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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa unveils Nelson Mandela MSC Cruise Terminal

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Nelson Mandela

Tulani Ngwenya

Durban – In a monumental event at the Ethekwini Metropolitan Municipality, President Cyril Ramaphosa launched the Nelson Mandela MSC Cruise Terminal, signalling a significant stride towards restoring Durban’s status as a premier cruise tourism destination. The unveiling ceremony, held on November 22, 2023, brought together dignitaries, government officials, and industry leaders.

President Ramaphosa, addressing the audience, remarked, “The launch of the Nelson Mandela MSC Cruise Terminal is more than a milestone. It is an important step towards restoring the position of this city as a premier cruise tourism destination, alongside the finest in the world.”

Expressing gratitude to the Nelson Mandela Foundation for their partnership in this massive infrastructure project, President Ramaphosa highlighted the terminal’s potential to boost tourism in Durban, the province, and the entire country, positively contributing to the economy.

He underscored the global recognition of Nelson Mandela, stating, “There are few, if any, places in the world that have not heard the name Nelson Mandela or do not know about his iconic stature.” The President emphasised that the terminal, bearing Mandela’s name, would be the first sight for cruise liner passengers arriving in Durban, creating a positive and welcoming atmosphere.

Congratulating the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and Africa Armada Consortium for the launch, President Ramaphosa acknowledged the substantial contribution the terminal has already made to the expansion of the local tourism sector. The President noted that Durban, along with Cape Town, is strategically positioned as a desirable destination for cruise ships, with enormous potential for economic benefits.

The partnership, which has an investment value of R298 million and is facilitated by the Transnet National Ports Authority through a thirty-year concession agreement, was discussed by President Ramaphosa. He outlined the strategic goal of offering modern cruise terminals as gateways to the ports of Durban and Cape Town, fostering multi-modal connectivity, and contributing to the growth of the tourism industry.

Read more on the subject:

What Mandela’s example teaches us – Cyril Ramaphosa

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Highlighting challenges faced by the Port of Durban over the years, President Ramaphosa affirmed ongoing efforts to upgrade and revitalise the country’s ports. He discussed the KZN Logistics Hub Programme, a strategic initiative aiming to expand port capacity through flagship projects with an investment tag of approximately R157 billion and plans to create over 570,000 employment opportunities over the next 15 years.

In closing, President Ramaphosa thanked MSC for their investment, expressing confidence in the positive impact of the cruise terminal on South Africa’s economy. He emphasised the ripple effect, noting, “As more cruise liners visit this city, more tourists come. As part of their homeport itineraries, passengers visit local attractions, shop, and spend, and more money is injected into the local economy.”

President Ramaphosa concluded on an optimistic note, envisioning the Nelson Mandela MSC Cruise Terminal as a symbol of economic growth, recovery, and hope for the future of the South African tourism industry.

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