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Harbour upgrades on track

National government’s plan to upgrade various small harbours is well underway as minister Patricia de Lille and her delegation saw this week.

De Lille, Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, and delegates from her department, local contractors and members of the media visited the Saldanha Harbour on Tuesday where upgrades are currently underway.

The provincial project is worth R500 million, and includes upgrading buildings, roads and retrieving sunken vessels at harbours.

Locally upgrades are being done in Saldanha, St Helena Bay, Pepper Bay as well as Laaiplek. Dredging is in the final stages at Lamberts Bay and St Helena Bay Harbours, respectively.

According to De Lille, upgrades at small harbours are key to unlocking local economic development.

“It is important for all involved to stick to the timeline. We want monthly updates and we want assurances in place. Projects like this is important for local economic development and to benefit the local community. We don’t want to hear in December 2021 the due date of March 2022 can not be met,” De Lille warned.

Three key products are currently underway in the Bay. Land infrastructure, which includes many old, dilapidated buildings within the harbour being upgraded. Many of the old buildings still have asbestos.

Secondly, electrical work is being done to ensure the harbour area is usable. The third project is the upgrade of the slipway.

When completed the new slipway will be able to accommodate vessels of up to 1 200 tons.

“This will mean vessels no longer have to travel all the way to Cape Town for repairs,” Mustakim Gierdien, project manager of the Small Harbour and State Coastal Property Development Unit, explained.

“This is an essential part of the upgrade and key to the functionality of the harbour.”

Work in Saldanha started in October. Around R96 million has been allocated to the upgrading projects in the Saldanha Bay Harbour and to date R6,6 million has been spent since the start of the project, the department of public works said.

Other harbours in the province currently being upgraded include Hout Bay, Kalk Bay and Hermanus.

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