Coega creates thousands of jobs

Cindy Preller

THE construction boom at Coega is a welcome investment in the region, with more than 2500 jobs being created in the past year in the Coega industrial development zone (IDZ).

A total of six building projects have also injected more than R1.2-billion in the first six months of the year into the Nelson Mandela Bay construction industry.

This had meant major spin-offs not only for lead contractors, but also sub-contractors, suppliers and the whole building environment supply chain, said Coega Development Corporation head of communications Ayanda Vilakazi.

“The global economic climate is still not stable, yet investment continues to flow into the Coega IDZ and is literally taking root in the construction projects under way. We currently have 20 operational investors, and once these seven construction projects are complete, we will be up to 27 operational investors by mid- 2014,” Vilakazi said.

The construction projects under way in the IDZ include the erection of a plant for the Chinese car and truck manufacturer First Automobile Works (FAW); Famous Brands’ cold storage plant; DCD Group’s wind tower manufacturing plant; the addition of Coega Cheese onto the Coega Dairy outfit; Agni Steels’ R400-million smelter facility; and Rehau’s extension in the Nelson Mandela Bay Logistics Park (NMBLP).

The gas company Air Products South Africa will begin construction of its R300-million air separation unit next month, bringing the total number of projects being built to seven.

“The unaudited results of the 2012-13 financial year also show that construction jobs in the Coega, IDZ and the NMBLP for April 2012 to March 2013 amount to 1 722 and investor jobs created are at about 856 – so just over 2 500 jobs created directly through activity in the Coega IDZ,” Vilakazi said.

Coega was delivering its jobs promise through the attraction of investments, he said. “The construction boom is just a taste of things to come. Never before has it been so important to say: watch this space.”

RGT Smart economist Neal Bruton said the construction boom would affect the local economy positively and help curb unemployment.

“The IDZ feeds the growth of the regional gross domestic product and the capital injected by the investor is vital for economic growth,” Bruton said.

Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber chief executive officer Kevin Hustler welcomed the construction boom at the IDZ and said lively development and investment into the Coega IDZ was proof that Nelson Mandela Bay was perceived as a viable investment destination.

“It is imperative that Nelson Mandela Bay sustains an environment conducive to business in order to attract and retain valuable foreign and local investment. The chamber has been supportive of business development in the IDZ for many years now and continues to point potential investors in their direction,” he said.

Hustler said the chamber hoped to see momentum continue to build in the current committed investments, as well as in those that were in the pipeline.

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