Saldanha Bay fumble: Transnet a stumbling block to job creation
Natasha Michael, Shadow Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises
2 February 2012
Transnet’s inability to improve the harbour facilities at Saldanha Bay has forced at least one important foreign investor to withdraw their investments from the planned Saldanha industrial development zone (IDZ).
I will call on the chairperson of Parliament’s Public Enterprise committee, Peter Maluleka, to summon Transnet representatives to explain themselves.
An important Dutch investor, Universal Africa Lines (UAL) has been negotiating with Transnet to improve the harbour at Saldanha for the last 16 months.
But the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), which is a subsidiary of Transnet, has been dragging its feet during that period.
This is another example of how state inefficiency, and specifically the inefficiency of our parastatals, is turning off foreign investors and driving away job opportunities for our people.
UAL’s investment in the region is only possible if the harbour is large enough to deal with their equipment.
After 16 months of negotiations without any noteworthy outcomes, UAL has been forced to withdraw their planned investment and look for alternative sites in other African countries.
This situation needs to be dealt with as soon as possible to ensure that the necessary investments are made and that the potential to create jobs in this industry is fully realised.
The Saldanha Bay IDZ is intended to serve as an oil-platform repair and service hub. The Western Cape government has gone to great lengths to attract investment from that industry to this particular area.
The ultimate goal is to benefit from the booming oil industry off Africa’s western shoreline. If the harbour is upgraded and the IDZ implemented, it could attract billions in foreign investment and thousands of new jobs could be created.
We cannot allow a slack approach to jobs and investments to continue any longer. The Democratic Alliance will continue to push for the removal of barriers to growth caused in large part by our public enterprises.