Gansbaai to Bredasdorp Road to Unlock Economic Potential in Overberg Region
Speech by Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works
Mayor of Cape Agulhas, the Honourable Richard Mitchell
Mayor of the Overstrand Local Municipality, the Honourable Nicolette Botha-Guthrie
Mayor of the Overberg District Municipality, the Honourable Lincoln de Bruyn
Reverend D. Dietrich
Representatives from Haw and Inglis and HHO and the rest of the project team
Mr Lenn Fourie, Chief Director for Roads Network Management in the Department of Transport and Public Works
Officials from the Cape Agulhas Municipality and the Department of Transport and Public Works present here today
Ladies and gentlemen
Good day, Goeie dag, Molweni
Dit is vir my ’n eer om vandag hier te wees om gedurende Oktober Vervoermaand die voltooiing van die opgradeerde Gansbaai tot Bredasdorp-pad te vier. Hierdie projek, en die ander van sy soort, sal as ’n konstante herinnering dien van ons toewyding tot die lewering van belangrike infrastruktuur in al die streke van die Wes-Kaap, om sodoende die ekonomiese potensiaal van die gebied te verwesenlik.
I am honoured to be here today, during October Transport Month, to celebrate the completion of the upgraded Gansbaai to Bredasdorp road. This project, and many like it, will serve as a constant reminder of our ongoing commitment to delivering key infrastructure to all regions in the Western Cape, thereby triggering the realization of the area’s economic potential.
This project is a R277 million project that spanned a construction period of 32 months. At the end of the project consisting of three phases, we have a total of 62.6kms of high quality, surfaced road connecting the community of Gansbaai to Bredasdorp and surrounds.
The project consisted of the construction of a new and wider surfaced road to replace the old gravel road that existed before. The project also consisted of:
- The upgrading of the stormwater system,
- The upgrading of the historic towns of Elim and Baardskeerdersbos,
- The construction of a new bridge over Uilenkraals,
- The construction of two low water causeways
Hierdie gebied is nie net slegs ryk aan ekonomiese potensiaal nie, maar ook aan geskiedenis. Elim is in 1824 deur Duitse sendelinge as ’n Morawiese sendingstasie gestig. Toe die sendelinge die gebied gekies het, het die nabyheid van water ’n belangrike rol gespeel, asook of die terrein geskik is om wingerde aan te plant sodat wyn vir nagmaal geproduseer kon word. Behalwe dat hulle die Evangelie verkondig het, het die sendelinge ook die inwoners ’n verskeidenheid ambagte en vaardighede geleer. Elim se rietdak-dekkers is steeds bekend vir hul vakmanskap, ’n ambag wat geslagte terug dateer.
This area is not only rich in economic potential, but also in history. Elim was established in 1824 by German missionaries as a Moravian mission station. When selecting the location, the missionaries are said to have placed a high priority on the proximity of water and on terrain that was suitable for planting vines so that wine for Holy Communion could be produced. Aside from preaching the Gospel, the missionaries also taught the villagers a variety of trades and skills. Elim’s thatchers continue to be renowned for their craftsmanship, a trade that dates back generations.
This picturesque village has changed very little over the years, with whitewashed cottages, fruit trees, and fynbos remaining defining characteristics. Of interest is how the village remains largely a farming village, with all the roads leading to this thatch roofed church.
Elim has become known for the export of fynbos, and as an emerging area in the production of wine. Both industries will benefit greatly from this upgraded road and improved infrastructure.
Economic indicators have shown that the Overberg economy had previously experienced a sharp drop from 7.6 per cent in 2008 to 0.8 per cent in 2009. It rebounded later to 5.2 per cent in 2011 but tapered off again to 2.1 per cent in 2013. The Overberg economy averaged at around 2.9 per cent in 2014, and is expected to grow further this year. This road will undoubtedly help in kick-starting the economy of the region, and see various industries flourish in the near future.
With benefits eminent for the community in the future, there were certainly benefits during the project, with many of our empowerment targets met and surpassed.
Of the total contract value, 10.11% (R18.9 million) was dedicated to local labour, with an additional R23.1 million (12.4%) earmarked for HDI enterprises. Ensuring local community benefit is a defining characteristic for all projects undertaken by the Department of Transport and Public Works, which is in keeping with our mission to deliver infrastructure and services that promote socio-economic outcomes and safe, empowered, and connected communities.
In the Western Cape, of the just over 32 000 kms of provincial road in total, 20 percent is surfaced but this 20 percent carries 95 percent of all traffic. Over the past six years, the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works has also managed to reduce its road maintenance backlog by over 16 percent, adding to the general overall improvement of the province’s surfaced roads network.
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.
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. Our R2.77 billion budgetary allocation for road construction and maintenance in this financial year alone, 2015/2016, is testament to how much value we place on this crucial asset.
With the project having now been completed, I am sure that many residents and businesses in the area will look forward to the many benefits that will come their way. I should like to thank the project team and contractors for their dedication and commitment to service delivery excellence, as well as our partners who have also worked tirelessly to ensure the project is a success. We cannot stress enough the importance of roads in this region and in South Africa in general. The obvious benefits drive our continued investment in road planning, construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance.
My department will continue to dedicate resources to constructing, refurbishing, and maintaining roads that change the lives of many for the better. This is a commitment we dare not shy away from.
I thank you.