Health projects helping to heal local economy

JUNE 22, 2016

The refurbishment and upgrading of the Frontier Hospital in Queenstown and Mjanyana District Hospital in Ngcobo, as well as the upgrading of three clinics, is currently being implemented by the Coega Development Corporation (CDC).

By the time that these projects are completed, over 1 200 jobs will have been created in the rural areas. Of these, nearly 850 jobs were given to people from the local community, and 28 internships were created for local graduates.

In addition, site workers will have attended more than 1 463 technical and life skills courses.

“Our objective with every major project that we facilitate is to leave a heritage in the form of technical, life and business skills. The people and the business owners we have trained now have the skills they need to qualify for other tenders or to create projects for themselves,” says Dr Ayanda Vilakazi, CDC unit head marketing and communications.

The new clinics, which will replace older buildings, are the Qebe and Nkwenkwana clinics in Ngcobo and Isikhoba clinic in Cofimvaba.

CDC has retained the skills which built Africa’s most modern industrial development zone (IDZ) and has fine-tuned the management systems in order to help government agencies such as the Eastern Cape Department of Health to improve the quality of life for the people of the province.

Using a government agency rather than a private company to manage major projects has direct benefits for the local community.

“Our objective is socio-economic transformation rather than maximising profits. That means we spend more time and resources on supporting local small businesses and training members of the community,” adds Dr Vilakazi.

According to Duncan Grenfell, Head of Recruitment and Placement at Coega Human Capital Solutions, the R247-million Frontier Hospital project created 619 jobs, with 428 people being recruited from the local community. In addition, 10 internships were provided. Some 335 youth and 80 women were given the opportunity to work on the project.

Over 60 technical skills courses were presented to locals working on the nearly R20-million project, along with life skills courses, according to CDC project manager Michael Mabunda.

In Ngcobo, about 34 people attended technical skills courses during the R19.4-million Mjanyana hospital project. This included 38 youth and 12 women. Five interns were given the opportunity to work on the project and a total of 76 jobs were created in Ngcobo, and two small businesses worked on site.

At the nearly R20 million Qebe Clinic project, around 158 jobs were created, 99 of which went to people from the local community. Four local contractors have been involved in the project. There were seven internship opportunities for local graduates. During the project around 560 technical and life skills courses were provided.

At the R20-million Nkwenkwana Clinic some 199 jobs were created, with 154 filled by locals. Eight local contractors worked on the project and some six internship opportunities for local graduates were created. Workers on site attended around 809 technical and life skills courses.

Around 107 locals were given a share of the 160 jobs created by the R20-million Isikhoba Clinic project. There were five internships for local graduates, and 742 technical and life skills courses presented. Nine local contractors provided a variety of services.