the first block will house Quincy House, made up of 255 serviced apartments, while the upper half will have 27 luxury private units under the private company Quincy Private Residences. The second and tallest block, a 34-storey residential tower, will house 248 units under the company Sereen. The final block, named Leven, is a three-storey building with architecture inspired by walk-up apartments found in nearby Tiong Bahru and Chip Bee Gardens. Leven will be made up of 21 units with spiral staircases and roof terraces.

Private business tenants in the 13,500-square-metre retail component include Cold Storage, Guardian, Bedrock Bar & Grill, The Rice Company, and The Projector. The retail mall will be the first-of-its-kind, low-rise urban lifestyle hub in Singapore, with a mix of outdoor and indoor spaces. A 2,000-square-metre community space will also be set aside for an Arts Centre developed by The Rice Company.

Community spaces will be split into four main compounds: Village Square, Village Green, Village Central, and the Village Deck. These spaces aim to foster interactions within the community and for visitors to relax in.

The commercial zone was to be completed in mid-2022, while the residential component of the Holland Village is estimated to be completed by the end of 2024.

3.6.2Observations and findings

  • The Holland Village apartments are more expensive than the HDB apartments. A bachelor pad/ one bedroomed apartment ranges from SGD 2million, while a 2 bedroomed apartment would cost anything from SGD 2,4 million and above.

  • There are integrated establishments in the village, where all amenities are as close as possible to the communal areas.

  • The apartments are fitted with upmarket appliances. The lowest costing apartments are fitted with Smeg appliances while the higher rating apartments are fitted with Vista appliances.



3.7.1 The SCE Background and History of the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE)


The SCE was an idea from then Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong who saw an important role for the public sector in international cooperation. It was initially set up by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Trade and Industry in 2006. SCE is currently an integrated arm of Enterprise Singapore – a statutory body of the Singapore government.

The SCE shares Singapore’s development model and experience with foreign governments through projects and collaboration initiatives.

It is an aggregator of expertise from both public and private-sector to advise and implement relevant solutions on a cost-recovery basis.

The SCE facilitates and coordinates access to expertise in Singapore. The SCE’s value proposition

  • SCE adapts Singapore’s experiences to deliver customized workable solutions in the market it operates in.

  • SCE is able to customize each project with the relevant fields of expertise to meet the client’s requirement, recognizing that each country / project will be governed by a unique set of cultural, political, regional & business considerations.

  • SCE can integrate this expertise into a single deliverable to the client.

  • SCE can organize training visits, conduct advisory and enter into project implementation, to share relevant experience and transfer of knowledge to our clients. SCE’s Access to Diversity of Expertise

The SCE’s areas of expertise span across key public-sector pillars:

  • Urban solutions and Master planning

  • Economic Positioning/ Ease of Doing Business

  • Public Administration and Governance

  • Smart Economy and ICT

  • Technical Vocational Education and Training

  • Water Resource Management A sampling of the SCE’s African Track Record in Urban Development

  • Kigali, Rwanda

Built capacity for Urban Planners in Rwanda, developed a detailed Master  Plan and detailed design from small-scale  property developments to townships for 3 districts at Kigali CBD.


  • Bujumbura, Burundi

Conceptualized the strategic development framework for the City of Bujumbura including master planning consultancy, in tripartite partnership with the Government of Burundi and UNDP Burundi.

  • Arusha and Mwanza, Tanzania

Consultancy and Advisory for the Master Planning of the Secondary Cities of Arusha and Mwanza.

  • Kaloum and Loos Island, Republic of Guinea

Detailed Urban planning and Urban Design of Kaloum (CBD in Conakry) and the Loos Islands.

  • Sème City, Republic of Benin

Provided master planning and Urban Design advisory for a new proposed Innovation and Education City in Sème.

  • Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Master Planning in Pointe Noire and Oyo Ollombo

Provided master planning advisory for the industrial and port city of Pointe Noire and the new planned economic area of Oyo Ollombo in the North.

  • New Nkok Airport City, Gabon

       Planning and Urban Design for the New Nkok Airport City.

  • Libreville Airport redevelopment Plan

Redevelopment plan, Master Plan and Financial Model of the Leon Mba international airport.

  • Advisory Services for the Namibia National Housing Namibia

Advisory services to the Namibia National Housing Enterprise (NHE) on tapping their pension to help in affordable housing financing for their lower income earners.

