The sky is the limit for the Western Cape’s Construction sector

Alan Winde MP

Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development & Tourism

The Western Cape’s construction sector has once again returned to growth. After experiencing a 0.6 per cent decline in jobs during the global recession, in 2010, jobs in the construction sector rose by 1.1 per cent. The sector is projected to continue its upward trajectory with growth rates of up to 5.2 per cent by 2015.

Speaking during a visit to the construction site of Cape Town’s soon-to-be tallest building, Portside Towers, Minister Winde said: “Construction was one of the hardest hit sectors during the global recession. Between December 2007 and February 2010, the construction industry lost a total of 1.9 million jobs in the United States alone. Our Province was not immune to the widespread loss of jobs experienced around the world. However, as a result of ambitious public sector capital spending and a strong private fixed investment drive by our government, our construction sector is well on its way to recovery.”

“In line with our philosophy of Better Together, we are investing the bulk of our infrastructure grants on projects that will inspire growth and jobs. The Western Cape receives R1.042 billion in infrastructure grants, which we split three ways: 46 per cent to roads, 41 per cent to education infrastructure and 13 per cent to health infrastructure. This means that investors in our Province have quality roads on which to transport their goods to market and a skilled, educated and healthy populace that is ready to take up work opportunities.”

“We are also making a concerted effort to support the entrance of new entrepreneurs into the construction sector. The Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works, under the leadership of Minister Robin Carlisle, runs a Youth in Construction programme. The programme has been allocated R9.7 million to roll-out targeted skills development opportunities for youth in the Western Cape. 270 youths have already been recruited through this programme and a further 320 will be recruited for training in the next financial year. We engage with the Construction Education and Training Authority on a regular basis to ascertain if more funds can be made available so that we can increase the number of opportunities we are able to provide to eager, hardworking youths”, Minister Winde added.

Portside will be the first significant high-rise in Cape Town since Safmarine House was built in 1993. The project is a joint development between Old Mutual and FirstRand, and will partly house the provincial headquarters of FirstRand Bank’s three divisions, FNB, Rand Merchant Bank and WesBank, with 25 000m² of corporate and retail space to be let by Old Mutual Property. Originally purchased by Old Mutual Properties 20 years ago, the 6 000m2 building site at the corner of Bree, Mechau, and Buitengracht Streets in Cape Town, designed by dhk and Louis Karol architects, will stand at 32 floors and hold 52 000 square metres of office space for 3 000 people.

“Our province is growing to accommodate more business activity and more jobs. In partnership with the private sector and the citizens of the Western Cape, we believe that if we create the right climate for business to flourish, the sky is the limit”.

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