Investments bonanza on cards for Kouga

ON TRACK: Kouga mayor Horatio Hendricks says his council has approved a R1.5bn investment deal and others are being negotiated
ON TRACK: Kouga mayor Horatio Hendricks says his council has approved a R1.5bn investment deal and others are being negotiated

Kouga mayor Horatio Hendricks has announced that billions of rand worth of investments will be pouring into the region in the coming months.

Hendricks was speaking at the state of the municipality address held at the Newton Hall in Jeffreys Bay yesterday.

While he did not delve into the detail, Hendricks said the council had approved a R1.5bn investment deal and an additional R3bn deal was still being negotiated with investors.

“Big potential investors have further started approaching Kouga, excited by the improvements they have seen in the region, and eager to play a role growing our economy and opening up job opportunities.

“There are Taiwanese investors interested in investing in property and we’re meeting with them in March.

“For that meeting we’ve also set up local investors to join in.

“There’s a R1.5bn renewable energy project that is also coming to the municipality following a council resolution.

“This project will create 1,000 jobs.

“Ithuba USA is also interested in a R3bn petrol refinery in the region and there’s a another shipment company that’s looking into the possibility of an agri-park.

“Some of the projects have been confirmed and others are talks, but at this stage this is all I can say,” Hendricks said.

During his address, Hendricks said Kouga was reviewing its local economic development strategy, which would include training and supporting local SMMEs.

“The strategy also takes into account key sectors such as tourism and agriculture, and sets out how the municipality can facilitate growth of these industries.

“We are also appointing a service provider to develop a precinct plan for the Jeffreys Bay central business district.

“The CBD has been identified as a strategic investment node in the municipality’s LED strategy and spatial development framework, the latter which is also under review,” he said.

Speaking on some of the backlogs the municipality was dealing with, he said it had a R500m roads backlog and one of the strategies they had developed was using plastic.

Kouga officially launched Africa’s first eco-friendly road which incorporated the use of waste plastic in Jeffreys Bay.

With the interest received, Hendricks said, this would pave the way for the opening of a plant in Kouga to recycle plastic and manufacture pellets used to replace a portion of the bitumen in the tar mix.

Hendricks said Kouga was making full use of R151m drought disaster funding to achieve water security.

“The level of the Kouga Dam, which supplies Hankey and Patensie, has dropped below 18%.

“The level of the Impofu Dam, the biggest dam serving Jeffreys Bay, Humansdorp and St Francis Bay, stood at only 16.66% on Monday and the smaller Churchill Dam at 82.05%," he said.

Hendricks said boreholes were being sunk at several locations in Kouga and upgrades to treatment works were also under way.

“Ongoing interventions to improve water conservation and demand management include leak repairs, with a recent highlight being the installation of a new pipe bridge at Impala Street in Jeffreys Bay.”

He announced that Kouga had passed its first billion-rand budget for the 2019/2020 adjustments budget last week.

“We have further been able to clear the R28m debt we inherited from the previous council, monies owed to the department of employment & labour and transport.

“Our Eskom account is finally up to date, opening the door for us to buy electricity directly from independent power producers, as announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his state of the nation address,” Hendricks said.