With the aim to boost the Western Cape's small-scale fishing and tourism industries, the national Department of Public Works (DPW) and Coega Development Corporation (CDC) has teamed up for the first phase of an upgrade on 13 of the province's harbours worth R400m.
“The project is tipped to change the lives of many fishing communities and tourism operators relying on 13 of the smaller proclaimed harbours in the Western Cape,” Riyaadh Kara, DPW quantity surveyor and project manager. “The project forms part of our focus on the oceans economy and is a strategic fit to Operation Phakisa,” adds Kara.
The CDC, an implementing agent on behalf of DPW, has been at the coalface in rolling out and implementing the Small Harbours Programme. “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,” says Themba Koza, CDC programme director.
The thirteen harbours are to benefit from the upgrade include Hout Bay, Kalk Bay, Saldanha Bay, Pepper Bay, Gordon’s Bay, Hermanus, Struisbaai, Gansbaai, Stilbaai, Arniston, Laaiplek, Lamberts and St. Helena Bay
The CDC has procured and appointed the necessary marine, civil and electrical engineers, as well as marine surveyors.
Dredging paramount to longevity of harbours
Since the appointment of the CDC, the organisation has successfully concluded marine surveys and reports for all thirteen harbours, as well as the testing of the sediment materials that need dredging in order to open up some of the harbours.
“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,” adds Koza.
With the environmental impact assessments completed, all dredging dumping permits already obtained from the Department of Environmental Affairs in January 2018. 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,” says Koza. “Work has started last year in harbours with the removal of all sunken vessels and on completion maintenance dredging will commence by June 2018. "
The upgrades of the harbours around the coastal area in the Western Cape created 102 jobs in total. 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 SMMEs to the tune of R3.5m have benefited from the programme so far.