Opening of R100 million Plettenberg Bay Airport Road
Statement by Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works
I should like to welcome you all today to this auspicious occasion, marking the culmination of a 15 month project that is set to significantly change the future prospects of the Plettenberg Bay economy.
The project itself was motivated by the need to connect the western side of Plettenberg Bay to the N2, also creating easier access from the Plettenberg Bay Airport and the new industrial development area adjacent to the airport on the N2. This will now be the fourth access route into Plettenberg Bay.
Die ekonomiese voordele van hierdie skuif is voor die hand liggend, en sal 'n beter verbinding te sien en straal van tussen hierdie belangrike gebiede.
The new road is also expected to be a key driver in the increase of tourism in this region, and will increase the potential of property developments along the new road.
Tourism remains a huge economic driver in the region, contributing an estimated close to 60% to the region’s GDP (which is in excess of R2 billion annually).
The tourism sector in the region is also the highest employer, employing more than 4000 people with the prospects of more jobs created as the sector continues to grow. The size and continued growth of this sector is testament to what this region has to offer to the thousands of visitors that flock here annually.
All of these factors make this R100 million investment by the Western Cape Government through its Department of Transport and Public Works into Plettenberg Bay a strategic one that has the potential of reaping great rewards in the future. The Eden District continues to be one of the fast growing regional economies of the Western Cape, aided largely by infrastructure investments such as this one.
The Western Cape Government has invested billions of Rands in infrastructure in the Bitou Municipality, and the greater Eden District: Investment in the form of three splendid new schools, two clinics and a hospital, and major roads construction projects. The impact of this investment across the community and across future generations is enormous.
Just last year, Minister of Education, Debbie Schafer, and I opened two of those state-of-the-art schools in both the Kranshoek and Kwanokuthula communities, and the year before that, I presided over the opening of the Blanco Road in George. The infrastructure projects are not only an investment in the region itself, but also an investment in its people who will continue to benefit from the extended opportunities that come with new and improved infrastructure.
All of this investment is only possible through a reciprocal partnership with the various municipalities, especially the Bitou Municipality, who have been a crucial partner in our ability to deliver on our core mandate. We must continue to work together in the interests of the people who make up this community and who take precedence above all else.
This Plettenberg Bay Airport Road project has been a couple of years in the making, and has involved the dedication and hard work of various key stakeholders. From the onset, we have been fortunate to have the assistance of Steve Ritky and Shayne van Rensburg from Farm Watch. They have been instrumental in our engagements with the local community, and been central to the project’s success. My sincere thanks to you both for your commitment to this project.
The project commenced on 22 September 2015, and was completed in December last year. Arriving at this point was not without its challenges and additional needs that arose during the project. Part of the project later included repair work to the Piesang Valley Road, which consisted of repairs to a section of porous asphalt and to a slip on the road. Additional work also had to be done to remove more trees on site than was originally estimated. Despite these hiccups along the way, the contractor, Entsha Henra, must be commended for not only producing a product of a high standard, but also completing the project within the contract period.
The project has also far exceeded any empowerment targets that were set as part of the contract. A total of close to R12 million (12% of the contract value) was set aside for targeted enterprises, far surpassing the 7% target initially set. A further R10 million (10% of the contract value) was also set aside to benefit emerging contractors which was also notably higher than the 5.6% target initially set as per the contract. Empowerment is a key feature of all projects undertaken by the Department of Transport and Public Works. I am pleased to see that we continue to meet, and often surpass by huge margins, the targets set in this regard.
'N Opregte woord van dank aan die kontrakteur span vir die uitstekende werk wat hulle gedoen het, jy werklik is 'n gewaardeerde en uitstaande vennoot van die Wes-Kaapse Regering; jou verbintenis tot uitnemendheid word opreg waardeer.
Further thanks to the Bitou Municipality, and the greater Eden district; your partnership continues to be crucial to the successful implementation of all projects we undertake in this region. I look forward to a continued, and mutually beneficial, partnership relationship moving forward.
To the HOD, Ms Jacqui Gooch, and your team from Lenn Fourie to the entire Roads Branch; your dedication and hard work will be your legacy, long after we are all gone. A heartfelt thank you to all of you.
Road infrastructure is an important factor for the productivity, safety, and future development of this country, and the Western Cape in particular. This importance is demonstrated in areas where they are in a poor condition. The adverse impact on economic activity and general safety can be clearly seen. For these reasons, we will continue to do our part to plan, construct, rehabilitate and maintain the provincial road network, as a valued and strategic asset of this government.
It is therefore my wish that the completion of this road will mark the beginning of greater things to come, for all those that will travel on it, whether for work, or pleasure. May this road keep this region on the right path to progress.