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IDZ brings economic boom to Saldanha Bay

Written by Thomas Thale
Saldanha Bay stands on the verge of a major economic boom following President Jacob Zuma’s declaration of the area as an Industrial Development Zone (IDZ).

With the launch, the port of Saldanha in the south western coast region of the Western Cape is set to become an oil, gas, marine repair engineering and logistics services complex.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said a feasibility study had shown that Saldanha Bay was strategically located to serve the oil and gas sector on the African continent due to an increasing number of oil rigs requiring maintenance and passing by the West Coast to the East Coast of Africa. The focus on oil and gas facilities will include maintenance and repair, fabrication, supply and other services. The study, Minister Davies added, found that the IDZ had the potential to create 11 975 new jobs.

The IDZ is an industrial area linked to an international sea port which has areas that are suited for the manufacturing and storage of goods to boost beneficiation investment, economic growth and the development of skills and employment.

Minister Davies said the feasibility study confirmed that the Saldanha Bay IDZ project had huge potential for helping to lift South Africa's economy onto a higher industrial growth path.

“According to the study, the project has the potential to make a contribution of 86 per cent to the Gross Geographic Product and create approximately total (direct, indirect and induced) jobs; additionally the Saldanha Bay IDZ is likely to attract foreign direct investment worth approximately R9.3 billion over 25 years.”

Minister Davies said the oil and gas sector was one of the priority sectors of South Africa's Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP), adding that the IDZ would also help to advance the objectives of the country's National Development Plan.

Allan Winde, Western Cape MEC for Economic Development, said the Saldanha Bay IDZ would help stimulate the economy of the province. “Our vision is to establish the Western Cape as the oil and gas hub for Africa and the Saldanha Bay IDZ is crucial in achieving this objective.

“We are aware of several programmes, including our own Artisan Development Programme, which aim to build skills in the oil and gas industry.”

The Saldanha Bay IDZ is one of the 18 strategic integrated projects (SIPs) of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission.

Saldanha Bay becomes the fourth operating IDZ after Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as East London and Coega, both in the Eastern Cape.