The Saldanha Bay Municipality has set out a vision for the municipality to have a ‘Smart Future through Excellence’.
Executive Mayor Marius Koen adds under his leadership, “the municipality has been making sure the foundations and building blocks are being put in place to make this a reality.”
These were his words during a business breakfast at Blue Bay Lodge towards the end of last year, where he stressed the municipality’s focus on job creation and economic growth.
After the announcement by ArcelorMittal South Africa (Amsa) that the Saldanha plant is closing its doors, local, provincial and national stakeholders have worked together to “mitigate the impact of a possible closure of the plant,” Koen explained.
A task team of stakeholders has been set up to discuss how the impact of the closure can be minimised.
According to Koen, the task team is actively working on:. Supporting the Department of Trade and Industry in encouraging the corporate to consider other options for the plant.. Looking at measures to make sure the workers and businesses that may be affected by the closure have access to the necessary information and support, to help them adjust and transition quickly to new jobs or economic opportunities..Accelerating efforts to attract investors into the Saldanha Bay IDZ and into the wider municipality.
“On the latter, we are really pleased that the construction of the facility of a local investor, West Coast Corrosion Protection, has begun in earnest,” the Mayor pointed out.
“Based in White City in the town of Saldanha, the workshop will see West Coast Corrosion Protection (WCCP) nearly double its workforce, as it positions itself to growing its already established business, with the support of the SBIDZ and the SEZ Fund in the SEZ Programme.”
The company provides corrosion protection and support services.
This year, construction will also start on two more tenant buildings at the SBIDZ. Upgrades to the local road network over the last few years have also been part of a general upliftment in infrastructure.
According to Koen, the development of the SBIDZ is key to unlocking the indus-trialising potential of the West Coast, and Saldanha in particular. By the end of 2019, the SBIDZ had signed 11 lease agreements to an investment value of more than R3 billion. An investment pipeline of 60 investors continues to be explored, with a selection of key potential investments currently in active conversation. Businesses also had the opportunity to share some of their challenges with the Mayor.