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Coega Celebrates Women in Business - published 19 Aug 2020

Coega Celebrates Women in Business

Port Elizabeth, 19 August 2020 - The South African economy has been characterised by slow economic growth and high rate of unemployment and poverty. With the unemployment rate currently at 30.1% in Q1 of 2020, there is an urgency to improve economic growth by investing in infrastructure development programmes and providing opportunities to entrepreneurs and small businesses, says CDC’s Head of Marketing, Brand and Communications, Dr Ayanda Vilakazi.

Small businesses and entrepreneurship play an important role in stimulating economic activity and creating job opportunities, which in turn improve living standards of communities. It is no secret that women are increasingly taking their rightful place in the country’s economic activity by either establishing own businesses or leading large corporations.  Therefore, during this women’s month, we wish to support and encourage more women led organisations to play a significant role to stimulate the country’s economy and provide training and development to other women.

Women led organisations continue to speak truth to power. The CDC has positively responded by prioritising women empowerment, especially in the built environment and on its construction projects throughout the country and in areas where the organisation has operations.  

As the CDC continues to develop the 9003-hectare Special Economic Zone, a leading SEZ on the African continent located in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, women participation is important.

EMPOWERED BY THE CDC: Workers at one of the construction sites at the Coega SEZ. Ms Zukiswa Gaxela (right), owner of Langalokulunga Dynamic Trading, a 100% women owned construction business.

Zukiswa Gaxela (38) is the owner of Langa Lokulunga Dynamic Trading, a construction company that working on the development of the 30 563 square metre Pack House and Cold Storage Facility. Zukiswa has always been business minded and focused her energy in succeeding in the male dominated construction sector; therefore, she never hesitated to grab the available opportunities as a registered and qualified contractor.

“The main challenge in my journey as a small business owner is, amongst others, access to funding for the development of my company but that has not held me back, I kept on pushing,” says Zukiswa. 

Zukiswa has also taken part in community projects as part of empowering herself in the construction field. “The opportunity I have received from Coega is a great step forward for the growth of my business and the organisation has given me the exposure that I have always wanted,” she highlights.

“The construction field is male dominated, so for women to stand out we need to be confident, fearless and self-motivated to carry out our companies’ goals, successfully.” 

Zukiswa’s 100% women owned construction business has provided local communities much needed job opportunities and training.

EMPOWEREMENT AND DEVELOPMENT: Ms Ziliphi Nxele (right), owner of Nomdi’s Construction, a 100% women owned construction business.

The CDC has really made a good name for itself in championing socio-economic development in the region. It has been trying, notwithstanding challenges, to place the interest of small businesses such as ours at the centre of their projects development. I believe that small business development and support is crucial to address the scourge of poverty, unemployment and societal inequalities, says Zukiswa.

As an empowerment driven organisation, the CDC has pursued a number of initiatives, which prioritise empowerment to unlock opportunities particularly in the built environment i.e., infrastructure development and facilities management sector.  

Echoing the same sentiments, Ziliphi Nxele (50), the owner of a 100% women owned construction company currently working at the CDC Multi-Purpose Warehouse Phase 2, emphasised the importance of skills development and training.

“Running my own business has taught me so much on the importance of financial management and leadership skills, and that is the skill I wish to pass on to other women who want to grow their businesses,” says Ziliphi.

“Women have huge responsibilities.  As a mother, an all-rounder, and most importantly a provider for my family as the only source of income, I cannot afford not to improve my skills and business. Our strength as women shown that there is nothing we cannot do if we invest in empowering ourselves and ensuring that our daily responsibilities are organised accordingly.”

“Women can make success out of this male dominated business and that is if we learn as much as we can, ask for advice and seek help when we need to,” adds Ziliphi.

“Nothing gives us greater joy as the CDC during this women’s month to be celebrating women who are taking an initiative to make their businesses a success often under very difficult circumstances; Zukiswa and Ziliphi are women who have done so expeditiously and we are very proud of their achievements,” concludes Dr. Vilakazi.

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