Coega and NMMU reconfirm agreement on skills development and project partnerships

SEPTEMBER 23, 2015

The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) this week to ensure integration of their activities aimed at furthering skills development and research, and to adopt a co-ordinated and co-operative approach between the responsibilities of NMMU and CDC. 

In pursuit of this co-operative approach, NMMU would provide specific services related to development, training, research, testing, advisory and consultancy.                                                                  

NMMU has undertaken to assist the CDC to develop and implement strategy and development programmes that will improve skills and competencies within the specific sectors involved in the development of the Coega IDZ, in the context of the national skills development strategy.

In 2005, both institutions realized the importance of adopting a coordinated and co-operative approach to various activities including but not limited to skills development and research, instead of an ad-hoc, non-formalized, and uncoordinated approach that was taking place.  Subsequently, an MOU between CDC and NMMU was concluded in 2006.

As a number of years have passed since the signing, both institutions expressed the need to revisit, update and formally sign an updated MOU, which was concluded on Monday.

NMMU Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Leitch said the MOU was a commitment of the university to pursue projects in various sectors which may also be of benefit to the CDC which include oil and gas exploration, marine and maritime, nuclear, energy including renewable energy, and innovation.

In addition, the NMMU is working towards the establishment of a maritime and marine faculty and a medical school and to ensure the business school is working with business to address economic and leadership challenges facing our province and the greater South Africa. 

Professor Leitch re-iterated the university’s commitment to working very close with the CDC through a very high profile Dean of Faculties as part of the Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC).

CDC Chief Executive Mninawe “Pepi” Silinga said the organization was proud to be associated with NMMU. “Successful economies are marked by close working relationships between industry and academia.

The university would assist the CDC, amongst others, to keep up with new areas of knowledge and turn them into innovation including but not limited to business and systems analysis, so we are pleased to cementing this relationship,” Silinga said.

“It is our added hope that in two years’ time the MOU will find expression in concrete projects and programmes.”

Among the personal growth and development opportunities offered by the CDC to both staff and interns are the University of Cape Town’s part-time Business Analysis and Systems Analysis (BASA) diploma, and Prince 2 Project Management training. Training is also offered in communications, and more than 30 interns were trained in business etiquette in the past financial year.

A further 10 interns have been identified to enrol with the Thabo Mbeki Leadership Institute (TMALI). This is the evidence to show CDC’s commitment to work with various institutions such as NMMU to train staff and work on various projects, jointly.

In addition, earlier this month CDC acting-Investor Services Manager Thembinkosi Maduna, along with two Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) lecturers, Nadine Oosthuizen and Dr Janine Krüger, won an award for Best Paper at the 27th South African Institute of Management Scientists (SAIMS) conference.

The paper - Investigating investment promotion strategies at the Coega Development Corporation - was chosen from 142 academic papers from 23 local and international universities.

“The award lays a solid foundation for starting Maduna’s PhD within the investment promotion space and the business of Special Economic Zones,” said CDC’s head of marketing and communications, Dr Ayanda Vilakazi.

Image: FUTURE GROWTH: Mninawe (Pepi) Silinga (CDC Chief Executive) (seated, centre) and (right) Prof Andrew Leitch, (Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Engagement at NMMU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) yesterday (21 September 2015) at the CDC Business Centre in Nelson Mandela Bay. The MOU will ensure their activities and strategies are integrated and aimed at furthering skills development, research, testing and advisory services. Also present at the MOU signing were, seated left, Bonginkosi Mthembu (CDC Executive Manager: Corporate Services); standing (middle row from left), Fezile Ndema (CDC Manager - Performance Monitoring and Evaluation); Duncan Grenfell (CDC Human Capital Solutions  Head of  Recruitment and Placement); Jaci Barnett (Director – Innovation; Christopher Mashigo (CDC Business Development Executive Manager); Dr Ossie Franks (Dean- Faculty of Engineering); and  Dr Ayanda Vilakazi (CDC Head of Marketing and Communications); (standing back from left) Professor Cederic McCleland (Acting Dean- Faculty of Science);  Luvuyo Mkontwana (CDC  Head of Economic Infrastructure Development); Professor Steve Burgess (Director-NMMU Business School); Professor George de Lange (Director - Centre for Academic Engagement and Collaboration);  Professor Hendrik Lloyd (Director-School of Economic Sciences) and Professor Victor Exner (Dean - Faculty of Health Sciences).