R400 Million boost for small scale fishing

By: Sidima Mfeku

Port Elizabeth-The Department of Public Works (DPW) and Coega Development Corporation (CDC) have collaborated to enforce economic development in small harbours to boost small-scale fishing and tourism in the Western Cape.

R400 million worth of development projects in the marine and ocean economy are expected in the Western Cape. In a statement released yesterday, 28 May, the Department of Public Works and Coega have rolled out the first phase of their development plans to upgrade 13 harbours in the Western Cape. The development projects implemented by the CDC seek to boost the small-scale fishing industry and tourism in the Western Cape. The CDC is implementing the projects on behalf of the DPW and has been an agent of small harbours development programme for a long time. “Since the commencement of the project, we’ve had a great working relationship with the department. We have progressed at a rapid pace and hit all the right notes in supporting the DPW’s focus on developing the maritime economy,” said Themba Koza CDC Programme Director.

Mr Riyaadh Kara, DPW Quantity Surveyor and Project Manager said the development project is aimed at changing the lives of many fishing communities and tourism operators relying on the 13 smaller proclaimed harbours in the Western Cape. “The project forms part of our focus on the oceans economy and is a strategic fit to Operation Phakisa,” adds Kara. The thirteen harbours targeted in this development project include: Hout Bay, Kalk Bay, Saldanha Bay, Pepper Bay, Gordon’s Bay, Hermanus, Struisbaai, Gansbaai, Stilbaai, Arniston, Laaiplek, Lamberts and St. Helena Bay. To carry out the project the CDC has sourced and deployed necessary marine, civil and electrical engineers, as well as marine surveyors.

The CDC has been of great assistance and also the execution of the development projects of this nature. It has successfully concluded Marine Surveys and Reports for all 13 Harbours, as well as the testing of the sediment materials that need dredging in order to open up some of the harbours. Koza added ,”In many cases lives are put at risk and boats are damaged because the harbour basin and approach channel to the slipways have silted up and boats have to be launched off the beach, or only at high tide, which is why dredging is paramount to the longevity of these harbours,”

The tenders for repairs and upgrades to slipways and the replacement of shore cranes have been advertised and are in the process of selecting successful candidates. “We are speeding up the process as quickly as possible as we understand that the livelihoods of at least 13 coastal communities are dependent on the harbour, which is used by the fishing fleet and tourism operators,” Koza said.

He concluded by saying: “Work has started last year in harbours with the removal of all sunken vessels and on completion maintenance dredging will commence by June 2018″. 

Jobs have been created around the coastal regions of the Western Cape and up to 102 jobs in total have been recorded through the upgrading. One of the important objectives of the project is to ensure that emerging businesses benefit from the programme. As a result of this, a total of  11 Small Medium and Micro Enterprises to the amount of R3.5 million have benefited from the programme so far.

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