In a bid to promote economic development and address community concerns, the Provincial MEC of Infrastructure, Tertuis Simmers, embarked on a visit to the West Coast district as part of the Ministerial District Municipality Outreach Program. The visit aimed to engage with communities, present infrastructure investment plans, and highlight the positive impact of these projects on the region’s economy.
The visit to the West Coast district commenced in Lutzville with a scheduled meeting to address the community’s concerns over the housing database waiting list and other related issues. Unfortunately, the meeting was disrupted by an unruly group of individuals and community leaders, depriving fellow residents of an opportunity to engage constructively with the government. MEC Simmers expressed his disappointment and highlighted the importance of such engagements for sharing critical information, including human settlements subsidies and more.
On the following day, the MEC and his executive team engaged with the West Coast District Municipality Mayoral Committee members to present the region’s infrastructure investment plan for the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). A substantial budget of R2.25 billion has been allocated to the West Coast District Municipality for a total of 96 multi-year projects across various sectors. These projects are either currently underway or in the planning phase, emphasizing the government’s commitment to boost regional development.
To showcase the tangible impact of these investments, the MEC visited two fast-tracked projects on the third day. First, they inspected the repairs made to the R303 in Citrusdal, which had been severely damaged by recent flooding. Remarkably, the road was reopened to traffic within a mere 10 days after the disaster. This speedy response underscores the efficiency and capability of the Department in delivering essential services.
The next stop was the Middelpos Primary School, where significant progress had been made since the MEC’s previous visit. With the improvements made, the school is now able to accommodate over 1800 learners, ensuring a conducive learning environment for the young minds of the community.
The climax of the visit was the official launch of the Saldanha Bay IDZ (Industrial Development Zone) road, a vital infrastructure project with a budget of R24 million. The construction of this road commenced in September 2022, and its early completion was celebrated during the visit. The Saldanha Bay IDZ road is expected to play a pivotal role in stimulating economic growth in the region, enabling better transportation of goods and services, and attracting businesses to the area.
Simultaneously, a sod-turning ceremony was held to mark the commencement of the Malmesbury Bypass project. This ambitious venture, budgeted at R529 million, aims to create around 220 job opportunities and foster 37 small, medium, and micro enterprises in the region. The 7km road project is expected to be completed by the end of 2025, further fueling economic growth and development in the West Coast district.
Reflecting on the three-day visit, MEC Simmers expressed satisfaction with the outcomes. He lauded the completion of existing projects and the initiation of new ones, emphasizing the multitude of job and economic opportunities these ventures will generate over the next three years. Such investments in infrastructure play a pivotal role in restoring hope and dignity to the people of the West Coast region.
MEC Simmers attributed the successful implementation of these projects to the exceptional partnerships between various levels of government and the private sector. Cross-sector collaborations have played a critical role in fostering economic growth in the Western Cape and ensuring the efficient execution of infrastructure projects.
In conclusion, the visit to the West Coast district exemplified the significance of investing in infrastructure as a catalyst for economic development. The impressive array of ongoing and planned projects showcased the government’s commitment to boosting the region’s economy and improving the quality of life for its residents.