The N2 Wild Coast Road project, connecting four provinces, will stimulate economic activity, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.
- The N2 Wild Coast Road project will
generate 8 000 full-time jobs and as much as 28 000 indirect jobs, during
construction, according to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
- Ongoing maintenance work will
result in another 900 direct, full-time jobs and around 19 000 indirect
- The president implored communities
to support the project amid reports some are opposed to it.
The development of
the N2 Wild Coast Road project by the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) could
create thousands of jobs, according to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The president was speaking
at an event at the Msikaba Bridge site in the Eastern Cape on Thursday, which
is part of the project.
The N2 Wild Coast
Road Project connects four provinces – the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal
The Msikaba Bridge is
one of two mega bridges being constructed. The other, Mtentu, is 64km from it.
Once Mtentu was
completed, it would be one of the highest bridges in Africa and among the
longest in the world, Sanral said in a statement.
construction is expected to be completed in 2023.
The project would not
only spur economic activity, but community development, service delivery and
job creation, Ramaphosa said.
“Work on the N2
Wild Coast project will lead to the creation of 8 000 direct full-time jobs and
between 21 000 and 28 000 indirect jobs during the construction phase.”
This is effectively a
wage bill of R750 billion.
Both skilled and
semi-skilled people have already been employed on the project, he added.
“Once the road
is completed, ongoing maintenance work is anticipated to create another 900
direct, full-time jobs and around 19 000 indirect jobs,” Ramaphosa said.
South Africa’s official unemployment rate stands
at 34.4%, or about 7.8 million jobless people.
approximately R4 billion will be spent on enterprises during its construction,
ensuring the investment on the project is ploughed back to communities. So far,
R120 million has gone to local small, medium and micro enterprises.
He added the highway
would address mobility challenges for people in rural communities in the Eastern
Cape, reduce travelling distances and time, would be safer and would benefit
tourism, both inside and outside the province.
It will also allow
the transportation of goods and services to the entire southern African region.
But the project has
not been welcomed by all communities.
reported some residents were concerned the road would disturb their way of
life, essentially splitting the community in half and pollute the environment.
Ramaphosa said there
was a N2 Wild Coast Region Biodiversity Offset Programme, which is part of the
project, which sought to expand two nature reserves – Silaka and Mkhambathi.
The project also
includes the creation of new protected areas in the Pondoland Centre of Floral
Endemism of approximately 20 000 hectares.
He added the project
had been challenged.
For example, construction
at the Mtentu Bridge site was halted because communities raised concerns that
they were not properly included in the development.
The story is
different at Msikaba, where 62% of the total workforce at the site are locals.
“It is my hope
that Sanral continues with this proactive engagement with communities around
the Mtentu project development,” Ramaphosa said.
have a rightful expectation that when their areas are the sites of large-scale
economic projects, whether it is road construction or mining, that they should
benefit from them.”
He, however, implored
communities to co-operate with the government when such projects were planned
intimidation or violence to secure a share of benefits from the project is
counter-productive, and it has far-reaching impacts. When there are stoppages
it doesn’t just cost the contractors, it costs the entire country.”
communities would benefit from the project – women and youth were among those
who have been employed through the project.
The project supported
entrepreneurs and other small businesses, he added.
The president called
on communities to support it.
“It will only
succeed if we all work together as government, communities and Sanral.”