Saldanha Industrial Development Zone Plan. West Coast.
WESTERN Cape Finance, Economic Development and Tourism Minister Alan Winde and Saldanha Bay Municipality Executive Mayor Randal Abdol have met to discuss the creation of an industrial development zone, and related projects, in the West Coast Municipality and surrounds.
With expectations, especially in the fields of job creation and business development, running high along the West Coast, Winde called a meeting with Abdol to discuss industrial developments within the Municipality.
The Mayor and his team presented the Minister with the work that they have done to date to facilitate developments – and, after frank and fruitful discussions, the participants agreed that:
- Both the Ministry and Municipality are fully committed to sustainable development in the West Coast;
- Care should be taken not to fuel unrealistic expectations among the area’s stakeholders;
- The Municipality would continue to pursue actions aimed at economic and industrial development with due consideration to realistic timeframes; and
- These actions would be guided by, and would complement the feasibility study that is currently being conducted into the potential establishment of an Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) in the area.
The Western Cape Provincial Government, together with the national Department of Trade and Industry and the Saldanha Bay Municipality, are contributing to a feasibility study which will investigate key issues relating to the creation of an IDZ, including an economic impact and international market analysis, technical and infrastructural requirements, environmental specialist studies as well as the financial and business case modelling.
The study, commissioned by Wesgro on behalf of the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDT), is being financed by the national Department of Trade and Industry (dti) and the DEDT, and supervised by the Saldanha Bay Municipality, the DEDT and the dti.
At the meeting between the Minister and the Municipality, all the participants agreed on the importance of Saldanha as a sensitive area that has considerable eco-tourism potential. In this respect, an Environmental Management Framework is being managed by the provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning. The protection of the region’s natural environment was of paramount importance, the participants stated.
There was broad agreement too, that given the importance of Saldanha Bay in terms of its deep water port and other locational advantages, that there is potential for significant foreign direct investment into the region, that would be unpacked through the IDZ feasibility process. It could be expected that this would stimulate economic growth and jobs, with the potential for Saldanha to be a major growth node for South Africa.
The Minister and the Executive Mayor agreed to host a public information session in the area within the next month.
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