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SEZs are safe locations for Foreign Direct Investment - published 28 Oct 2021

9003-hectare Coega Special Economic Zone, South Africa, Eastern Cape Province, City of Gqeberha

SEZs are safe locations for Foreign Direct Investment

Gqeberha, 28 October 2021 - Sustainable and successful industrialisation is largely dependent on a secure and conducive trading environment. One of the key value propositions of Special Economic Zones (SEZ) is its access control environment and are largely understood to be safe locations for private investment, says Dr Ayanda Vilakazi, CDC’s Marketing and Brand Head.

Dr Vilakazi reflects on the social unrest that took place in July of 2021, mainly in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, which account for 50 per cent of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), “as indicative that location remains a prime consideration for secure private investment.” According to National Treasury, South Africa’s risk premium increased, and the rand depreciated, as a result. Social unrest is estimated to shave up to 0.9 of a percentage point from GDP growth in 2021, according to reports by the National Treasury – notwithstanding potential value chain disruptions, temporary business closures and resultant second-round output effects.

SEZs are geographically designated areas of a country set aside for targeted economic activities, supported through special arrangements (that may include laws) and systems that are often different to those that apply in the rest of the country. SEZs have thus been established in many countries as a mechanism for attracting foreign direct investment, accelerating industrialisation and creating jobs.

The plants, equipment and property located within SEZ precincts continue to be safer than most for numerous reasons. Namely, access to SEZs are often controlled as security considerations rank high on the prerequisites of potential investors. Coega SEZ programme offers, amongst other important benefits including reduced corporate tax incentives, “an environment that is both safe and secure for local and international investors,” adds the confident Dr Vilakazi.

The security of Coega’s people, assets, and operations is critical to the very success and sustainability of the SEZ and its ability to achieve its strategy, providing a sustainable growth platform through its investments in high growth emerging markets. The SEZ’s are ISO certified in quality, health and safety, environmental, as well as integrated ICT management systems.

Safety is a fundamental aspect in the design, construction, and operation of SEZs, and it forms part of the Sustainable Development Goal 11 in which safety, resilience and sustainable development is emphasised. “Our approach to reducing crime or security incidents through the strategic design of the built environment typically employs organisational, mechanical, and natural methods to control access, enhance natural surveillance and territoriality, and support legitimate activity,” says Neville Andrew, CDC’s Security Manager.

A safe trading environment is important for industrialisation and boosting investor confidence. It is well known that industrialisation is closely associated with persistently faster levels of economic growth and development, as recently stated by the Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana. This is central to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goal 9: “Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.” “Industrial parks and by extension SEZ’s have the capacity to generate high productivity, stimulate innovation, promote investment, and foster social inclusion and environmental protection,” says, LI Yong, Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

Therefore, the Coega SEZ offers, amongst others, the following safety and security measures that add value for current and prospective investors:

  • Comprehensive physical protection system, incorporating building and perimeter intrusions detection systems, surveillance monitoring, and access control;
  • Physical Security Incident Management Systems (PSIMS);
  • Command and Control Centre fully operational 24/7/365;
  • Custom controlled areas and access controlled entryways;
  • Safety, health, environment, and quality support services;
  • Security Awareness Forum and related programmes;
  • Fit-for-purpose buildings and serviced sites;
  • Incident and crisis management supported by business continuity planning;
  • Governance and oversight with appropriate policy documentation;
  • Static and roaming manned guarding with tactical response team;
  • Secure and stable on-site data centre hosting of ICT infrastructure;
  • Network security and ICT disaster recovery. Coega has invested in two-tier 3 Data Centres, and this has enabled the organization to offer ICT Infrastructure, As a Service (IaaS) to investors in the SEZ and private sector clients, outside the SEZ;
  • ISO/IEC 20000-1:2011 for IT Service Management, and ISO/IEC 27001:2013 for Information Security Management; and
  • Fully trained security personnel in possession of required PSIRA grade certification.

Investors seeking safe locations, innovative business solutions, secured infrastructure must look at what the 22 years Coega SEZ offers. For more information about investment opportunities within the Coega SEZ, please visit:

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