GROUND has broken on SA’s latest four-star green building – the first of its kind in the Eastern Cape.
The modern three-storey office block is located within the Baywest City precinct in Port Elizabeth’s western suburbs, along the N2, and signals the greater roll-out of development at Baywest City following the opening of the project catalyst, the R1.7-billion Baywest Mall in May.
Phase One of the R6-billion Baywest City development includes 2 000 residential opportunities, office and commercial space, light industry, a private school and hospital, and a hotel.
The building, which is due to open towards the end of 2016, is the first green-rated commercial office block for the Eastern Cape. The only other green-rated projects in the province, classified as “public and education buildings” by the Green Building Council, include Grahamstown’s National English Literature Museum (5-star) and Port Elizabeth’s NMMU Business School (4-star).
According to Baywest City MD Gavin Blows, the green office block was the first of many more to come for the precinct. Developers are focused on positioning the development as eco-friendly, having set aside 20% of the 320ha Baywest City site for the protection of rare and indigenous fauna and flora.
“There is immense interest in developments of this calibre,” said Blows. “Port Elizabeth has nowhere else to grow but into the western suburbs, which is why Baywest City is ideally located for the future of the city.”
A landmark deal between Baywest and Vodacom has seen the installation of the country’s largest green-fields fibre-optic network, securing the Baywest City’s future as an interconnected “smart city”, said Blows. Baywest has laid the fibre-optic infrastructure, which Vodacom will use to supply high-speed data.
The new office block will boast a modern façade, with fluid, clean lines and off-shutter concrete. An aluminium façade will mimic the outline of the Port Elizabeth coastline, said architects.
Edward Brooks, director of architects on the project, Activate, said the demand for green-rated buildings had grown globally.
“These sorts of developments are generally more pleasant to work in, and tend to attract higher end tenants. Demand has grown among the high business user category,” said Brooks. “It might come with a greater capital outlay of between five and 20%, but one needs to look at the landscape of electricity scarcity and the energy savings the building will make over time.
The office block would boast a 40 kilowatt roof mounted solar photovoltaic system, a rainwater harvesting system, and highly insulated walls, roofing and flooring to maintain a moderate internal temperature in spite of fluctuating external temperatures.
The solar system would provide 15% of the building’s energy requirements, said Brooks. Also, as a requirement for the green rating, basement parking would give preference to bicycles, motorcycles and energy-efficient hybrid vehicles. An indigenous landscaped garden around the building would be maintained using the harvested rainwater, said Brooks.
Ann-Mari Malan from AGAMA Energy, a green building consultancy firm, said the sustainability aspects implemented in green building projects have a positive environmental and financial impact.
“Given the high energy costs and water scarcity in South Africa, implementing green building practices sends out a strong message about an organisation’s commitment to sustainability whilst promoting a positive image with stakeholders, customers and employees,” she said.
Blows said the building signalled the roll-out of the greater Baywest City. Similar green rated developments would also roll out in the precinct, he said.
Development on the project comes as Phase Two of the R300-million Baywest road network is about to wrap with a road linking Walker Drive with Cape Road, via a new bridge over the N2. The second phase of the road network will open next month, further unlocking economic growth potential in the western suburbs, said Blows
Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle says the province will focus on creating jobs and sustainable livelihoods in 2015.
“We have to do this against an economic outlook characterised by… an economy that records one of the highest unemployment rates in the country… We are rising to the task of creating sustainable jobs for our people,” he said during the State of the Province Address (SOPA) in Bisho on Friday.
The unemployment rate in the province currently stands at 30.8%, while youth unemployment stands at 50%.
Premier Masualle said a total of 24 737 jobs, against a target of 13 234, have been created through economic agencies such as the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC), East London Industrial Development Zone (ELIDZ), and the Coega Development Corporation (CDC).
The province is targeting 14 investments with the value of R2.237 billion in the two IDZs.
“As part of promoting the province as an investment destination of choice, we are developing an Investment Promotion Strategy aimed at creating an enabling environment for a vibrant economic growth in the province,” said the Premier.
In the 2015/16 financial year, the ECDC is expected to create 7 000 jobs opportunities, Coega 8 797 and ELIDZ 5 500.
Premier Masualle said in the coming year, jobs will be created in manufacturing, logistics, alternative energy, agro processing and services.
“In an effort to further enhance job creation, we will support 280 SMMEs and 70 cooperatives,” he said.
This will ensure active participation of previously disadvantaged sectors in the economy.
The province has in the past, through the Community Works Programme, created a total of 35 222 work opportunities. Similarly, through the EPWP, a total of 155 235 job opportunities were created against the planned 92 521.
Approximately 64% of the EPWP jobs benefited women, 39% benefited the youth and 1% benefited persons with disabilities. A total of 4 184 youths, out of a target of 3 678, have been trained through the Accelerated Professional & Trade Competency Development Programme and the National Rural Youth Service Corps.
Western Cape outlines 2015 plans
Meanwhile, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille also delivered the SOPA today.
She said the provincial government will invest nearly R90 million in the development of the Saldanha Industrial Development Zone in cooperation with national government.
