Special economic zone (SEZ) developer and operator Coega Development Corporation (CDC) has been recognised by export assistance company Exporters Club for its dedication to job creation initiatives and excellent services to export-orientated investors.
CDC won the Industrial Development Corporation job creation and best provider of service to exporters awards at the Exporters Club Awards event held last month, in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.
CDC marketing and communications head Dr Ayanda Vilakazi describes the recognition as an achievement that demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to delivering world-class services to investors and its broader client base.
The CDC has been recognised consistently over the past three years for its contribution to job creation on various projects, including having created more than 7 243 operational jobs within the SEZ at the end of financial year 2016/17.
“We are proud of this achievement, especially in the context of the numerous recognitions the CDC has received this year alone,” states Vilakazi.
The CDC, in the current financial year 2017/18, has received two other awards: infrastructure development winner at Vision 2030 Awards and best international trade marketing specialist in South Africa at the sub-Saharan Enterprise Awards.
As a result of the flourishing construction projects in the SEZ, 452 jobs have been created.
These projects include a customs control area (90 jobs), the Beijing Automotive Group (BAIC) ring road project (four jobs), BAIC construction site (144 jobs), a gas cylinder manufacturing plant for manufacturer MM Engineering (89 jobs), and a construction site for cement manufacturers Kenako Concrete (76 jobs) and Osho Cement (49 jobs).
Vilakazi says the CDC diversifies its sectors to address the scourge of unemployment and poverty in the Eastern Cape, which is shown in national statistical service Statistics South Africa’s Poverty Trends report released in August.
This report recorded alarming statistics on the poverty levels of South Africa, with 55% of the population (30.4-million people) living in poverty.
“We are mindful of the socioeconomic environment in which we operate. Therefore, every job created is critical for putting food on the table for many people who rely on the opportunities provided by CDC through these projects,” Vilakazi points out.
Further, CDC executive manager Christopher Mashigo says the CDC is driven by sheer determination to offer value for investors.
“We ensure that our value proposition is always congruent with the needs of mobile investment projects at any point.”
Emerging contractors play an integral part in sustainable development and this is achieved through CDC’s small, medium-sized and microenterprise (SMME) capacitation programme.
This programme has a compulsory target of 35% to 40% SMME involvement in all CDC projects.
CDC SMME manager Unathi Maholwana says the programme adopted a holistic approach that offers access to markets as well as mentorship and training to ensure success of SMME-executed projects.
“Our dedicated SMME unit was established to develop and support SMMEs in line with our vision as a catalyst for championing the socioeconomic environment.”
SMME participation projects for CDC in the Nelson Mandela Bay area include the MM Engineering manufacturing plant, the Ring road project and the customs control area, which includes bricklaying, electrical work, structural steel, civil works and landscaping.
MM Engineering, which is South Africa’s first factory to manufacture liquid petroleum gas cylinders, says the CDC has allocated contracts worth R22-million to SMMEs on the project, which includes civil engineering company Ascon Civil Engineering and steel structure construction company YKW Projects.
Work on this factory started in May and is due for completion February 2018.
Further, the R5.7-million customs control area project started in February and is due for completion in October. SMMEs involved with this project include YKW Projects, paving company Thamahlangu Trading and electrical installations company Dicky’s Electrical.
Additionally, the R27-million Ring road project was awarded to SMME construction company Masiphumelele Trading for the construction of storm water and earthworks infrastructure.
Masiphumelele MD Luvuyo Popo highlights that the project has opened multiple opportunities for his business, including improvement of the company’s Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) grading and much-needed employment opportunities.
“My advice to fellow SMMEs is that there are no shortcuts. Reinvest profit margins back into the company, be present on site, demonstrate an equitable level of patience and professionalism.”
Moreover, Maholwana says the objective of the CDC SMME programme is to grow the SMMEs through the CIDB grading system to enable them to access opportunities in the open market outside the CDC.
“CDC is delighted in achieving this objective and encouraging more local business to participate and benefit from this programme.”
In the previous financial year, 2016/17, CDC’s SMME procurement spend was R884-million.
“In 2018, we are looking at growing the programme further and offer SMMEs a one-stop business development hub, which includes CDC’s small business finance unit, which offers bridging finance and a multipurpose facility where factory space is offered at affordable rates,” explains Maholwana.