  • A series of High-Level Lecture to Cabinet Ministers and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Eswatini

Topic:1. Socially Conscious Master Planning– A pillar of Singapore’s Development Success.

Topic:2: Sustainable Housing for a Nation – Singapore’s Experience.


3.7.2 DP Architects and History of DP Architects


DP Architects was founded in 1967 with a deep concern for the built environment and the need to create architecture of excellence that enriches the human experience and spirit.

With 56 years of experience and 18 international offices, DP Architects employs 900 employees worldwide.

Capitalizing on DPA’s architectural expertise, DP Urban (DPU) is aiming to continually improve the way in which it plans and develops cities, leveraging on technological advancement while ensuring a workable model of economic feasibility, environment enhancement, social development and human capital improvement.

DPA offers integrated end-to-end services for urban planning and master plan implementation:

  • Regional and city planning

  • Urban design, conservation and place-making

  • Residential township planning

  • Industrial & logistic park planning

  • Port and airport planning

  • Landscape planning

  • Campus planning

  • Resort and tourism planning

  • Other thematic planning

  • Capacity building in urban planning and development


DPA services and capabilities include:

  • Green building certification

  • Whole life carbon assessment

  • Energy audit

  • Smart building

  • Bioclimatic analysis

  • Airflow analysis

  • Daylight and glare

  • Energy modelling


3.7.3Observations and findings

  • The SCE successfully completed more than 200 projects and training programmes in over 40countries.

  • The SCE’s footprint in Africa includes East Africa (Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Djibouti, Zanzibar -Tanzania), Southern Africa (Mauritius and Namibia), Central Africa (Republic of Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea), West Africa (Benin, Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire) and North Africa (Morocco)

  • The DPA uses an APD (Attributes of Purposeful Design) approach, which is a design tool and practice to systematically analyse the sustainability criteria of the built environment projects. This was first launched in 2015 but was revised in 2021 to incorporate criteria to meet the sustainability needs of the Singapore Green Pan 2030. It encompasses the key sustainability criteria most built environmental projects must address to achieve eight major sustainability outcomes for social, environmental and economic value.



3.8.1Background and history of the Marina Barrage

The Marina Barrage was envisioned by Singapore’s first Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, more than 30 years ago in 1987, after the completion of a massive clean – up of the Singapore Kallang Rivers.

Built across the mouth of the Marina Channel between Marina East and Marina South, Marina Barrage is an engineering marvel and an icon of Singapore’s success in sustainable water management.

The Marina Barrage provides Singaporeans with three main benefits, namely:

  • Water Supply

  • Flood control

  • Lifestyle attraction


The Barrage forms Singapore’s 15th reservoir and the first right in the heart of the city.

There are 5 rivers that flow into the Marina Reservoir, which makes it to be the island’s largest and most urbanised water catchment area spanning 10 000 ha.

The Marina Barrage also acts as a tidal barrier to keep seawater out, helping to alleviate flooding in high-risk low-lying areas of the downtown districts such as Chinatown, Jalan Besar and Geylang.

When it rains heavily during low tide, the barrage's crest gates will be lowered to release excess water from the coastal reservoir into the sea. In heavy rain falls during high tide, the crest gates remain closed and giant drainage pumps are activated to pump excess water out to sea.

As the water in the Marina Basin is unaffected by the tides, the water level will be kept constant, making it ideal for all kinds of recreational activities such as boating, windsurfing, kayaking and dragon boating.

3.8.2Observations and findings

  • Next to the Barrage, is an underground water desalination plant that was built through a Private Public Partnership.

  • Singapore has 4 taps: rainwater, desalination water, recycled water and water imported from Malaysia. The latter was previously the most dominant until the Barrage was built so there is currently less dependence on Malaysia.

4 Conclusion


The Committee appreciated lessons from the South African High Commission in Singapore, Parliament of Singapore, Singaporean government and agencies that shared insights regarding operations, governance and innovations that can be adopted to assist South Africa especially pertaining to sustainable and environmentally viable built environment and infrastructure.


Report to be noted.



[1] All information on the SAIC and projects were gathered from

[2] budget/2023/speech/speech.pdf

[3] Ibid.

[4] The Constitution, 1996, section 153.

[5] Constitution, 1996, sections 21, 24, 26, 27, 29, and 33 (as limited in section 36).