The construction of the bulk civil and electrical infrastructure services in the Eastern Cape’s Somerset East industrial park is now complete. Today, the R28m worth of industrial park’s infrastructure services were officially handed to the MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT), Mr Mlungisi Mvoko.
Mvoko says the Department’s three-year funding commitment, made possible through the R1,1 billion Provincial Economic Stimulus Fund that focuses on priority sectors, follows several investments made by other government departments and entities in this park.
The funding has been used to develop the bulk services that include roads, stormwater, ducting, electrical, water, sewer reticulation and substation and fencing (3km).
The event comes days after an announcement by the Department that the revitalisation of the province’s six state-owned industrial parks is one of three high impact programmes for the 2022/23 financial year. The other two prioritised high impact programmes are township and rural economy, and climate change support to municipalities.
Mvoko explains that the state-owned industrial parks are critical for economic development, job creation and serve as hubs of economic activities across the Eastern Cape.
“These parks will play a pivotal role in integrating various regions into the economic mainstream. They need to be upgraded with world-class infrastructure and services to retain and attract current and future industrial investors in the province,” he says.
The milestone handover follows a nine-year wait from when the Blue Crane Route Local Municipality entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Cacadu Development Agency to develop the aerodrome precinct into a multi-purpose industrial park.
Professionals involved in the development of the bulk infrastructure at the Somerset East Park were BVI Engineers and Ikhona Techni.
This project phase created about 140 jobs and R5.4 million in opportunities for 27 local enterprises. It included those enterprises without experience to ensure they gain technical and general skills and experience in bulk civil and electrical infrastructure projects.
Development at each of the parks is at various stages. However, the first phase of the upgrades at Dimbaza, Komani, Vulindlela and Mthatha Industrial Parks have been completed.
At Dimbaza and Mthatha, work continues on the bulk infrastructure upgrades (Phase 2). The upgrades at the parks have resulted in 478 construction jobs and support to 24 local SMMEs thus far.
The Somerset Industrial Park is one of 15 projects funded by the Eastern Cape Government through the Provincial Economic Stimulus Fund.