Coega celebrates Workers Month

MAY 17, 2016

Leading Transformation in the Workplace

The origins of Workers Day date back to the 1800’s, a period signified by the struggle against unfair labour practices, inequality in the workplace and unfair employment standards.

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the ILO Declaration of Philadelphia of 1944 recognized that "labour is not a commodity" therefore, work must be seen as part of everyone's daily life and is crucial to a person's well-being and development.

Although Workers Day dates back to ancient times, the significance of it remains relevant in light of the various economic challenges faced by South Africa. As indicated by a study done by the World Bank, key to high performing economy is: an aggressive job creation and skills development plan.

Moving towards the right direction despite the economic challenges faced by South Africa and the rest of the continent, is the leading catalyst for championing of socio-economic development, the Coega Development Corporation (CDC). Much of CDC’s foundation is premised on improving the lives of those who live in South Africa through economic development. Therefore, although job creation and skills development is key to CDC’s core business, stimulating economic growth through investment and client attraction is equally important to achieving the end goal. 

CDC’s approach to employment equity and diversity

Against the historical backdrop of South Africa which is signified by over 450 years of discrimination against people on the basis of:  race and gender, and the exclusion of people with disabilities, the government felt it fitting to enact legislations such as the Employment Equity Act, Skills Development Act and the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Act.

These legislations carry the mandate of redressing the inequities of the past and to ensure diverse and inclusive organisations that create sustainable development, economic growth and equality are formed.

In compliance with the national agenda, the CDC as an institution of learning and growth strives to create and foster an inclusive and transformed work environment that is fixed on rectifying the inequalities of the past by ensuring that the members of designated groups have equal opportunities within the company.

As indicated in CDC’s Employment Equity Report of 2015, impressive strides have been made in so far as gender and racial representation. During the 2014/2015 FY it was reported that of 580 various racial and gender groups employed by the CDC, 47,4% are women and 80,5% are African while, approximately 18,75% African women account for CDC’s top management positions. On the other hand, steady progress has been made in so far as disability equity. Against a set target of 2%, 5.46% was achieved, a commendable achievement yet to be improved.

Investing in CDC talent

Over and above CDC fervently driving development and retention of critical skills in order to increase necessary capacity and levels of flexibility so that it has the aptitude to deal with its own complexities, it also realizes the importance of encouraging skills development initiatives that add to the personal and professional growth of an individual – which is a crucial factor for a person’s well-being if they are to remain motivated, productive and committed. 

In light of this, the CDC during the 2015/2016 FY provided training and skills development opportunities mainly in Prince 2 Management and a Coega Women Leadership Workshop. In total, 60 employees benefitted from both programmes with 36 employees gaining a Prince 2 Management qualification. 

Additionally, as part of providing an environment conducive for growth and development for interns, a total of 19 graduate trainees benefitted from the Business Analysis and Systems Analysis programme offered by the University of Cape Town (UCT) and the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute.  While in the past financial year, more than 30 interns were trained in business etiquette.

Impacting communities through job creation

However, CDC’s impact does not just remain within the four walls of the organisation, it equally extends to communities around the Eastern Cape and South Africa. 

Therefore, CDC as an implementing agent that provides total project management solutions for government infrastructure projects, has in the 2014/2015 FY, through the Department of Education (DoE) KZN projects, created over 1800 jobs for the KZN community.  Furthermore, over 2000 jobs have been created through Provincial Treasury Infrastructure Programmes (PTIP) - which various communities in the Nelson Mandela Bay benefit from.

In addition, CDC has introduced new and innovative ways to ensure that the local community has a fair and equal chance of gaining employment opportunities on projects. Therefore, to manage labour needs for infrastructure development projects, the CDC has developed Ncedo labour management system, which is inclusive of the recruitment and skills training for local people.

The management system has been used on multiple sites for a complete overview of labour matters in cases of large and geographically dispersed projects; and also draws off the G2O database for suitable candidates in the area. Through the Ncedo System, a milestone of 1250 employment opportunities created in the Cecilia Makiwane Phase 4C project has been exceeded to 3371, with more than 80% of the opportunities going to local communities.

Since inception, the CDC has provided training for over 85 886 South Africans and

96 776 direct through Coega IDZ and government infrastructure development programmes. Additionally, as regards SMME achievements, 46.17% contracts were awarded to SMME by the CDC.

The commitment of CDC to socio-economic development and transformation has earned them prestigious accolades over the years. Recently, the CDC at the 15th Oliver Empowerment Awards Ceremony walked away with the: Legends of Empowerment & Transformation, Top Empowered: Vision 2030, Top Empowered: Job Creation Award.

In addition, in 2015 and 2016, the CDC was certified as a Top Employer in the Public Service thus proving the organisations constant efforts to achieve the highest standards of excellence in employee conditions. 

Image: CELEBRATING WORKERS MONTH: key to high performing economy is an aggressive job creation and skills development plan. Since inception, the CDC has provided training for over 85 886 South Africans and 96 776 direct jobs through Coega IDZ and government infrastructure development programmes.