By 2001, two years after Mbeki became president, the Coega IDZ was officially designated and a year later the East London IDZ followed suit. Since its inception, Coega has attracted 36 tenants, who have invested R181bn, while East London has netted private sector investment worth more than R7.3bn from 45 investors.
“The East London IDZ continues to attract exportoriented investors that strengthen and diversify the local economy. Linked to this, the Stats SA report also revealed that 67% (R3.8bn) of the total inputs used by manufacturers in the zone last year were sourced locally, while R2.6bn worth of the outputs from these manufacturers were export bound,” says Ayanda Ramncwana, spokesperson for the East London IDZ.
Ayanda Vilakazi, head of marketing and communications at the Coega Development Corporation, which operates the Coega IDZ, says the industrial park has signed on 19 new investors, who are ploughing in R1.9bn. Coega has created 96 776 jobs since 2001.
“Even the companies situated in the Coega IDZ have an impact on the Eastern Cape economy through creating decent work,” Vilakazi says.
There are also plans to take manufacturing back to the former Transkei area. The bulk of the homeland’s industrial activities were based in Butterworth in the 1980s, boasting 51 large-scale manufacturers during its heyday – half the number of all the manufacturers based in Transkei as a whole at the time.
During SA’s political transition, government discontinued massive tax incentives that encouraged industrial investors to settle in former homelands. This resulted in an exodus by manufacturers out of Transkei and, by the time the homeland was integrated into the newly established Eastern Cape in 1994, it was a deindustrialised backwater.
Mthatha, the former Transkei capital, will be the new site of rekindling manufacturing in the area, and has been chosen by the department of trade and industry as the home of a mooted Special Economic Zone (SEZ), which will focus on agro-processing.
The SEZ is part of the Integrated Wild Coast Development Programme, which will see the construction of a R9bn N2 toll road, linking Durban and East London, and the R3bn Wild Coast Meander road, hugging parts of Transkei’s coastline. These roads will open up the Wild Coast to trade and investment.
A study compiled by the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) suggests that the N2 toll road could inject up to R29.4bn and create 540 000 jobs over a 30-year period for businesses and families along the route.
The study also lists agriculture, forestry, manufacturing, construction and property development, finance and real estate, trade, tourism and catering as the sectors that could benefit from the highway. Head of marketing and communications at the Coega Development Corporation