Cre­at­ing jobs, grow­ing the econ­omy

Vuk'uzenzele - - General - Nosihle Shelembe

The Coega In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Zone (IDZ) has at­tracted in­vest­ment from the chem­i­cal, lo­gis­tics, au­to­mo­tive, ser­vices, agro pro­cess­ing and en­ergy sec­tors.

re­cently vis­ited the IDZ and spoke to two in­vestors. The first, Chi­nese com­pany FAW, has been op­er­at­ing in the IDZ since 2014.

Dur­ing the con­struc­tion pe­riod, FAW South Africa cre­ated 300 work op­por­tu­ni­ties for the lo­cal com­mu­nity. Since start­ing its for­mal pro­duc­tion, 240 per­ma­nent jobs were cre­ated.

About 90 per cent of the em­ploy­ees work­ing at the plant are South African.

Louis Liu, As­sis­tant CEO and Plant Man­ager (PE) of FAW Ve­hi­cle Man­u­fac­turer SA, who was speak­ing through a trans­la­tor, said the main prod­ucts pro­duced at the plant range from medium to ex­tra heavy ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing trac­tors, tip­pers, ce­ment mix­ers and con­struc­tion ve­hi­cles.

“Our to­tal in­vest­ment for the project was 80 mil­lion US dol­lars and the ac­cu­mu­lated pro­duc­tion in the plant has been over 3 000 trucks. Our prod­ucts have been ac­cepted grad­u­ally by our cus­tomers in South Africa. They are also sold to other African coun­tries,” Liu said.

The Dis­cov­ery Health Med­i­cal Scheme's call cen­tre is lo­cated in Zone 4. Walk­ing through the open plan of­fice, vis­i­tors can feel the en­ergy of the young peo­ple at this cen­tre.

The call cen­tre, which started with a team of 50 call cen­tre agents in July 2011, has grown to about 1 000 peo­ple.

“Our call cen­tre makes up about 60 to 70 per cent of our work­force but we also have a col­lec­tion team re­spon­si­ble for the col­lec­tion of pre­mi­ums, as well as a cor­re­spon­dent team, busi­ness teams and re­la­tion­ship teams,” said Dis­cov­ery Ser­vice Ex­ec­u­tive Ernie van Staden.

Dis­cov­ery’s cap­i­tal in­vest­ment in the fa­cil­ity was about R20 mil­lion.

Van Staden said the com­pany is in the process of re­cruit­ing 140 peo­ple over the course of the next four months.

Coega Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Man­ager, Vuyokazi Gwabeni, said that in the 2016/17 fi­nan­cial year, Coega man­aged to achieve 38 per­cent SMME par­tic­i­pa­tion in the IDZ.

“We trained about 6 697 peo­ple and to date we have cre­ated 9 626 con­struc­tion jobs in the IDZ. Since 1999, we have cre­ated 102 794 jobs and 92 583 peo­ple have been trained since in­cep­tion,” she said.

More­over, 16 in­vestors were se­cured, with a to­tal value of R11.685 bil­lion in the 2016/17 fi­nan­cial year.

The state-owned en­tity also has a youth de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme for learn­ers who were not suc­cess­ful in pass­ing maths and science in Grade 12. A to­tal of 48 learn­ers com­pleted the pro­gramme in 2016/2017 fi­nan­cial year.

Other pro­grammes that are im­ple­mented and funded by the Coega De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion in­clude a driver train­ing pro­gramme, a bur­sary scheme for chem­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing post-grad­u­ates, an in­tern­ship pro­gramme and a youth lead­er­ship de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme.

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