The developer and operator of the Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ) - the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) – currently has three projects underway, collectively worth about R380 million, which have created jobs for the local community.
The projects have created about 290 much-needed construction jobs in the Eastern Cape’s economy so far.
“Having experienced limited to no economic activity during the earlier levels of the South African government national lockdown, these jobs have come at a time when many families are struggling to make ends meet,” the CDC said on Thursday.
The projects -- which include African Port Logistics and Infrastructure (citrus sector), valued at R264 million; the expansion of the Coega multi-user facility, valued at R71 million, and DHL Logistics Facility (logistics sector), valued at R156 million -- are part of the province's economic priority sectors.
With infrastructure forming a major part of the country’s economic recovery plan, Special Economic Zones (SEZ) such as Coega, have a role to play in stimulating economic growth and job creation.
The multi-user facility (phase two) is in Zone 3 of the Coega SEZ. It is currently under construction, with over 151 construction jobs created so far.
The 7 000m2 facility is a replica model of the successful phase one, which is now fully occupied.
“It seeks to provide affordable industrial space for many small-to-medium companies, especially entrepreneurs wishing to grow their business. Since the establishment of the multi-user facility, it has provided local people with employment in the construction industry,” the CDC said.
Siphokazi Xakana, 33, is a building student from the Coega Skills Centre who currently works as a bricklayer at the construction site, said the skills she has obtained during her employment on this project have helped her develop the skills she needs as a young female in a male-dominated industry.
Edgard Fransma, 29, from the Northern Areas, is currently working as a general worker on the project; he also shared his experience working at Coega.
“The experience and exposure I have obtained from the multi-user facility construction, particularly in steel structures, has enhanced my skills set,” Fransman said.
Also under construction is the African Port Logistics and Infrastructure project, which will see the development of a fruit packaging facility, fruit cold storage and a container depot.
So far, the project has created over 147 jobs in construction and a further 14 SMMEs having benefited.
The third project is the DHL Logistics Facility, which will occupy a total of 11 400m2 of property and will see the development of a warehouse and offices.
In the end, the project is expected to create 380 construction jobs as well as other small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs).