“Today marks a historic day as we bring the major refurbishment programme to the 13 Proclaimed Fishing Harbours (PFHs) in the Western Cape, to the value of over [R500-million], to culmination,” Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille said in a statement on June 7.
De Lille and Deputy Minister Noxolo Kiviet visited the Saldanha Bay harbour to inspect the recently completed infrastructure upgrades.
The upgrades to the Saldanha Bay harbour form part of a major refurbishment programme to the 13 PFHs in the Western Cape, completed by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) in March this year to the value of R501-million.
The work undertaken at the various harbours included the removal of sunken vessels, dredging of the harbour basins, repairs to slipways, shore crane replacements, security and civil and electrical infrastructure upgrades.
The repairs and maintenance were undertaken at the Lamberts Bay, Laaiplek/Bergrivier, St Helena Bay, Saldanha Bay, Pepper Bay, Hout Bay, Kalk Bay, Gordons Bay, Hermanus, Gansbaai, Arniston, Struisbaai and Stilbaai harbours.
The Small Harbours Repairs and Maintenance Programme is aimed at bringing the harbours to a greater level of efficiency to revitalise the local economy and to serve the local fishermen, tenants and surrounding communities, De Lille outlined.
She said another key aim of the programme was to bring the harbours to a greater operational efficiency to assist the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) to carry out its mandate effectively with the enabling infrastructure provided by the DPWI.
“The project also aims to boost investor confidence within the harbours, and many existing tenants are looking to expand their operations coupled with a high appetite from new investors within the harbours, which will assist the DPWI in its drive towards attracting private sector investment and revenue generation for the State.
“Ultimately, the economic spin-offs of the repair and maintenance programme will allow for further job creation and local economic development surrounding the 13 PFHs along the Western Cape coastline,” De Lille said.
The works completed at Saldanha and Pepper Bay harbours included work on the slipway infrastructure at Saldanha harbour, civil infrastructure, as well as electrical infrastructure work both at Saldanha Bay and Pepper Bay harbours.
EMPOWERMENT AND JOB CREATION
De Lille said the project at all 13 harbours in the Western Cape had created 925 jobs, of which 500 jobs were for the youth. The project also empowered local small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMMEs) to the value of over R116-million.
She adds that the bulk of the SMMEs are level 1 or 2 broad-based black economic empowerment companies, and are vastly spread, ranging from Lamberts Bay in the upper West Coast to the East Coast at Stillbaai harbour, covering all 13 harbours.
About R98.6-million has been spent on the infrastructure upgrades work at the Saldanha Bay and Pepper Bay harbours.
The Saldanha Bay harbour main contractors appointed SMMEs from the local community. The value of work contracted to SMMEs amounted to about R27-million.
Plant equipment, small equipment and building materials were mainly sourced locally, De Lille said.
“This project is a prime example of the importance of infrastructure development to spur on economic activity and much-needed job creation for our citizens.”
Meanwhile, the removal of sunken vessels programme was being completed, with 29 vessels removed at various harbours, she pointed out.
She noted that the DPWI capitalised on the opportunity at the Hout Bay harbour to train nine informal divers as Class 3 commercial divers to assist with the removal of sunken vessels.
The removal of sunken vessels project in Hout Bay alone created 110 jobs and empowered 11 SMMEs to the value of about R4.5-million.
“The development of harbours will allow coastal communities access to the sea as well as an opportunity to grow the oceans economy in turn creating jobs and growing these coastal towns that were deprived of proper marine infrastructure for many years.
“This project has brought immense benefit in terms of job creation and now that the project has been completed, we hope it will increase investment and enable greater economic activity, for surrounding communities and the fishing industry value chain,” De Lille said.