“Currently, the oil and gas sector accounts for 35 000 formal jobs in the province. Looking at similar initiatives elsewhere in the world, we estimate that we could more than double this number by 2019 under a high growth scenario where the Saldanha IDZ becomes the key logistics hub of Africa for the Oil and Gas Services Industry,” she said.
However, to achieve this, two major challenges need to be overcome, including the Saldanha Bay IDZ requiring additional infrastructure to undertake rig repair at shore.
“Secondly, we lack the skills that the oil and gas sector requires. Currently, there are 1 700 artisans employed at the port and we will need 18 000 by 2019 to support accelerated growth in this sector,” Premier Zille said.
She also welcomed national government’s recently launched Operation Phakisa, with the first phase of the project focused on unlocking the economic potential of South Africa’s oceans.
Source: All Africa
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With its 800km of coastline, South Africa‘s Eastern Cape is set to become South Africa‘s leading hub of maritime economic activity.
The province is home to the two major port cities of Port Elizabeth and East London, both established industrial manufacturing coastal centres, giving the Eastern Cape several strategic competitive advantages, says Mfundo Piti, the economic infrastructure development manager of the Coega Development Corporation (CDC).
The South African government announced in October 2014 that it would be implementing ocean economy projects, which it expected to contribute more than R20-billion to the country’s gross domestic product by 2019.
These projects form part of the government’s National Development Plan, its economic blueprint that aims to promote economic growth and job creation.
South Africa’s oceans have the potential to contribute up to R177-billion to the GDP and create over one million jobs by 2033, two decades from now, the government said.
Unlocking the ocean economy – part of Operation Phakisa, which aims to fast track transformation – has four priority areas:
- marine transport and manufacturing;
- offshore oil and gas exploration:
- aquaculture; as well as
- marine protection services and ocean governance.
“A thriving maritime sector will shift the Eastern Cape into an era of prosperity,” Piti says. “The momentum displayed so far by the local private-state nexus shows a strong capacity and desire to further tap the potential of a sector that has largely shaped the history of these two cities.”
Ports have always been at the forefront of maritime economic organisation, catalysing economic growth through the trade of manufactured goods, commodities and raw materials. They have helped transform underdeveloped regions into important trade centres which, in turn, has created jobs.
“As both entry and exit points, the two ports have been critical in the past, present and future of the province and indeed the country,” Piti says.
Nelson Mandela Bay’s Port of Ngqura, a deep-water sea port is adjacent to the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) It is becoming the fastest growing terminal in the world, according to Drewry Maritime Research quoted by the CDC.
The South African government has partnered with South Korea to establish a national shipping company.
“World sea traffic passes by the Eastern Cape on the East-West pendulum trade routes, opening up major opportunities for ship-building and repairs in the region,” Piti says.
Ship building and repairs
During 2013, around 5 944 container ships, vessels and tankers were commissioned for construction by various countries. This represents an opportunity for the Eastern Cape to become a marine industrial centre for shipbuilding and repairs, Piti says.
While South Africa‘s ship-building industry holds international credibility through its shipyards in Cape Town and Richards Bay, the Eastern Cape’s “world-class industrial manufacturing economy will make the province an excellent contender for future shipbuilding activities in the oceans economy“, Piti maintains.
Nelson Mandela Bay and East London dominate South Africa’s automotive industry which means the province is already home to the necessary expertise, skilled labour, logistic services, Piti says.
“But there’s more that can be done,” he says. “The expertise of the industrial base should not only be extended for the ship-building industries but need to be extended further” – augmented by aeronautical components manufacturing, for example.
“Marine food resources are depleting at devastating rates,” Piti says. “Between 60 and 70% of the world’s fish species are exhausted. And, with one out of every five individuals on this planet relying on ocean food as sources of protein, we are on the brink of food security crisis.”
The CDC plans to establish a R2-billion aqua-farming facility at Coega. Marine animals and plants such as finfish, abalone and seaweed will be farmed on 300 hectares in the Coega IDZ, creating 5 000 jobs.
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth will be playing a critical role in knowledge generation for maritime and marine industries, Piti says. The university formalised ties with the UN-endorsed World Maritime University (WMU) in Sweden in 2013.
“NMMU is already making critical research contributions that will enhance the competitiveness of the region in environmentally sustainable ways. Several African countries attended NMMU’s African Maritime Domain Conference [in November 2013] to develop responsible governance policies,” Piti says.
Cruise vacations offers Eastern Cape Tourism many opportunities to promote the province, Piti maintains. “We – or tour operators – should consider further partnering with cruise line operators and ground handlers to build on the current tourism offerings. It is an opportunity that has not yet been fully maximised to increase the much needed tourism spend in the Eastern Cape.”
Demand for the ocean cruises increased by 77% over the past decade, Piti says. The majority of passengers are American, followed by travellers from Europe.
“Our province is one of the most diverse and spectacular tourism destinations in South Africa, including rich cultural diversity, Big Five game reserves, stunning landscapes and, of course, a beautiful coastline with blue-flag beaches.
“We are also home to one of the first-ever Big Seven game reserves – Addo Elephant National Park – which integrates the Big Five with marine life to include the Great White shark and Southern Right whale.”
Port Elizabeth is South Africa’s water sports capital, home to major water sports event – including the only international Ironman event on the African continent.
Source: All Africa
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