The Western Cape’s 13 proclaimed fishing harbours project that is aimed at boosting the local economy has been completed, according to Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille. The project cost R501-million and formed part of the Small Harbours Repairs and Maintenance programme, which refurbished 13 harbours in the province.
According to De Lille, the project created 925 jobs and empowered SMMEs across all 13 harbours. Sunken vessels were removed, harbour basins dredged, slipways repaired, shore cranes replaced, and civil, security and electrical infrastructure upgraded. De Lille and her deputy, Noxolo Kievet, recently inspected Saldanha Bay. She said that Saldanha Bay harbour’s main contractors subcontracted SMMES from the surrounding communities, and they benefited to the tune of R27-million.
Plant equipment, building material and other smaller equipment were all sourced from local businesses. A total of 29 vessels were removed at various harbours and 15 were removed at the Hout Bay harbour. “DPWI (Department of Public Works and Infrastructure) grasped at the opportunity at the Hout Bay harbour removal of sunken vessels project, which allowed nine informal divers (many of which were former poachers) including one woman being trained as Class 3 Commercial Divers to assist with the work for the Hout Bay harbour removal of sunken vessels project,” she said.
“The removal of sunken vessels project in Hout Bay alone created a total of 110 jobs and empowered 11 SMMEs to the value of approximately R4,5 million,” The minister said that the development of the harbours would give coastal communities the opportunity to access the sea and grow the ocean’s economy. She added that the project brought immense benefit to the local economy. “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,” she said.
Susanne Visser, the owner of Hensu projects, is one of the entrepreneurs whose SMMEs were subcontracted for the Saldanha Bay project. Speaking at the inspection, she bemoaned the low representation of women-owned businesses for the project. “I am in awe (that I participated in the project) knowing that (my business) is part of a male-dominated sector, and… it is a pity that there were so few women-owned businesses involved in the project,” she said. “Our business was part of supplying onsite brickwork, carpentry, plumbing and painting among others, and I believe that our business can only grow from strength to strength.” Other harbours that were refurbished include Lamberts Bay, Laaiplek/Bergrivier, St Helena Bay, Pepper Bay, Kalk Bay, Gordon’s Bay, Hermanus, Gansbaai, Arniston, Struisbaai and Stillbaai.