The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber has said they were encouraged by the focus on the Eastern Cape in the State of the Nation address given by President Jacob Zuma yesterday evening.
“We agree that it is only through a solid and sustained engagement between government, business and civil society that unemployment and poverty can be effectively tackled,” said chief executive, Kevin Hustler.
Hustler said Infrastructure development lead to job creation in both the short and medium term, which could only have a positive impact on increasing the global competitiveness of South Africa and encourage investment into the country.
“It is clear that the President listened to the concerns raised by the automotive industry during his visit to the region. The promised reduction in port charges will go a long way to increasing our global competitiveness,” said Hustler.
“We appreciate too the President’s declaration that he has engaged Eskom on tariff increases – the ongoing tariff increases are a serious concern for business and impacts on our global competitiveness and our positioning as a viable investment destination,” he said.
Hustler said that integral to the mandate of the Business Chamber was support for the improvement of existing infrastructure, and the optimization of logistics corridors already in place to effectively contribute to our region’s social and economic development.
“We welcome the country’s aims to support further industrial and agricultural development in our region, as well as focus on increasing the export capacity of the Eastern Cape, supported by the reduction in port charges in the coming year.
“Investment in Port and Rail infrastructure, the movement of the manganese ore facilities to Coega, and the improvement of the Northern Rail corridor ensure physical linkages with the Eastern Cape, and only serve to enhance our position as the transshipment hub of Sub-Saharan Africa,” he said.