Reality far from last year’s promises

FROM eradicating mud schools in the Transkei and investing millions of rands in green energy in Kouga to building bus lanes in Nelson Mandela Bay, President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address last year was packed with ambitious plans to change the landscape of the Eastern Cape. As Zuma opens parliament tonight, for the last time in this term of office, reporters MKHULULI NDAMASE and ROCHELLE DE KOCK look at whether his promises last year were actually fulfilled.

Zuma last year: “In the Eastern Cape, I officially opened the Port of Ngqura and construction is now under way to develop a major new transhipment hub.”

Massive developments at the Port of Ngqura over the past year are fast strengthening Nelson Mandela Bay’s chances of becoming the transshipment hub of Africa. Not only did the harbour invest R140-million in an automated mooring system to stabilise massive container ships in gale-force winds, but it also started expanding the terminal from a two-berth to a three-berth operation.

This will increase the terminal’s capacity and enable it to improve efficiencies, with faster turnaround time and reduce berth occupancy.

This project was a massive boost to the Bay’s local economy, creating 150 full-time jobs across operations and technical departments. Ngqura is widely regarded as one of the harbours with the fastest growing container terminal in the world.

 Zuma last year: “Construction work is taking place in five cities – Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay, Rustenburg, eThekwini, Tshwane – to integrate the different modes of transport – bus, taxi and train”.

Nelson Mandela Bay’s Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS) is in a mess. From the outset, the multibillion-rand project has been marred by several disruptions – from rows between the municipality and the taxi industry, to uncertainty about whether or not the city would secure funding from National Treasury to bankroll the project.

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