Coega walks the talk

THE Coega special economic zone (SEZ) in the Eastern Cape is walking the talk in fast-tracking,Picture: @coegadevcorp

THE Coega special economic zone (SEZ) in the Eastern Cape is walking the talk in fast-tracking black industrialists into key role players of the economy.

It now counts 41 investors and the first of many industrialists in the pipeline with a R71m concrete manufacturing facility in Zone 5 of the Coega SEZ. The industrial development zone (IDZ), which was established in 1999 and covers 115km² of land, is fast becoming a cash cow for the province and the country as it pumps billions of rands into the economy.

All multibillion-rand projects that flooded to the IDZ in the past decade are starting to make big profits, despite the tough economic environment. The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) yesterday said it continues to be a pioneer in the government-led black industrialists programme and is proud to welcome its 41st such operational investor.

Kenako Concrete, a R71m concrete manufacturing facility, is the first black industry in Port Elizabeth to be funded by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) together with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).

“The CDC is at the forefront of implementing the black industrialist programme and radical economic transformation,” CDC business development manager in metal and manufacturing Sadick Davids said. Kenako Concrete is a state of the art facility with the capacity to produce six cubic metres of concrete in just four minutes. Its ability to produce 150m³ an hour is a game changer in the ready-mix concrete industry.

Jerome Perils, managing director of Kenako Concrete, said the project as a whole was a year and a half in the making. “There was a lot of hard work, but we managed to get onto the DTI’s black industrialist programme and the IDC along with the Treasury.

“It is very satisfying to see the plant up and running. This has resulted in 46 permanent jobs for people from poor communities of Port Elizabeth,” he said. The plant also boast a further fleet of at least 16 specialised concrete transporting trucks while more 90 jobs were created during the construction of the facility.

Recently, business lobby group, the Black Business Council, stressed that it vowed to fight for the support of radical economic transformation and the realisation of black industrialists in the country. To date the DTI has approved R577m in grants for 27 black industrialists projects in partnership with the IDC, the NEF, the Public Investment Corporation and the Land Bank.

A target of creating 100 black industrialists announced by President Jacob Zuma in 2014 has been extended to the end of this financial year. Another shining example of a true black industrialists include the multibillion-rand black controlled enterprise, Kenako Medical, which will be manufacturing syringes and already the NEF has invested R177m in the project which promises to take the Southern African Development Cooperation by storm. The location of the plant is also going to be the Coega SEZ.

Philisiwe Mthethwa, the NEF CEO, said most importantly about the programme of black industrialists is the fact that they are expecting to see the creation of new job opportunities through this policy, as well as the ownership and management of productive businesses by black people.