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R7bn set aside for new port facilities

Written by Nosihle Shelembe
South Africa’s oceans economy has been on a growth trajectory since the launch of Operation Phakisa.

Work to grow the country's oceans economy is gaining momentum.Government recently announced that it has allocated R7 billion to Transnet National Ports Authority so that it can build new port facilities to expand South Africa’s ocean economy.

Operation Phakisa aims to implement policies and programmes faster and more effectively to make inroads into the ocean economy. It is also one of the job drivers in the Nine-Point Plan that aims to grow the economy, create jobs, transform the economy and attract investment.

Two hundred jobs have already been created in new port facilities. Over the last 12 months, existing ports were refurbished and maintained, the Economic Cluster as well as the Employment and Infrastructure Development cluster said recently. The cluster, which is chaired by Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti, said work to grow the ocean economy is gaining momentum.

“Through the public-private partnership to establish Saldanha Bay as an oil and gas hub, an investment of R9.2 billion has been realised, which will be utilised over the next five years. With 14 licences issued for oil and gas exploration, drilling of two exploration wells for potential oil and gas finds will take place along the South African coast. The investment in gas infrastructure has commenced and will contribute to the energy security,” said the cluster.

Work on the offshore supply base has already started. It will see Saldanha Bay attracting oil rigs for maintenance and repair. This will create secondary job opportunities for surrounding communities.

According to the cluster, the boat building sector has been revitalised, leading to 500 direct jobs and 3 000 indirect jobs. “An amount of R353 million over the next three years has already been unlocked in the ports of Durban and Cape Town for boat building infrastructure through incentives provided by government.

“Further investments in boat building - catamaran production, workboat ferries for the navy, two offshore mining vessels and tugboats for the ports authority - and a fuel storage facility amount to approximately R3.6 billion,” the Economic Cluster said.

For the 2016/17 financial year, R80 million has been allocated for the rehabilitation and maintenance of proclaimed harbours in Gansbaai, Saldanha Bay, Struisbaai, Gordons Bay and Lamberts Bay, as well as the establishment of three new harbours in Boegoebaai in the Northern Cape, Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape and Hibberdene in KwaZulu-Natal. This will provide opportunities for local and rural economic development.

South Africa’s 3 924 km coastline is bordered by two oceans on three sides – east, south and west. According to research, the oceans economy could contribute up to R177 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP) and create just over 1 million jobs by 2033.

Growing the aquaculture sector

The aquaculture sector has unlocked investments of more than R400 million across 10 aquaculture farms which are already in production.

The community of Hamburg in the Eastern Cape has seen its first harvest of dusky kob (kabeljou) and the Siyazama Aquaculture Cooperative in Hamburg has sold its first harvest of dusky kob to the Cape Town Fish Market at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

The cluster said the expansion of aquaculture projects to inland and other coastal areas in support of Small Medium and Micro Enterprises will create 3 200 jobs and contribute R500 million to the GDP over the next year. The first two bulk carrier vessels have been registered in Port Elizabeth, and a third tanker in Cape Town, providing opportunities for South African cadets (trainees) boarding these vessels.

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