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New port plans needed

Phase one of the harbour upgrades are currently underway and sunken vessels at both the New Harbour in Hermanus and at the Gansbaai Harbour have been removed.

Simlindele Manqina, spokesperson for the Coega Development Corporation, the implementing agent for the harbour upgrades, says bathymetric surveys of both harbour basins have been completed and planning is underway to dredge the Gansbaai Harbour. “All permits have been obtained and dredging is currently planned for August 2018 in Gansbaai,” he says.

Further upgrades for the slipway and marine infrastructure at Gansbaai include repairs and maintenance to the 80-ton slipway facility. At the New Harbour, there are plans for repairs and maintenance to the slipway, and to design and replace the derrick crane with a 7,5-ton capacity crane.

The budget for the proposed harbour upgrades in the Western Cape has, however, been slashed.

Manqina says “unfortunately” the Department of Public Works (DPW) received budget cuts. “We are in the process of prioritising funds in order to obtain maximum benefit from the available budget,” he said.

The spokesperson, however, would not specify how much would be allocated for the proposed upgrades at the New Harbour in Hermanus or the Gansbaai Harbour.

Hermanus Times reported previously that the New Harbour development could cost up to R23 million and the Gansbaai Harbour up to R25 million (“Multimillion facelift for harbours”, 10 September 2015). The Coega Development company, however, recently announced that the price tag of the redevelopment of 13 small harbours in the Western Cape will cost R400 million.

Last year, the Department of Public Works asked the community for their input and proposals for the New Harbour. One proposal sparked debate as it proposed to build a hotel, conference centre and shops in the form of a multi-deck sailing ship named after Malton, the British snow sailing vessel which sunk in Walker Bay in 1841 (Harbour proposal in ship shape”, Hermanus Times, 14 September 2017). Another proposal from the Overstrand Hope Spot was to incorporate educational facilities at the New Harbour.

But Manqina says all proposals will have to be resubmitted. He says the DPW is in the process of finalising the New Letting Out Framework.

“This will allow for a transparent method of letting out of properties within the harbours,” he said. “This framework will help to include local small to medium sized businesses and Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE).”

According the Manqina, the New Harbour upgrade will definitely have a tourism aspect to it.

“DPW will be conducting local imbizos across the country and all coastal committees to ensure relevant parties are kept abreast of the process moving forward,” he said.

He explained that the purpose of the new letting out framework is to ensure all properties receive a fair evaluation, to ensure nominal rentals don’t remain the status quo.

“DPW will advertise properties and companies will be allowed to bid,” Manqina said. “Companies with different turnovers will also be assessed differently to level the playing fields.”

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