The New Age business briefing

Remarks by the Premier of the Northern Cape, Ms Sylvia Lucas on the occasion of “The New Age” Business Briefing, held on 05 November 2013 at the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre

Programme Director, Mr Peter Ndoro
Eminent Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning to our viewers

This is the Northern Cape.  Home to real beauty, real adventure, real wild, real flora and fauna, real gems and, above all, real people.

We are greatly honoured to host the TNA breakfast show in our home province, the Northern Cape, to share with the nation the exciting investment opportunities that we have to offer.

The Northern Cape is the largest province in the country, which in contrast has the smallest population. The provincial government leadership and all other spheres of government have discharged their responsibilities diligently to contribute to the socio-economic well-being and prosperity of our province.

That which is key for us in the Northern Cape is our earnest desire to facilitate and enable trade and investment and to also improve localisation of specific value chains.  We have been continuously struggling with the extraction curse whereby resources are extracted with little or no local value add.

The ANC led government has since 1994, made substantial progress in consolidating democracy, achieving political stability, extending basic services and promoting respect for values, cultures and progressive traditions.

As the Northern Cape Provincial Government, we have contributed towards speeding up the provision of decent housing; water, sanitation, health facilities, educational institutions, electricity, infrastructure including roads and ablution facilities, and sustainable agriculture, amongst others

The province has experienced improved levels of access to basic services, in which it is indicated that 93,6% households in the province have access to basic levels of services. 79% of households have access to basic sanitation; 82% of households in the province have access to electricity, also, more than 90% of households have access to water inside their dwellings or in their yards;

Ladies and Gentlemen, like the remainder of the country, but more so the Northern Cape, we still face the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality. To address the structural crisis of the previous apartheid economy, broad measures are required to ensure more competitive, more productive and equitable practices in our economy, improving infrastructure and expanding our skills base, reducing unnecessary regulatory uncertainty and supporting the legitimate aims and aspirations of the genuine investor.

It for this reason, Ladies and Gentlemen, that, our President, Mr Jacob Zuma, made a commitment to advance socio-economic development in South Africa through fast-tracked critical infrastructure development, as guided by the National Growth Path. Subsequently the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission announced the 17 Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs), which shortly thereafter became 18.

This is a crucial initiative for the country as well as for the Northern Cape.  The province has been prioritized in the following SIPs:

  • SIP 3:  Hotazel to Coega railway upgrade and the related sinters and smelters.
  • SIP 5:  Sishen to Saldanha railway upgrade and the related mining and harbour investments.  There will also be a railway upgrade from Gamagara to Nqura.
  • SIP 8:  Renewable energy – The bulk of solar and substantial wind driven projects have been assigned to the Northern Cape and therefore extensive solar parks, electricity networks and related manufacturing opportunities are being earmarked for the province.

These projects will be responsible for creating a number of green jobs in the province and also contributing to the clean energy that will be put on to the electricity grid.

  • SIP 10:  Electricity transmission and distribution will see substantial projects leading into the Gamagara Mining Corridor and the solar corridor of the province.
  • SIP 14:  Deals with higher education and this SIP is of utmost importance for the province. The establishment of the new University will undoubtedly elevate our education system to new heights and optimally develop the intellectual capabilities of our youth and help our people to live happier and more fulfilling lives. In addition, the University will serve as a much needed local knowledge partner to advance research and innovation. We are also pleased that the first intake will start in 2014.
  • SIP 16:  SKA Meerkat: With the Northern Cape hosting the bulk of the physical infrastructure related to the project, it is of high priority for the province, our country and indeed our Mother Continent. The SKA is another major project which is located in our province that has the potential to attract investment opportunities and create job opportunities for our local people.

Other large-scale infrastructure Projects worthy of mention are:

  • The Development of the Port Nolloth Harbour.  Pursuant to the Northern Cape Transport Investors’ Conference, Transnet National Ports Authority undertook and are currently busy with the rehabilitation of Port Nolloth to the tune of R30 million and are in the process of developing a long term Port Development Framework Plan for the Port.
  • The Freight Logistics Hub in De Aar.  The proposed De Aar Logistics Hub is strategically poised to add value to emerging farmers and miners, industry, government and the economy at large.  We are also looking into the revitalisation of the railway network to contribute to the socio-economic development of the area.
  • The Aircargo Hub in Upington.  Although Upington International Airport is smaller than most airports, it delivers services to aviation that are unmatched anywhere else in Africa. The airport has three runways, the primary one measuring 4,900 metres (the longest civilian runway in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the few able to land a space shuttle).  We are also pleased to advise that the Airport won the Annual Service Quality Award for being the best regional Airport on the African Continent.
  • The Belmont-Douglas Rail Branchline.  This line carries freight generated by GWK, mainly wheat and maize.  The first phase of this project is completed.  Transnet Freight Rail are currently busy with the upgrade of phase 2 (Salt Lake to Belmont).
  • The Northern Cape Intra-provincial Air Travel Service.  The Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison was tasked to address the travel patterns of the NCPG departments and the EXCO, with the business, tourism sectors and general public as add-ons.  The Study concluded that it was feasible to put the service in place and that it would save the NCPG and anyone who makes use of the service, in excess of 70% of the current cost and time spent.  It is envisaged that the service will be implemented initially between Kimberley, Upington and Springbok and thereafter to other areas; if there is a demand.

The Northern Cape is exceptionally rich in minerals, and the economic benefits of these resources is not being maximised for the advancement of our people. It is fact that the state is not receiving an equitable share of returns. The mining houses must ensure that the extraction of the mineral resources benefit the people of this province and we want the communities around the mines to benefit from improved facilities and infrastructure and to have a secure future long after the mines themselves have ended production.

As the Northern Cape we would like to have more of the value chains localized and this is with specific reference to our mineral processing, manufacturing and agricultural production.

This is based on the extensive iron ore, manganese, lead zinc, diamond, lime and granite deposits found in the province.  Key BRICS countries are already active in the province and with neighbouring SADC countries.  These companies include Vedanta, Tata, Mittal and several Chinese companies.  The Provincial priority is to extend on these mining activities by having localised sintering and smelting and thereby complementing the extensive Indian and Chinese manufacturing value chains.  The potential synergies with Russia exist in terms of the diamond resources and energy sector synergies.

The potential of agriculture to contribute to job creation is well known in the province. A significant opportunity to provide employment and enhance food security lies in the agricultural sector. We need to empower previously disadvantaged households to become involved in agriculture and make sure that they gain access to arable land to sustain their livelihoods.

In essence, our objective is to guide the Province in terms of coordinating various role players and to promote sustainable economic growth, to facilitate development, enable focused Local Economic Development (LED) implementation, unlock latent economic development potential, encourage foreign and private sector investment and create economic development and job opportunities for the poor in our drive to alleviate poverty and improve the lives of the people of the Northern Cape.

Ladies and Gentlemen, in terms of sustainable human settlements and improved quality of household life; the province has rectified 1250 houses, built 15 971 houses and issued 14 320 title deeds.  The province is proud to announce that we handed over more than 200 houses in Lerato Park in Kimberley three weeks ago.  This formed phase One of the project and phase Two will commence shortly.

Our province offers you exciting investment opportunities in the mining, agricultural, tourism, eco-tourism and manufacturing sectors.

The Northern Cape is the gateway to Africa and would allow your investments and companies to make a distinct mark in unchartered terrain ahead of anticipated high volumes of trade in the continent. We have no doubt that indeed, together as a winning team we will take advantage of the great promise that the Northern Cape holds for all its people.

I thank you

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