New IDZ to ben­e­fit West Coast res­i­dents, busi­ness

Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma will launch the Sal­danha Bay In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Zone next week, writes Anna-Marie Smith

Business Day - Home Front - - HOME FRONT -

THE econ­omy of the West Coast re­gion stands to ben­e­fit from for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment worth about R9.3bn into the area over the next 25 years with the open­ing of the Sal­danha Bay In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Zone (IDZ). It is cru­cial to the gov­ern­ment’s plans for the Western Cape to be­come the oil and gas hub for Africa, while al­le­vi­at­ing poverty in the re­gion.

The long-awaited Sal­danha Bay IDZ op­er­a­tor per­mit is key to an es­ti­mated con­tri­bu­tion of 86% to the re­gion’s gross ge­o­graphic prod­uct. Job cre­ation as part of long-term eco­nomic growth has been on the cards since 2010 at pro­vin­cial as well as mu­nic­i­pal lev­els. Lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties are set to ben­e­fit from an es­ti­mated 12,000 di­rect, in­di­rect and in­duced jobs.

Trade and In­dus­try Min­is­ter Rob Davies said ear­lier this month that an IDZ fea­si­bil­ity study re­vealed Sal­danha Bay’s strate­gic lo­ca­tion as ideal for ser­vic­ing Africa’s sub­stan­tial oil and gas sec­tor. Davies said high vol­umes of ma­rine traf­fic along the Cape West Coast, which is re­sult­ing in more oil rigs re­quir­ing main­te­nance, bodes well for greater tech­ni­cal and ar­ti­san em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in the area.

In­creased eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity re­lated to IDZ op­er­a­tions also ties in with the West Coast Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s In­te­grated De­vel­op­ment Plan 2010-2014. This re­port iden­ti­fied Sal­danha Bay and Vre­den­burg as ur­ban growth ar­eas with high de­vel­op­ment po­ten­tial along the West Coast trans­port cor­ri­dor, which in­cludes Malmes­bury and St He­lena Bay.

Res­i­dents of coastal towns close to the port of Sal­danha, 140km from Cape Town, have tra­di­tion­ally been em­ployed in the fish­ing, agri­cul­tural and tourism in­dus­tries. How­ever, up­skilling pro­grammes and ar­ti­san train­ing in the in­dus­trial sec­tor are set to in­crease sus­tain­able em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for com­mu­ni­ties.

The town of Vre­den­burg is 12km from Sal­danha Bay and is re­garded as the busi­ness cen­tre of the West Coast, and a spring­board to neigh­bour­ing coastal towns. This cen­tral busi­ness dis­trict is lo­cated along the N7, which is also the trans­port cor­ri­dor to Namibia. Dif­fer­ent seg­ments of the prop­erty mar­ket in this area are see­ing vary­ing de­grees of growth. Res­i­dents and em­ploy­ees en­joy easy ac­cess to re­tail fa­cil­i­ties at the West Coast Mall, while busi­ness as well as light in­dus­trial and sec­tional ti­tle de­vel­op­ments are lo­cated at the West Coast Busi­ness Park and sur­round­ing ar­eas.

Chas Everitt West Coast prin­ci­pal Kobus Pot­gi­eter says: “The prop­erty mar­ket in this re­gion is cur­rently in the ear­li­est stages of in­creased ac­tiv­ity, as a re­sult of the Sal­danha Bay IDZ.” He says dif­fer­ent seg­ments of the prop­erty mar­ket, in par­tic­u­lar those re­lated to the in­dus­trial sec­tor, are see­ing in­creased growth. This fol­lows a sim­i­lar mar­ket pat­tern to when Sal­danha Steel came to the re­gion, with im­pact of real busi­ness ac­tiv­ity only seen 12 months later.

How­ever, al­though a dis­tressed mar­ket since 2008 has re­sulted in large pock­ets of un­de­vel­oped land, the re­gion is see­ing de­mand for good rental prop­erty across dif­fer­ent in­come groups.

He says the house rentals most in de­mand in Vre­den­burg and Sal­danha Bay cater for mid­dle in­come as well as blue col­lar em­ploy­ees. Rental prop­er­ties from R3,500 to R4,500/month for two- and three-bed­room houses with sin­gle garages are built on plots mea­sur­ing up to 120m².

Pot­gi­eter says: “In­creased de­mand for rentals in this sec­tor is re­sult­ing in new de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, in par­tic­u­lar such as apart­ment blocks in cen­trally lo­cated ar­eas, to cater for the needs of em­ploy­ees in in­dus­trial and busi­ness nodes.”

Se­nior com­pany man­agers and ex­ec­u­tives of large na­tional and in­ter­na­tional busi­nesses, who com­mute to Sal­danha Bay, con­tinue to favour up­mar­ket houses along the coast­line in Ja­cob­s­baai and Lange­baan, about 30km away. Pot­gi­eter says this area also of­fers ac­cess to three pri­vate schools close to most West Coast towns. Curro Schools will shortly be in­tro­duc­ing a board­ing school at its West Coast fa­cil­i­ties.

Re­cent res­i­den­tial prop­erty de­vel­op­ment has also been seen around Club Mykonos, where large an­chor ten­ants at a mixed use de­vel­op­ment at­tract res­i­dents at pri­vate es­tates, such as Blue Bay and Ca­lypso Beach.

Pri­vate de­vel­oper Kobus Coet­zee of Lange­meer Prop­erty De­vel­op­ers says greater de­mand is seen for new up­mar­ket res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties in se­cure sur­round­ings, where buy­ers of both hol­i­day and per­ma­nent hous­ing are pur­chas­ing homes in the up­per mil­lions. All 30 units at He­lios Place, com­pleted ear­lier this year, rang­ing in price from R900,000 to R1.2m, sold out in a short pe­riod.

Pic­ture: EYEON-NEW­ME­DIA

Sal­danha Bay’s lo­ca­tion is ideal for ser­vic­ing Africa’s sub­stan­tial oil and gas sec­tors.

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