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South African Business 2022

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Welcome to the 10th edition of the South African Business journal. First published in 2011, the publication has established itself as the premier business and investment guide to South Africa, supported by the website www.southafricanbusiness.co.za. Regular pages cover all the main economic sectors of the South African economy and give a snapshot of each of the country’s provinces. This issue has a focus on Special Economic Zones which are being rolled out across the country with specific economic areas of focus. The importance of the revival of minerals exploration and the significance of onshore and offshore gas discoveries is the subject of another special feature.

INTERVIEW Building a

INTERVIEW Building a safe and integrated transport system Limpopo MEC of Transport and Community Safety, Mavhungu Lerule-Ramakhanya, reflects on the role that aviation can play in creating an integrated system and promoting economic growth. What are the primary objectives of the Department of Transport and Community Safety and how does aviation fit in with them? Our mandate is to provide safe, sustainable and affordable integrated transport services for the citizens of our province. To intensify the fight against crime and to root out corruption. This must be done in a way that promotes socio-economic development. We have to provide for the safe transportation of goods, services and people. Road safety, mobility and vehicle safety and law enforcement on our roads are key. Aviation, and the Polokwane International Airport in particular, plays a vital role in positioning the province as a logistics hub. MEC Mavhungu Maureen Lerule-Ramakhanya, Department of Transport and Community Safety BIOGRAPHY Born in Makhado (formerly Louis Trichardt), Mavhungu was a community activist from a young age, heading various structures including the ANC Youth League before taking on leadership roles within the African National Congress at a provincial level. She is also a member of the South African Communist Party. She was appointed as Executive Mayor of Vhembe District Municipality before serving as Speaker of the Limpopo Provincial Legislature. In March 2020 she became the Member of Executive Council (MEC) for Transport and Community Safety. Are you promoting freight transport? In January we will be meeting with existing freight companies who have shown an interest in leasing space. How will the activities at the airport assist in road safety? Aviation fits in with the pillars of our strategy in terms of safety. When PIA is fully operational it will significantly reduce the load on our roads, especially at peak times like Easter and Christmas and make for a safer travel experience. Polokwane International Airport was downgraded because of safety concerns. How far have you gone in addressing the challenges? We have recently received our licence for operating for the year to come, so we passed the annual assessment. How are things looking for the coming months? Our department, together with the Limpopo Tourism Agency and the Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET), has agreed on a marketing strategy where we are targeting the holiday months to drive up numbers. Are there any plans for another airline to operate out of PIA? We are open to anyone. We are not in a position to offer monetary incentives, but we encourage any airline with a licence to come to Limpopo. The economic cluster at provincial level is working on a strategy on how best to introduce more cargo and freight businesses. Would the introduction of additional routes to Cape Town and Durban assist the province’s development? We have a lot of people who go to Durban and Cape Town for holidays and business. If those routes were available, it would help a lot.

FOCUS Commercial services resume at Polokwane International Airport Hard work pays off and growth plans are in the works. The resumption of services at the Polokwane International Airport (PIA) on 18th October 2021 came as relief to people who had been deprived of access to one of the most reliable modes of transport due to a downgrade. Commercial activities were suspended pending the finalisation of severe safety findings by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA). It took the Gateway Airports Authority Limited (GAAL) about five months to fix the identified risks. Among the dignitaries who came to witness the resumption of commercial activities were Limpopo Department of Transport and Community Safety MEC Mavhungu Lerule-Ramakhanya, Economic Development and Tourism MEC Thabo Mokone, Polokwane Municipality Executive Mayor John Mpe, Limpopo Tourism Agency CEO Moses Ngobeni, Airport Acting CEO Paul Moloto and the GAAL board led by the Chairperson, Victor Xaba. It was a colourful welcome and the mood was jovial as the first flight from OR Tambo International touched down. The strength and readiness of emergency personnel was displayed. Passengers were warmly welcomed by a group of young people bearing huge banners. The first flight was a symbol of many more to follow after a commitment from Airlink. MEC Lerule-Ramakhanya thanked everyone who contributed to the reopening of the facility. The MEC had earlier assembled a team to assist GAAL. She assured the people of Limpopo that the facility will never be downgraded again. The MEC also thanked the SACAA for their intervention in ensuring the safety of passengers. “I want to take this time and thank everyone for the effort made to make sure that this airport is back to its glory days. We have a responsibility as a collective to ensure that we remain a shining example to South Africa and the world. I am grateful that we have a board led by people with aviation experience and I have no doubt that they will take this airport to greater heights and also to ensure that it remains economically viable,” said Lerule-Ramakhanya. Airport management is currently canvassing for new tenants and old businesses to return to cater for hundreds of passengers. There is currently one airline operating between Polokwane and OR Tambo, with two flights in the morning and two in the late afternoon, which is likely to increase in the course of 2022. The PIA management is working around the clock to attract other airline services and cargo carriers. The airport is strategically placed to transit cargo to the SADC region and for the development of the Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone (MMSEZ). ■ ABOUT GAAL Gateway Airports Authority Limited is the entity responsible for the management of all public airports in the Limpopo province. GAAL is exploring opportunities to expand and make PIA competitive. PIA has a variety of business opportunities, including leasing of vacant office space, hangars and a fuel farm. ONLINE RESOURCES Tel: 087 291 1050 | Email: masodja.mkhabele@gaal.co.za | Website: www.gaal.co.za 69 SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESS 2022

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