Chairperson, the announcement by Transnet that it will invest R9,6 billion in the development of the port infrastructure at Saldanha Bay, which will allow it to accommodate more and larger oil rigs in the future to be serviced, is a positive development. Transnet's willingness to get the private sector involved augurs well for the future of this area.
An estimated 120 oil rigs pass our coast annually, but because of our inability to service them, they go past us to Asia, the Middle East and Europe. This initiative will ensure that we are no longer bypassed and the guidance by the Department of Trade and Industry to promote this as a service hub is good news.
This is an opportunity for local investors and they should not miss the boat. If they do, foreign operators will seize the opportunity. One negative aspect for the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone's, IDZ, growth is the environmental issue of red dust from iron ore exports polluting the area. We hope that the Ministers of Environmental Affairs and Trade and Industry will make it their business to have an agreement in place requiring the mines to wash and treat the iron ore to prevent the dust pollution as soon as possible.
The ANC supports this project as an important job creation initiative, and all departments must work together to guarantee its success.