ACSA’s RESPONSE TO BUSINESS REPORT ARTICLE
An article appearing in today’s Business Report claiming that the KwaZulu-Natal Government “yesterday expropriated” the La Mercy land owned by ACSA for the proposed Dube TradePort and King Shaka International Airport refers.
Firstly, no land has been expropriated. The KZN Department of Public Works late yesterday (26 February 2004) issued a notice in the Provincial Government Gazette informing all interested parties, in summary, that it “intends to expropriate the land and requires a response within 30 days”. A copy of the notice is available on request.
Secondly, the article states as a matter of fact that “ACSA, which was given the land in 1969, has been opposed from the outset to the relocation of Durban International Airport.” Truth is, ACSA was only vested in 1993 as a wholly state-owned company in terms of the Companies Act. The land was owned by then National Government and transferred with all other properties to ACSA in 1993, essentially making the land a private property.
Moreover, following a request from the Ministry of Finance through the National Treasury’s Private-Public Partnership (PPP) Unit, the Board of ACSA in July 2002 approved that management provide the necessary information towards a feasibility study of the proposed King Shaka International Airport.
We have cooperated with the process and held in-depth discussions with the advisors of the Provincial Department of Economic Affairs and Development.
It is now a matter of public knowledge that ACSA has never opposed the construction of King Shaka International Airport but suggested a different model which will not require Government funding for the project, but would mean an economically viable project driven by traffic growth into the region.
This approach means that the new airport at La Mercy will only be built when the current Durban International Airport reaches full capacity. Current traffic growth forecast indicate that this is likely to happen between 2017 and 2020 when passenger traffic reaches 5 million. Most importantly, the model is not premised on the closure of the current airport.
It is very unfortunate that the Provincial Public Works Department decided to take the route of issuing a notice in the Provincial Gazette, to the surprise of all participants in this process including the National Government.
Finally, management will vigorously oppose it in the best interest of ACSA, its staff, shareholders and the country.