Coega wins three top awards in 12th Annual National Business Awards


The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) won three awards at the prestigious 12th Annual National Business Awards (NBA), considered the “Oscars of South Africa’s business.” The announcement was made at the Emperors Palace in Johannesburg Wednesday, November 5.

The CDC won the Infrastructure Development and Top Performing Public Service awards, while its head of marketing and communications, Dr Ayanda Vilakazi, was named the country’s Top Executive of the Year (under forty years).  

In the Infrastructure Development Award category, the CDC competed against

  • The Billion Group;
  • Edwin Construction; and
  • Haw & Inglis Civil Engineering.

The Infrastructure Development Award is awarded to organisations that boasts an annual turnover that exceeds R35 million, and recognizes sustainable and efficient infrastructure development, which includes roads and railways, energy, water and sanitation, housing, and access to basic service delivery.

Last year, the CDC managed around 74 public infrastructure development projects such as schools and hospitals across the country with a total value of R4.7-billion.

For the second accolade, the Top Performing Public Service award category, CDC competed and won against other finalists such as the Department of Basic Education, Department of Roads & Transport, Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), South African National Accreditation System (SANAS), Statistics South Africa (Government Department), Supplier Park Development, The Playhouse Company and the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board. This is the second consecutive year that CDC wins and defends this award.

In the Top Young Executive of the Year Award category Dr. Ayanda Vilakazi was named winner.  The Top Young Business Executive of the Year Award under 40 years category highlighted the outstanding achievement of a young business executive who has contributed to the positive success and performance of an organisation through innovative strategies and solutions that delivers customer and shareholder value.

Dr. Vilakazi competed as Finalists against other formidable individuals from private and public sector companies, inter-alia:

  • Amasondo Fleet Services – Brenda Matyolo
  • Aramex South Africa – Jacques Cilliers
  • Benhaul – Pamela Segone
  • Coega Development Corporation – Dr. Ayanda Vilakazi
  • DQS – Debbie Bekker
  • Ekurhuleni Artisans & Skills Training Centre – Martie Jansen van Rensburg
  • Khaas Logistics – Connie Mdladla
  • KMH Architects – Wayne Mansfield
  • Longspan Gutters – Paul Marais
  • Palabora Copper – Keith Mathole
  • Recruitgroup – Juliette Attwell

“I was honoured to win such a prestigious award, which is an inspiration to many young business executives who believe in hard work, dedication to service excellence, patience, and are focussed on long term objectives instead of short term unsustainable gratification,” says Dr Vilakazi. 

He advised the young business executives to focus on personal development, innovation, and to assist their businesses to deliver both customer and shareholder value not only for this generation but for many generations to come. He discouraged the epidemic of tenderpreneurs, which in his opinion is misleading or deceptive success that is not sustainable.

 Judging Process

The National Business Awards went through a rigorous screening process by an independent panel of judges. The judging panel consisted of:

  • Mike Tsotetsi, the Chief Executive Officer of Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA); 
  • Lance Fanaroff the Join Chief Executive Officer of IntegrIT;
  • Alice Puoane, the Financial Director of Brand South Africa;
  • Adv. Brenda Madumise, PetroSA Director; 
  • Duduzile Maseko, City of Johannesburg Community Development Executive Director;
  • Kate Moodley, Discovery Consulting Services, Franchise Director;
  • Dr. Suzanne Ravenall, Executive Chairman of The Effectiveness Company; 
  • Dumisani Sangweni, Executive of  ATNS Commercial Services;
  • Johanna Mukoki, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Travel with Flair;
  • Kieran Godden, Liberty Corporate Chief Financial Officer; and
  • Philisiwe Mthethwa the Chief Executive Officer of the National Empowerment Fund.

The awards are presented in association with SA’s Top Perfoming Publication to honour South Africa’s industry leaders through the acknowledgement of innovative business processes, product development, enterprise, sustainability and overall business success. The awards also recognise the important social and environmental contributions made by organisations through the excellence of service, commitment to their customers, ethical behaviour and environmental sustainability.

CDC was recognised for its strong performance in the 2013/14 financial year but also taking into previous years’ successes.  The state-owned entity which operates the Coega IDZ made history as the first IDZ in Africa to attract double digit investments, signing 10 new investors in 2013/14FY drawing R1.84-billion into the Coega IDZ and Eastern Cape economy.

Since its inception, 51 000 jobs have been created, 16 131 of those in the past financial year alone.  Meanwhile, more than 67 945 people have benefited from the CDC’s skills development programmes, with 14 441 people receiving training in the past year.