Transnet National PortsAuthority (TNPA) has unveiled a new R255-million administration building – eMendi – at the Port of Ngqura, in the Eastern Cape.
Speaking at the unveiling, TNPA CEO Richard Vallihu said the 10 000 m2 building was named in reference to the SS Mendi troop ship that sunk in the English Channel 100 years ago, carrying over 800 servicemen, the majority of whom were black South Africans.
The new building will cater for Ngqura’s growing staff complement as the port continues to expand into a major container transshipment hub for sub-Saharan Africa.
“This is not just a staff building, but a platform for us to provide effective, efficient and economic port services at the Port of Ngqura. Transnet builds localisation into each of its contracts in order to foster economic growth and create jobs, and this project has certainly done so in the Eastern Cape,” said Vallihu.
Ngqura port manager Tandi Lebakeng said the new administration building was now on track to secure a 4-star green rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa.
“We are proud of this truly world-class building that is poised to become one of the premier ‘green’ buildings in the Nelson Mandela Bay metropolitan municipality,” she said.
Green building concepts incorporated in the design include rainwater harvesting, solar panels and light motion sensorsin certain areas. The building’s large window areas allow it to take advantage of the port’s panoramic views and natural lighting flowing into the building, thereby reducing the need for electrical lighting.
With capacity to house 205 staff, the administration buildingis divided into east and west wings, separated by an atrium that extends the full height of the building, and is serviced by two circular lifts.
Other facilities include a gymnasium, canteen, boardrooms, training rooms, a port operations centre and staff rest areas. The building also includes a basement with parking bays, as well as storage and plant rooms. There is also an open parking area outside.
Lebakeng said 154 jobs had been created during the construction phase of the administration building and administration craft basin. Forty-eight of these jobs have been created for black youth, while 285 Eastern Capeemployees also benefited from skills development programmes associated with these projects.