NELSON Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor Nqaba Bhanga has challenged the Eastern Cape to learn from developing provinces to unite and work together to develop the “Home of the Legends” and create sustainable economic opportunities for its people.
Bhanga said this at a mayoral breakfast engagement session, where he hosted various strategic stakeholders to welcome the Transnet National Port Authority team who will be relocating to the city as part of the entity’s head offices relocation to the Port of Ngqura.
“Instead of fighting Durban, we need to engage progressively. We are known as the Friendly City and we want to live by the values of our motto… that we remain friendly to the people who will be coming here and live by the values of Nelson Mandela, to be accommodative, engaging and negotiating,” he said.
The Mayor was joined by the Deputy Mayor Thsonono Buyeye during the session who also welcomed the move and encouraged the stakeholders to be great hosts to the TNPA employees. Other stakeholders included organised business sectors, religious sector and representatives from the maritime sector.
Bhanga said the Transnet relocation was not just an opportunity to inject growth and business into the region, but also to promote unity. “The Premier is ANC and the Mayor here is DA but we said let’s leave the politics aside and look into what is important for the people. We said let us welcome this initiative to inject growth in the Eastern Cape and not only look at this as Port Elizabeth and talk about a regional economy.
“There should be a connection into what is happening in this part of the province and what is happening in East London because there is a temptation that NMB and East London must compete.”
He added that it was important to use the major exporting ports to compliment the economic activities as opposed to fighting and competing.
“We can build the Eastern Cape economy using these nodes, NMB, BCM and Port St John’s. We could have a collected effort to impact on the growth of the Eastern Cape economy. We need to envision the Eastern Cape we want, together.”
TNPA General Manager: Strategy and Special Projects Nico Walters said, “I trust we will have many more engagements to discuss growth in the region and how we can jointly pull forces together to develop all of the ports in the region to become a strength and provide economic opportunities for growth”.
Eastern Cape Maritime Business Chamber, Unathi Sonti said the TNPA move promised a bright future for the province’s maritime sector. “The investments that are coming into the region will position NMB and the Coega Development Corporation as Africa’s top Special Economic Zone.”