Coega creates 11 000 jobs

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Bisho - A total of 11 346 jobs have been created through the Eastern Cape's Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) near Port Elizabeth.

Coega IDZ spokesperson Vuyelwa Qinga says the Coega IDZ and the Deepwater Port of Ngqura are the largest economic infrastructure development projects on the continent.

"The total number of people currently in jobs on the construction sites is 2 700, with 58 599 people registered on a job seekers database," Ms Qinga said.

With the bulk of the Coega IDZ infrastructure in place, the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) has begun developing three of the specialist clusters or zones within the IDZ.

The CDC is a body established in 1999 to implement the IDZ, which is one of the government's high priority project to bring about significant economic benefits to the Eastern Cape region, create employment, energise industrial development and promote international trade.

"Investors can now start building on sites they have identified in the Coega Industrial Development Zone," Executive Manager of Infrastructure Development, Kelly Byrne said

Construction has been planned and phased to match the timetable of interested tenants and investors.

Mr Byrne said the zones were the port clusters, which includes the textile and food processing cluster (Zone 1), the automotive and electronic cluster (Zone 2), and the academic, processing and business cluster (Zone 3).

"Much of the preparatory work has already been done in the area reserved for an aluminum smelter and downstream aluminum cluster, which means that the area is ready for its intended businesses," Mr. Byrne said.

He said the CDC was also fast-tracking the development of these zones ensure that land was ready for the building of factories, warehouses and other facilities as soon as the projects were approved.

"A number of potential investors have already identified sites within the zones. Negotiations with the companies are at different stages, but the CDC expects to sign up a number of the investors by the end of 2005," he added.

Meanwhile, the building of the port of Ngqura, which is integrated into the Coega project and will also serve the rest of Southern Africa, is progressing according to schedule.

National Ports Authority (NPA), Resident Engineer Chris Matchett says the authority was developing the port simultaneously with the development of IDZ.

"With the quay walls complete, the successful filling of the harbour basin in July last year, the dredging finished and the steady progress of the breakwaters, our main focus at the moment is the positioning of the concrete structures [caissons]," he said

He said the caissons were towed into position using the tugboats and finally positioned by a system of anchors and winches before being flooded and sunk on prepared stone foundation beds.

The port of Ngqura that is the newest and the third deepest harbour in South Africa will be ready for commercial traffic by October 2005.

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