Saldanha Bay Municipality’s Vision: “It is the vision of the municipality to make this a preferred area of choice to live in, to do business in as well as for recreation. We want to be a leading municipality in the provision of quality service at an affordable price, a place where all have access to development opportunities, where the riches of the land and sea are utilised in a sustainable manner. We strive to reach the three objectives of sustainable development, namely human welfare, economic success and ecological responsibility.”
(Saldanha Bay Municipality IDP, 2003)
Saldanha Bay has the largest GDP in the West Coast District, mainly from the manufacturing (processing) sector as well as transport, rather than the agriculture-driven economies of the other local municipalities in the district.
While Vredenburg is the business centre of the district, a lot of the activity in the municipality is driven to or by the harbour in Saldanha, which has the deepest and largest natural port in South Africa.
The port 120km north of Cape Town and connected via the N7 is primarily geared for iron-ore exporting but vertical integration is growing with steel processing plants and related down-stream activities that have been established. The hope is that this industrial base in future will broaden to host a large number of smaller scale downstream industries.
Oil and gas opportunities are prevalent up and down the west coast of Africa with the facilities and infrastructure at Saldanha Bay giving the region an opportunity to tap into that lucrative market. Similarly, entrepreneurs can benefit from downstream activities and services, driven by the oil and gas industry.
The local economy is in the process of diversification from being dependent on fishing and agriculture, to manufacturing and tourism as major economic sectors. This diversification holds the potential for more economic growth, but also bears the risk of greater social inequalities if locals are not able to take opportunities in the new economic sectors due to a lack of skills.