Coega IDZ leads to jobs
The Coega Industrial Development Zone is creating jobs and growing the Eastern Cape economy
The Coega Industrial Development Zone (Coega IDZ), located near Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality in the Eastern Cape, is a multi-billion rand project geared to drive local and foreign direct investment into export industries and position South Africa as the hub for southern African trade.
Developed and managed by the Coega Development Corporation (CDC), the IDZ was recently given the IDC Job Creation and Best Provider of Service to Exporters award at the Exporters Awards in Port Elizabeth.
The development zone offers global competitiveness through tax incentives, rebates and a duty-free zone, and consists of 11 000 hectares of land that's divided into different zones.
Investors create jobs
According to Coega's Business Development Manager Vuyokazi Gwabeni the value of private sector investment in the 2016/17 financial year was R6.996 billion.
Gwabeni said the CDC and the Nelson Mandela Bay Logistics Park (NMBLP) provides infrastructure and services to the automotive manufacturing industry and has attracted 40 operational investors, of which 24 are South African companies.
At the end of the 2016/17 financial year the CDC had created over
7 243 operational jobs within the Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
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 and has created 240 permanent jobs since formal production commenced.
About 90 percent of the employees working at the plant are South African.
FAW Vehicle Manufacture SA Assistant CEO and Plant Manager PE Louis Liu 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,” he said.
“Our products have been accepted gradually by our customers in South Africa.They are also sold to other African countries,” said Liu.
Discovery Health Medical Scheme's call centre is located in Zone 4. Walking through the open plan office one can feel the energy of youth at the centre.
The call centre, which started with a team of 50 agents in July 2011, has grown its team to about 1 000 people.
“Our call centre makes up about 60 to 70 percent of our workforce. We also have a collections team, which is responsible for the collection of premiums; correspondents team; business teams and relationship teams,” said Discovery Service Executive Ernie van Staden.
Discovery's capital investment for the facility was about R20 million.
Employees at the call centre have no excuses for not being physically fit, as their building has been fitted with a gym.They can also receive massages and are pampered at a beauty salon which does their hair and nails.
Van Staden said the company will recruit 140 people over the next four months.
Progress in 2016/17
Some of the sectors in the IDZ include chemicals, logistics, automotive, services, agro-processing and energy.
Gwabeni said in the 2016/17 financial year, the Coega IDZ achieved 38 percent SMME participation.
“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.
In addition, 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 did not pass maths and science in Grade 12. In the 2016/17 financial year, 48 learners completed the maths and science programme.
Other corporate social responsibility programmes implemented and funded by the CDC include a driver training programme, bursary scheme for chemical engineering postgraduates, internship programme and a youth leadership development programme.
Muffin Consulting conducted a socio-economic impact study which showed that 66 percent of staff are previously disadvantaged.
Sixty-nine percent of companies increased their workforce in the IDZ, which is an indication that businesses in the SEZ are likely to succeed.
The findings of the study are supported by Coega's recognition of its dedication to job creation initiatives and excellent services to exportoriented investors.
Writer: Nosihle Shelembe