18 INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY DEVELOPMENT OF MINI-CONFERENCE CENTRES Opportunities exist for the establishment of meeting facilities in John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality. Bearing this in mind, a consultancy, ReA-Con, was asked to do a feasibility study on the establishment of mini-conference facilities in the Pixley ka Seme District Municipality and the John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality. Kuruman Country Club Thabo Mogorosi Multipurpose Centre, Kuruman PROJECT BACKGROUND The Northern Cape has one large convention centre in Kimberley and several other venues, but most of them can accommodate fewer than 300 delegates, the benchmark for the definition of an “international” conference. Business travellers spend much more than leisure travellers and frequently combine both activities. South Africa has a National Conventions Bureau which encourages international associations and conventions to have their meetings and events in South Africa. The Northern Cape is in the process of establishing a similar body for the province. Kimberley and Upington are the main cities for conference venues in the Northern Cape. Decentralisation would assist both South Africa (in being able to offer a wider variety of conference venues) and the Northern Cape economically, in spreading economic growth to smaller towns. The Northern Cape Tourism Authority hosts 65 annual events and the presence of the Sol Plaatje University in the province heightens the likelihood of academic conferences being hosted. DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT The aim of the feasibility study was to identify, evaluate and recommend suitable buildings or infrastructure in selected towns for the establishment of conference centres. Various criteria were used to determine whether a venue held sufficient potential to be considered, and a short list of possible sites was drawn up. Suggested adaptations to accommodate conference delegates and events were made for many kinds of existing venues, ranging from town halls and hospitals (no longer used for their original purposes) to a caravan park, a stadium and a country club. POSSIBLE SITES A total of 14 sites were identified as having the potential to be converted to conference facilities across the two district municipalities. These 14 sites were in the towns of Vanderkloof, Colesberg, De Aar and Kuruman. Some were ranked as “primary”, others as “secondary”. LOCATION In John Taolo Gaetsewe District, two venues were identified in the town of Kuruman as potential sites: the Kuruman Country Club and the Thabo Mogorosi Multipurpose Centre. TARGETED SECTORS • Construction • Real estate • Facilities management • Retail CONTACTS Johann van Schalkwyk: Director: Tourism Development Unit, Tourism Programme Department of Economic Development and Tourism Tel: +27 53 830 4892 |Fax: +27 86 543 1064 Email: email@example.com
19 ENERGY INVESTMENT COMMUNITY TRUSTS ARE TRANSFORMATIVE Small rural communities are shareholders in energy plants. Given South Africa’s history and continuing inequalities, it was vital for the success of the country’s programme to encourage investment in renewable energy that something had to be done to give previously disadvantaged citizens a chance to participate. Community trusts have been the main vehicle through which local communities have become shareholders in the energy-generating projects. The ownership of the Sishen solar photovoltaic plant at Dibeng north-west of Kathu is made up as follows: ACCIONA (54.9%), Royal Bafokeng Holdings (25.1%), Soul City (10%), Dibeng Community Solar Energy Trust (10%). Soul City is a community organisation. This is a typical ownership structure under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP). The REIPPPP has attracted a good deal of praise for its efficiency and effectiveness: more than R200-billion has been committed in investments in a variety of projects across South Africa. During the 15 months it took to build the plant, around 1 000 jobs were created, 94% filled by South Africans. Over the construction period and working life of the facility, which is expected to operate for over 25 years, 2.1% of the revenues will go towards socio-economic programmes in the small town of 8 000 residents. The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) has issued a Commitment Statement which noted that the REIPPPP has a “built-in demand for local procurement”, not only offering business opportunities to local companies, but also incentivising the industry to identify and support emerging entrepreneurs. The rollout of renewable energy has met some resistance in South Africa from diverse constituencies. In response, renewable energy advocates cite not just investment figures, but they note how much good work has been done in communities. Figures released by SAWEA show shareholding for local communities at an estimated net income of R29.2-billion over the lifespan of the projects. Some 14 000 new jobs are expected to be created, mostly in rural areas, and more than R30-billion has already been spent on Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) in the construction phase. One of the biggest underwriters of community trusts has been the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). In a document on trusts, the IDC states: In view of South Africa’s well-documented energy challenges, the IDC – through its funding support to the energy sector – has been proactive in contributing to the country’s Just Energy Transition and energy security. The IDC’s funding activity has benefit ted entities with exposure to energy generation and efficiency. These projects are also aimed at reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Funded projects have ranged in various sizes from utility scale, through to smaller-scale distributed energy solutions, either for Own-Use by commercial and industrial-sector companies or for sale by Independent Power Producers. Of signifi cance to the IDC is the need to empower communities to bene fit from inclusive, equitable and sustainable development in their respective regions. With over R14-billion invested in renewable energy projects spread across the country, the Corporation has funded 24 Community Trusts, enabling them to actively participate in the country’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme. Our support is purposeful in ensuring that communities use these dividends for socio-economic development, addressing poverty and unemployment through community-based development programmes.