The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) expects 2012 to yield increased investment in its industrial development zone (IDZ), near Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, despite the global economy still reeling from recessionary factors.
The corporation said on Wednesday that it was negotiating new projects worth R8.1-billion for Coega, which is South Africa’s largest IDZ.
The investment account currently reflected a total of R140-billion in investment value, which comprised R7.5-billion in investments being implemented, R5.8-billion in delayed projects, R1.239-billion operational projects, R8.1-billion being negotiated and those still in feasibility stage worth R116.3-billion.
To date, 3 276 direct jobs have been created and a further 25 963 indirect and induced jobs have been created. The agro-processing sector in particular was a large contributor to indirect and induced employment in rural areas
CDC marketing and communications manager Ayanda Vilakazi said some of the highlights expected in 2012 include vehicle manufacturer First Automotive Works Group’s (FAW’s) confirmed plans to expand into the Coega IDZ with an investment totaling R677-million, starting with 5 000 medium-heavy commercial vehicles and 30 000 passenger and light commercial vehicles in subsequent phases. The official signing and sod-turning ceremony was planned for the first quarter of 2012.
Further, the IDZ’s dairy unit Coega Dairy was set to start production in the first quarter of 2012 and ramp up to reach the installed capacity, while the tomato processing facility Cape Concentrate was also expected to commence with its commercial activities in the first quarter of this year, following a setback owing to crop failure.
The Discovery Health Service Centre located in the Coega business process outsourcing park employed 165 agents in November 2012 and projects the number to increase to 400 by 2013 if the current growth rate is sustained. The current growth rate is 30 new agents employed every month.
German-based EAB Astrum Energy signed an agreement with the CDC in the third quarter of 2011 for the development of a 13 MW photovoltaic solar farm and has already commenced with the environmental permitting process. EAB will bid in the second round of the Department of Energy’s renewable energy procurement programme in March.
Another development was the issuing of Electrawinds with a record of decision for the entire project and a generating licence for a pilot turbine, which has been connected to the Nelson Mandela Bay grid since June 10, 2010.
Moreover, GDF Suez from France has signed an agreement to construct a 330 MW power peaking plant in the IDZ. Vilakazi said they were awaiting a generating licence and power purchasing agreement before construction can start. A total of 1 000 construction jobs would be created.
Steel company AGNI Steel commenced construction in April 2011 and is on track to commission its mild steel billet plant in June 2012.
One of Coega’s largest employers in the IDZ, Dynamic Commodities, which has created over 1 095 jobs at the last audit, was expanding and would create an additional 200 direct jobs. Indirect and induced employment would also be created on farms near the towns of Kirkwood, Addo and Patensie. The commissioning of the new line would be during January and February 2012.
National oil company PetroSA’s Mthombo crude oil refinery continued to be promoted as an investor in the Coega IDZ and catalyst for regional economic development and diversification of the local industry.