A group of ANC supporters prevented Western Cape premier Helen Zille from speaking at the launch of the Saldanha Bay industrial development zone.
Western Cape premier Helen Zille's spokesperson said on Thursday that the premier was barred from speaking at the launch of the Saldanha Bay industrial development zone.
Zak Mbhele said Zille, who is also the leader of the Democratic Alliance, was supposed to deliver the welcome address at the launch.
President Jacob Zuma would speak afterwards.
"The crowd, which had been disruptive since the beginning, were dressed in ANC T-shirts. Some were bussed in [for the event]."
He said the crowd became noisy when Zille took to the podium.
"It was the intention from the start to turn this event into an ANC party political rally," Mbhele said.
"She [Zille] said this was a serious abuse of state resources. It Is corrupt to use state resources for a party political rally."
Mbhele Zille called Zuma on Wednesday night to warn him that this was going to happen.
"The function was meant to be an event between the three spheres of government, and it was chaired by [ANC Western Cape chairperson] Marius Fransman," he said.
"This is puzzling because this is not part of his ministerial portfolio."
Fransman is also the deputy minister of international relations.
ANC Western Cape spokesperson Phillip Dexter and provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile were not immediately available for comment.
International relations spokesperson Clayson Monyela could also not be immediately reached for comment.
A tweet by Zille said: "The IDZ launch was attended by diplomats and investors. They were disgusted by the ANC's abuse of the event. Jobs down the drain."
The development zone is expected to create thousands of jobs, Zuma said.
"It is estimated that the creation of overall direct and indirect employment will be around 25 000 over a period of 20 years," Zuma said in a speech at the launch of the industrial zone.
"It is expected to generate around R62-billion in foreign exchange."
Saldanha Bay is a natural harbour about 105km outside of Cape Town.
The industrial zone is aimed at boosting economic activity in Saldanha Bay and surrounding areas, mainly around the oil and gas industries.
It is one of 18 projects the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission (PICC) has identified across the country.
The PICC is chaired by Zuma and includes ministers, premiers and mayors.
Zuma said: "There is no doubt that if effectively implemented, the Saldanha Bay project will have major macro-economic benefits for both the region and the Western Cape province."
Four other industrial development zones were designated in the ports of Coega near Port Elizabeth, East London, Richards Bay, and OR Tambo International Airport.
"The main objective of industrial development zones is to attract foreign direct investment, export value added products, and create jobs," Zuma said.
Economic development MEC Alan Winde said the provincial government had invested R25-million into the project over a five-year period.
"This funding was utilised for the pre-feasibility study, the feasibility study, business planning and infrastructure," Winde said in a statement.
The money was also used to establish the Saldanha Bay industrial development zone licensing company.
"This company, which has been set up as a subsidiary of Wesgro, the Western Cape's tourism, trade and investment promotion agency, will manage and operate the industrial zone." – Sapa