MoU heralds a new dawn for uMhlathuze

05 JULY 2018

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on Thursday, 5 July 2018, between the uMhlathuze Municipality, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ), establishing a framework for the parties to engage effectively with one another on strategic issues of mutual significance.

The MoU will remain in place for a period of five years. Its aim is to encourage interactive and long-term oriented planning to promote economic growth and development in the City of Umhlathuze for the overall benefit of the people of the city.

Deputy Mayor of the City of uMhlathuze, Councillor Dudu Sibiya, said: “This high level of cooperation emanated from engagements we have had with Transnet as well as the Richards Bay IDZ with the sole objective to facilitate all economic and investment opportunities that will give rise to business and job opportunities, thus resulting in changing our people’s lives for the better. We are looking forward to executing this agreement and to more engagements at various levels as we forge ahead with the government mission to develop the socio-economic lives of our communities.”

Issues to be covered under the MOU include transportation planning, traffic management, tourism, environmental management, financing, safety and security and essential services provision, among others.

Chief Executive of Transnet SOC Ltd, Siyabonga Gama, said the vision of Operation Phakisa would propel the country to leverage its marine heritage through beneficiation, oil and gas industries, fishing and equipment manufacturing - to name but a few activities.

“Through various mechanisms outlined in today’s MoU, we can begin to address some binding constraints and to unlock the potential of the local economy – with the commensurate projected growth in our GDP and job creation along our coastal cities and towns. We can do so through an inclusive process involving both the public and private sector.”

He added: “With the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone, we can work closely to attract local and foreign investors who will beneficiate our country’s raw materials. This will aid in diversifying the port’s service offering to the market beyond its current core capability of handling and shipping of mining commodities. Our country will then be able to better market our services to the global community.”

Chief Executive of TNPA, Shulami Qalinge, said Transnet’s planned R7.5 billion investments in Richards Bay over the five year period from 2018 to 2022 would open up significant opportunities for for the three parties to work together.

“Transnet will be investing R145.4 billion over the next five years nationally into existing port, rail and pipeline operations in order to sustain existing freight transportation capacity and create new capacity ahead of demand to facilitate growth in the South African economy. Of this total infrastructure investment, R18.9 billion is allocated to KZN, of which R7.5 billion is for projects in Richards Bay,” said Qalinge.

Transnet has budgeted for a total of forty-five projects in Richards Bay over the next five years. These include the Richards Bay expansion project, the conversion of Berth 702, the Bayview rail yard expansion, improvements to the export coal line transporting coal from Mpumalanga to the Port of Richards Bay, as well as Permanent Way maintenance.

“Our mandate is to use these projects as opportunities to drive economic and social transformation, supporting government policies and initiatives contained in the Competitive Supplier Development Programme and the New Growth Path strategy,” she said.