29 February 2012
The government’s decision to invest up to R1.3-billion in South Africa’s industrial development zones will breathe new life into the Eastern Cape provincial economy, says Coega Development Corporation marketing manager Ayanda Vilakazi.
“This money will be spent on the expansion of Coega, South Africa’s largest IDZ, as well as the IDZs in East London and Richards Bay,” Vilakazi said in a statement last week.
Vilakazi said that while the announcement by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan during the national Budget Speech of a R3.2-trillion cash injection for infrastructure mega-projects would have far-reaching implications for Coega, it was important to note that the IDZ had already attracted substantial investment on its own.
“The Coega IDZ currently has 21 operating investors, which represents R1.24-billion in private sector investments,” he said. “To date, this has created 3 645 construction jobs, 2 985 direct jobs and 25 000 indirect jobs.”
He added that the IDZ also had projects worth R7.6-billion in the pipeline for 2012, with other projects either delayed or still being negotiated – bringing total investment to R140-billion.
Manganese corridor, oil refinery
In his State of the Nation address earlier this month, President Jacob Zuma announced a new manganese corridor from the Coega IDZ to the Port of Ngqura, with Transnet set to build a railway line to carry 16-million tons of manganese to the port every year.
During her State of the Province address in Bhisho earlier this month, Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet also hinted at the launch of PetroSA’s R76-billion Mthombo Oil Refinery project at Coega.
“This could prove to be another big boost to the Eastern Cape economy,” Vilakazi said. “It will go a long way to contributing towards the IDZ’s continued growth.”
In addition, another investment by Chinese automaker First Automobile Works (FAW), which will start building a US$100-million assembly plant by the end of February, will see over 2&nsbp;000 jobs being created at Coega.
Vilakazi said all the projects would act as a catalyst for socio-economic transformation and industrial diversification in the Eastern Cape.
“Investments in infrastructure remain a positive contributor towards job creation, which will be realised in the short-term construction phase as well as the longer-term maintenance and operation phase,” he said.