R90m boost for under-funded Coega
Coega will get a R90m stimulus package that will be used to grow the economy – ultimately creating more jobs for the province.
Finance MEC Oscar Mabuyane made the announcement in his budget speech.
“The stimulus package to the Coega Development Corporation is to support its efforts of attracting more investors to the province,” he said.
In an interview after his speech, Mabuyane said Coega was under-funded when it came to the operational budget.
“The fact that we have been under-funding it has caused it to collapse good corporate social investment programmes such as the driving school.”
The package will be funded over the medium-term expenditure framework for Coega’s special economic zone (SEZ).
During his speech, he said: “Let us get our house in order for the province to grow.
“Decisions must be taken to fast-track development that will deliver value for the Eastern Cape.”
Coega spokesperson Ayanda Vilakazi said the money could not come at a better time, with Coega having its sights set on 10 projects worth R287bn.
“This budget allocation will definitely assist in lobbying new investors with the intent of expanding our investment capacity.”
He said Coega had identified 11 other projects, among them the oil refinery, Project Mthombo.
The province is hoping to get a share of Saudi Arabia’s $10bn (about R140bn) investment into the SA economy to build the oil refinery at Coega.
But it all depends on whether Nelson Mandela Bay will be the chosen site for the multibillion-rand project, as Richards Bay is also in the running.
Project Mthombo, PetroSA’s 360,000-barrel-a-day refinery, has been mooted for Coega’s industrial development zone since 2008.
“We have done extensive groundwork in terms of site readiness and afforded an attractive site that would assist in playing a critical role in stimulating the Eastern Cape economy,” Vilakazi said.
He said Coega had identified key sectors such as agroprocessing and aquaculture to unlock potential projects.
“This will leverage from the 800km of coastline of the Eastern Cape.”
In his speech, Mabuyane said the province’s two special economic zones in Coega and East London continued to attract large-scale foreign direct and domestic investment.
“They are also becoming centres for innovation, manufacturing and industrialisation,” he said.
“As we speak, more than 7,000 workers report for duty every day to service 43 investors in the Coega SEZ, and 3,800 workers report for duty every day to service more than 30 investors in the East London SEZ.”
He said because of the number of investors in Coega and East London, there was a reason to expedite the development of the Wild Coast special economic zone in the OR Tambo municipal district.
“It has a potential to change the economic outlook of the eastern part of the province.”
He said the department of environmental affairs had in the past week granted environmental impact assessment approval for phase one of the Wild Coast special economic zone.
“This SEZ will help anchor development and create jobs, especially in municipalities around the eastern region.”
This included Amathole, OR Tambo and other areas up to Alfred Nzo.
Mabuyane said he was excited that developments had been made for the Wild Coast special economic zone.
This zone would mainly focus on agro-processing and agriculture.