The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) — the developer and operator of the Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ) — has three projects underway, collectively valued at about R380 million, which have created jobs for the local community.

The projects, which have brought about much needed jobs in the economy of the Eastern Cape, have created about 290 construction jobs thus far.

“Having experienced limited to no economic activity during the earlier levels of the South African government national lockdown, these jobs have come at a time when many families are struggling to make ends meet,” the CDC said on Thursday.

The projects — which include African Port Logistics and Infrastructure (citrus sector), valued at R264 million; the expansion of the Coega multi-user facility, valued at R71 million, and DHL Logistics Facility (logistics sector), valued at R156 million — form part of the province’s economic priority sectors.

With infrastructure forming a key part of South Africa’s economic recovery plan, Special Economic Zones (SEZ) such as Coega, have a role to play in stimulating economic growth and job creation.

The multi-user facility (phase two) is located in Zone 3 of the Coega SEZ. It is currently under construction, with over 151 construction jobs created so far.

The 7 000m2 facility is a replica model of the successful phase one, which is now fully occupied.

“It seeks to provide affordable industrial space for many small-to-medium companies, especially entrepreneurs wishing to grow their business. Since the establishment of the multi-user facility, it has provided local people with employment in the construction industry,” the CDC said.

Building student from the Coega Skills Centre and who is currently a bricklayer at the construction site, Siphokazi Xakana, 33, said the skills she has obtained during her employment on this project have assisted her with the grow she needs as a young female in a male dominated industry.

Edgard Fransma, 29, from the Northern Areas, is currently a general worker on the project. He also shared his experience working at Coega.

“The experience and exposure I have obtained from the multi-user facility construction, particularly in steel structures, has enhanced my skills set,” Fransman said.

Also under construction is the African Port Logistics and Infrastructure project, which will see the development of a fruit packaging facility, fruit cold storage and a container depot.

The project has to date has created over 147 jobs in construction and a further 14 SMMEs having benefited.

The third project is the DHL Logistics Facility, which will occupy a total of 11 400m2 and will see the development of awarehouse and offices.

The project is estimated to create 380 construction jobs and further small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs).

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