Category: Economic Development

MOU between Garden Route DM and George Airport to boost the economy

28 September 2018 – Garden Route District Municipality (Garden Route DM) and George Airport signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signifying a commitment to enhance connectivity between national gateways, cities and surrounding areas through a 3-phase collaborative project.

After signing the MOU, Mr Charles Shilowa, Airports Company South Africa’s (ACSA) Group Executive  Business Development, said: “A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. There have been ongoing discussions between the ACSA team and Garden Route DM about access to the George Airport, which serves as a gateway to this district. The Airport is strategically positioned for economic activity, and this is one of the reasons why a partnership between ACSA and Garden Route DM – will ensure that the aspirations stimulating economic growth in the region are realised. This will be achieved as we continue to work together”.

The first phase commenced when the MOU was signed by (fltr), ACSA Group Executive: Business Development, Mr Charles Shilowa; Garden Route DM Municipal Manager, Mr Monde Stratu; George Airport Manager, Ms Brenda Vorster and Garden Route DM Executive Mayor, Cllr Memory Booysen.

The three phases will involve the following:

Phase 1

  • Scoping of key new or existing air routes on a regional, national and intercontinental level, which will see trade and tourism enhanced; and
  • A project team will be appointed to compile a list of business cases that focus on target markets and prospective markets that could be reached by a non-stop air service.

Phase 2

  • The analysis of potential markets;
  • The identification of potential airline partners;
  • Research and development for the airlift strategy;
  • A 3-year implementation plan for the establishment of new routes linking the Western Cape to other provinces and contents; and
  • The establishment of the Steering and Project Committees through the nomination of representatives by all stakeholders.

Phase 3

  • The implementation of the identified route opportunities;
  • The development of incentive schemes for the latter; and
  • The possibility of involving more direct private sector participation in the project.

Mr Monde Stratu, Garden Route DM Municipal Manager, also hinted at ACSA’s leadership to think about how the renaming of George Airport to Garden Route International Airport would affect the region. “When selling and marketing the region as a tourism destination and investment hub, it makes sense to speak from the same book,” said Stratu. He also made it clear that there is no obligation on any business to change their name, but that “there is every reason, for if you think about it, in marketing and strategy, to align oneself to this new name”.

ACSA owns and manages 9 airports, three national and 6 regional airports. George Airport currently forms part of the 6 regional airports. Airports Council International last year, awarded the George Airport with “Service” and “Safety” awards. This was done after comparing the airport to the rest of the African continent. This means that the George Airport is considered as one of the best regional airports in Africa.

Garden Route District Municipality attracts investment of R1-billion

Since the first Garden Route Investment Conference was held on 7 and 8 March 2018, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), has been in various promising engagements with domestic and foreign investors. First of many negotiations has already secured an R1-billion investment in Garden Route, accompanied by 3000 jobs over the next five years. This follows after the GRDM Council entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Ikusasa Processing Engineering Consultants (Pty) Ltd on 28 August 2018. A report to the GRDM Council unpacked the conditions relating to a long-term lease of one of GRDM’s properties next to PetroSA to Ikusasa who will erect a Chemical Plant that will support the timber, water and textile sectors. Currently, in its design phase, the project will be implemented after a few weeks. It is envisaged that the factory will be fully operational by the end of 2019.

Sod-turning symbolising the birth of an initiative which will bring a positive change to the Garden Route. Pictured, FLTR: Mr Khakhaza Mhlauli ( CEO – Ikusasa Process Engineering Consultants, Ikusasa Chemicals, Ikusasa Water), Cllr Memory Booysen (GRDM Executive Mayor), Cllr Rosina Ruiters (GRDM Deputy Executive Mayor) and Mr Monde Stratu (GRDM Municipal Manager).

A Sod-Turning Ceremony was held on 28 September 2018 at the property. During the ceremony, Cllr Memory Booysen, GRDM Executive Mayor explained: “GRDM is in partnership with Mossel Bay Local Municipality and by working together, we are going to use the law to fast-track the process. We have seen other economic developments in Kouga, Richard’s Bay, Saldanha – now is the time for development to happen here”.

Mayor Booysen also talked about the regional landfill site which will soon be constructed in the same piece of land. He mentioned that these developmentswould benefit mostly people around the area.

The key stakeholders invited to witness this ceremony included Mossel Bay Municipality, PetroSA,  the Mossel Bay Port and Private Sector Partners and they will all play a pivotal role in the success of the project.

Key Stakeholders at the Sod-Turning Ceremony: Mr Lee Norman (Ikusasa Chairman), Mr Andrew Theunissen (Director – Ikusasa Process Engineering Consultants, Ikusasa Chemicals, Ikusasa Water), Cllr Memory Booysen (GRDM Executive Mayor), Cllr Harry Levendal (Mossel Bay Executive Mayor) and Mr Shadrack Tshikalange (Transnet Mossel Bay Port Manager)

With the site being positioned next to PetroSA, it will have many advantages. A close working relationship and the supply of products which are specific to PetroSA will be developed. Exports and imports via the Transnet Mossel Bay Port, less than 10km from the site, will have a positive effect on the economy and jobs. The N2 is also strategically connecting the site to other parts of the region. As this project grows, it could see Mossel Bay recognised as a special economic zone that will become an industrial hub of the Western Cape and South Africa.

According to Mr Nicholas Rankumar ( Director – Ikusasa Process Engineering Consultants), the “long-term vision for Ikusasa is to expand and scale the chemical plant into a world-class production facility”. He also said that there is “great potential to develop the Mossel Bay area into an export-hub.”

Cllr Harry Levendal, Mossel Bay Municipality’s Executive Mayor, welcomed the development and said: “This is a first of big thing that will happen in Mossel Bay. If you believe that something will happen and you go for it – it will happen. We cannot sit and wait for things to happen. I am thankful for Garden Route DM for their efforts to attract investment to the area”.

The group of dignitaries who witnessed the Sod-Turning Ceremony. Stakeholders include GRDM, Mossel Bay Municipality, Ikusasa, Transnet Mossel Bay Port and PetroSA.