By Sue Segar
IN a development which is set to greatly benefit the Saldanha Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), the Western Cape Provincial Department of Infrastructure recently completed the access road to the IDZ, at a cost of R24 million. The project, which was launched by the Western Cape Minister of Infrastructure, Tertuis Simmers, started in September 2022.
The access road is expected to boost economic activity and revenue for the area, according to Matlhodi Maseko, the DA Western Cape spokesperson on Infrastructure.
The IDZ project falls under the Infrastructure department’s allocation of an overall budget of R2.25 billion over the medium-term to West Coast District municipalities towards a total of 96 multi-year projects which are either currently under way or planned by the department across the region.
Maseko said the early completion of the project further highlights the department’s commitment to service delivery for jobs and economic opportunities to the benefit of communities. “The department recognises that investment in infrastructure can be a catalyst for economic development in the region.
“The Saldanha Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) access road will provide a more direct road for industrial traffic to the IDZ with improved mobility and safety. The design will ensure a smoother and more quality transportation of heavy industrial traffic,” she told Cape Business News. “This will ultimately increase economic activity and revenue for the area.”
The Saldanha IDZ was established in 2013 through a partnership between the Western Cape government, the Saldanha Bay municipality and Transnet and is one of four designated IDZs in South Africa.
“The IDZ is crucial for the economic development of the Western Cape, given its location. The area has been specifically designated for new investment by export-oriented industries and related services and will contribute significantly to economic growth, trading and manufacturing as well as access to job opportunities, not only for the Western Cape but also for the national economy,” Maseko said.
Premier Alan Winde set up the department of Infrastructure as a separate ministry to deal with the backlog of infrastructural needs in the province on roads, public buildings, hospitals and schools in the province.
Besides the IDZ access road, the multi-year projects include R529 million for the Malmesbury bypass project; and two fast-tracked projects which include repairs to the R303 in Citrusdal, a road that was reopened to traffic within 10 days after being washed away by recent flooding, and the Middelpos Primary School project which will accommodate over 1 800 learners.
Maseko said the Malmesbury Bypass Project, involves the construction of a new seven-kilometre-long road that will bypass the town of Malmesbury. “The new road will connect the R45 road corridor between the N7 and R46 roads. Budgeted against R529 million, the project is earmarked to create nearly 220 job opportunities and 37 small, medium, and micro enterprises opportunities. The project is set to be completed at the end of 2025.”
“The purpose of the project is to reduce traffic congestion in Malmesbury and improve safety. The current road through Malmesbury is heavily congested, especially during peak hours. The bypass road will reduce congestion and improve safety.”
Maseko said the Standing Committee on Infrastructure will embark on oversight visits to engage with all involved stakeholders to assess the progress of all projects that are presently underway or in the process of implementation. “These multi-year projects are projects that will instil dignity and hope in our communities. Infrastructure investment is crucial for sustainable development outcomes and key to economic growth.”