Port is no threat to houses: ministerComment on this story
No houses are earmarked for demolition with the development of a dig-out port south of Durban, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Thursday.
He said the surrounding community's concerns about their houses being demolished were misplaced.
“We will consult with communities meaningfully and genuinely. We hope they will be interested in listening to us,” he said.
Gigaba was briefing reporters in Durban after the Airports Company SA handed the old Durban International Airport site to Transnet for the development.
Gigaba said that on Wednesday he met with some residents who would be affected positively and negatively by the proposed dig-out port.
He said they had voiced displeasure at the manner in which consultations had taken place.
The groups were concerned about the environmental effects, truck congestion and prostitution.
Gigaba said their concerns would be addressed in a formal process in January.
The proposed R75 billion project will be funded by the private sector.
It is not catered for in Transnet's R300bn, seven-year capital investment programme to rejuvenate and expand its ports, rail and pipeline infrastructure.
“We are hoping the private sector comes to the party. We have detected a great interest from the private sector,” Gigaba said.
He said in the long term, the existing Durban port would not be able to deal with the increasing volumes of trade.
“South Africa has ambitious plans. Economically, you need ambitious capacity for the future,” Gigaba said.
He said this was a long term project which would be developed over a period of 30 to 45 years.
Gigaba said the project was about the future of South Africa.
It was expected to create 64,000 jobs during construction and 28,000 permanent jobs when it was operational.
“Today represents the start of an exciting chapter in South Africa's infrastructure development programme and the critical role state-owned companies, especially those the department of public enterprises, are playing in transforming our economy,” he said.
The proposed dig-out port will be built in four phases, with the first phases scheduled to start in 2016 and to be commissioned by 2020. - Sapa