The successful repair of the Gariep mining vessel, operated by De Beers Marine, in November has led to two further ship repair projects being booked for 2021 at the Port of Cape Town, the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT) said on February 25.
The Gariep mining vessel had to be sent to the Port of Cape Town dry dock for 112 days of maintenance and refitting, but required approvals owing to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions. There was some concern that the project would not be able to proceed and De Beers Marine approached the DEDAT to help it secure approval.
Following engagements with the Port of Cape Town and assistance from the DEDAT workplace safety team to ensure all necessary Covid-19 health protocols were implemented, the vessel arrived in Cape Town on August 1.
As a result of the complex international crew change procedures and immigration challenges at the time, the 44-person foreign crew was initially not allowed to disembark. However, as the crew could not stay onboard while the maintenance was being done and was needed on-site to sign off the maintenance upgrades, this caused further delays to the project and risked a cancellation of the repair project.
The DEDAT's Red Tape Reduction Unit approached the National Joint Committee on Immigration and convinced it of the importance of the economic value of the project and reassured them that all workplace safety precautions had been implemented. The Committee issued a special clearance for the crew to disembark and the project was able to continue to completion on November 24.
Owing to the interventions of the Red Tape Reduction Unit, the completion of this project has also paved the way for two more ship repair projects, which are already booked for this year at the Port of Cape Town, said provincial Finance and Economic Opportunities Minister David Maynier.
Tackling red tape and improving the ease of doing business in the Western Cape requires partnerships across all levels of government, the private sector and industry bodies working together to create an enabling environment in which businesses can thrive and jobs are created.
Since its launch in 2011, our Red Tape Reduction Unit has helped thousands of businesses tackle obsolete or unnecessary bureaucracy that restricts their growth. In this financial year alone, they have dealt with more than 1 270 cases and have maintained an overall resolution rate of 80%, he said.
"This work done by our Red Tape Reduction Unit is an excellent example of how we are working hard to improve the ease of doing business and create an enabling environment for businesses to grow and create jobs in the Western Cape. I would like to thank all stakeholders involved in the success of the Gariep mining vessel maintenance project, especially during a very challenging time."
Any businesses in the Western Cape, or any new potential investors battling with red tape can contact our Red Tape Reduction Unit for free assistance, he added.
"Going forward, we will be dramatically scaling up our efforts to address systematic red tape issues at their core and improve the ease of doing business, so that the Western Cape continues to be an attractive destination for investment and job creation," Maynier concluded.