Finweek English Edition - - IN DEPTH ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT - Ed­i­to­rial@fin­week.co.za is CEO and co-founder of GetBiz, an e-pro­cure­ment and ten­der no­ti­fi­ca­tion ser­vice.

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

Ayanda Vi­lakazi

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