Unlocking economic potential in Overberg region

THE R277 MILLION Gansbaai to Bredasdorp road has been opened by the Minister of Transport and Public Works in the Western Cape, Donald Grant. At the opening he said, “I am honoured to be here today, during October Transport Month, to celebrate the completion of the upgraded Gansbaai to Bredasdorp road. This project, and many like it, will serve as a constant reminder of our ongoing commitment to delivering key infrastructure to all regions in the Western Cape, thereby triggering the realization of the area’s economic potential.

“This project is a R277 million project that spanned a construction period of 32 months. At the end of the project consisting of three phases, we have a total of 62.6kms of high quality, surfaced road connecting the community of Gansbaai to Bredasdorp and surrounds.”

The project consisted of the construction of a new and wider surfaced road to replace the old gravel road that existed before. The project also consisted of:
• The upgrading of the stormwater system,
• The upgrading of the historic towns of Elim and Baardskedersbosch,
• The construction of a new bridge over Uilenkraals,
• The construction of two low water causeways

Grant adds, “With benefits imminent for the community in the future, there were certainly benefits during the project, with many of our empowerment targets met and surpassed.

“Of the total contract value, 10.11% (R18.9 million) was dedicated to local labour, with an additional R23.1 million (12.4%) earmarked for HDI enterprises. Ensuring local community benefit is a defining characteristic for all projects undertaken by the Department of Transport and Public Works. This is in line with our mission to deliver infrastructure and services that promote socio-economic outcomes and safe, empowered, and connected communities.”

Elim has become known for the export of fynbos, and as an emerging area in the production of wine. Both industries will benefit greatly from this upgraded road and improved infrastructure.

Economic indicators have shown that the Overberg economy had previously experienced a sharp drop from 7.6 per cent in 2008 to 0.8 per cent in 2009. It rebounded later to 5.2 per cent in 2011 but tapered off again to 2.1 per cent in 2013. The Overberg economy averaged at around 2.9 per cent in 2014, and is expected to grow further this year. This road will undoubtedly help in kick-starting the economy of the region, and see various industries flourish in the near future.

Grant says, “We will continue to do our part to plan, construct, rehabilitate and maintain the provincial road network, as a valued and strategic asset of this government. Our R2.77 billion budgetary allocation for road construction and maintenance in this financial year alone, 2015/2016, is testament to how much value we place on this crucial asset.

“With the project having now been completed, I am sure that many residents and businesses in the area will look forward to the many benefits that will come their way. I should like to thank the project team and contractors for their dedication and commitment to service delivery excellence, as well as our partners who have also worked tirelessly to ensure the project is a success. We cannot stress enough the importance of roads in this region and in South Africa in general. The obvious benefits drive our continued investment in road planning, construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance.

“My department will continue to dedicate resources to constructing, refurbishing, and maintaining roads that change the lives of many for the better. This is a commitment we dare not shy away from.”