There is a lot of potential for investor growth at the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) industrial development zone (IDZ) in Eastern Cape, says Deputy Minister of Energy Thembisile Majola.
In the 2014/15 financial year, the CDC contributed 14,623 direct jobs to the South African economy; it also has 29 operating investors with an investment value of more than R2.7bn.
Speaking at a briefing about the Department of Trade and Industry's incentive scheme to support the creation of large and competitive black industrialists, Majola said the money could spill over to fund other projects.
"Even though there is no allocation as to where the money will be spent in the country, what the Eastern Cape receives from this scheme will depend on how many entrepreneurs can be developed," Majola said yesterday.
Eastern Cape presented a lot of potential while there was also a need for skills development such as that conducted by Coega in training artisans, welders and electricians.
"The approach is not just about employment creation but to see where there is a gap in the industry and create opportunities for others."
Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Mayor Danny Jordaan said he was happy with the empowerment and skills development that was on track in the Coega IDZ.
"We've also visited the skills development centre in Coega and it was interesting that people outside the metro and from rural areas were receiving training. Shareholding of existing investors and also the management expressing the need to deal with historical imbalances of ownership is especially encouraging."
The head of the provincial department of economic development, environmental affairs and tourism Sakhumzi Somyo said there was high growth and interest in energy projects in the IDZ energy cluster. Delegates should visit DCD Wind Towers, he said, adding that Eastern Cape was equally positioned to other wind turbine manufacturers in the market.
"The manufacturing capability of wind turbine stands guarantees South Africa's relevance into the energy mix. The renewable energy mix provided by Coega can create the need for technology and related infrastructure."
Delegates toured the Coega IDZ and visited various businesses in the energy sector, as well as Coega's Human Capital Solutions skills centre. They also visited DCD Wind Towers at its 23,000m² wind tower manufacturing facility. Gerry Klos, the executive director of the group, said the factory was at a phase where the production output was in line with the plant's capacity.
"Currently, DCD employs 150 people and there are plans to add additional shift systems to maximise the plant's capability. This will mean new staff will be trained," said Klos.
The CDC has built momentum on energy projects in both conventional energy and renewable energy so as to attract and sustain its investment projects.
Energy projects under construction include the Dedisa Peaking Power Plant, which is estimated to start operating in the second half of 2015 and consists of two open- cycle gas turbines able to produce 342MW.