LBC march in Nelson Mandela Bay in support of Karpowership
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THE Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality Local Business Committee (LBC), a group claiming to have the support of more than 5 000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, marched to the Transnet offices in Coega to highlight its support of Karpowership power generation on Wednesday.
This comes after the group held a press conference last Friday and said they planned to march to the parastatal’s offices.
On Friday the LBC said it supported Karpowership’s plan for a gas-to-electricity ‘power ship’ to be moored in the Eastern Cape industrial port of Coega.
Speaking to Business Report, Maritime Business Chamber chairperson Unathi Sonti said the protest was to keep the promise they had made at their press briefing.
“We had seen reports of people saying they were not in support of Karpowership. We want to show that, as local business, we support the plans. There were reports that fishermen did not support it. We have fishermen showing in the march. We don't know who are the rented crowd who have been against the project,” Sonti said.
He said the LBC also wanted to remind Coega and Transnet that there must be a localisation strategy.
“When Coega was built, local people were promised that poverty would end, and that did not happen. Instead, they brought national companies, and the local people are still hungry,” he said.
Sonti said the localisation strategy should state that 40 percent of companies working for Coega should be local companies.
“We would like Coega to stop national projects that come with companies from outside the city ... and for the Coega Development Corporation to proactively implement a localisation (50km radius) strategy to benefit local businesses,” he said.
The group handed a memorandum of demands to Simlindile Manqina, who signed the memorandum on behalf of the Coega Development Corporation, and David Goliath, the acting port manager, who signed on behalf of Transnet.
In the memorandum, the group said the delays in the government’s emergency Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme have seriously hampered the delivery of the promised reliable electricity to citizens in the region. It said the project was supposed to have been finished in July.
“Community organisations across Nelson Mandela Bay fully believe in the legitimacy of the project, as it is a crucial driver towards attracting local investment in local communities and fostering much-needed economic change in light of this,” the LBC said.
Karpowership is a company based in Turkey that owns, operates and built the first powership fleet in the world. A powership is a floating power plant that generates electricity.
Karpowership SA will need further approvals before it can connect to the grid.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE