MEC Alan Winde on support for Atlantis Special Economic Zone

Residents in Atlantis demonstrate support for the Atlantis Special Economic Zone

The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Western Cape Government, City of Cape Town and GreenCape today (11 October 2017) announced that the designation of the Atlantis SEZ for Green Technology received further support from the community and stakeholders during a special public meeting in the area.

The dti held the meeting as part of a 30-day public consultation process. This came after a notice to designate the Atlantis SEZ was published in the Government Gazette by Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Rob Davies, last month. The purpose of the meeting was for the dti to provide the public and interested parties with a final opportunity to comment on the proposed SEZ.

South Africa's Special Economic Zones have been developed by the dti using a proven framework, designed to generate thriving, sustainable industrial business environments, said Sipho Zikode, Deputy Director General, Special Economic Zones & Economic Transformation, The Department of Trade and Industry. The Atlantis Green Technology SEZ holds great economic and development potential, not only for investors but also for the local community, the Western Cape Province and the nation as a whole.

Attendees at the Public Meeting included Atlantis residents, community business leaders, local development groups and current Atlantis green technology investors. Overwhelmingly, comments and opinions expressed during the meeting were in support of the designation, recognising the great potential that the green technology industry holds for the area and its residents.

Local Atlantis community leader, Annie Petersen, said, The SEZ is very much needed in Atlantis, we have much to benefit. A programme like this can go a long way to lift up the community. My hope is that our younger generations can benefit from the green economy as well.

Atlantis was formed in the 1970s by the Apartheid-era government as an industrial node and community for people of colour. Businesses that were originally attracted to the area by government incentives moved away when these incentives ended, resulting in widespread unemployment. To date, many of its residents continue to face social and economic challenges. The Atlantis SEZ forms part of the City and Province's efforts to revitalise the area, with the aim of creating jobs, and developing local skills and infrastructure, among others.

Our vision is for the City of Cape Town to be a green economy hub in Africa. We have a long-held vision of having green technology at the centre of Atlantis growth and development, said Patricia de Lille, Executive Mayor, City of Cape Town. If designated, the investments and jobs created in the Atlantis SEZ will help contribute to what is already a thriving greentech sector in the City and the province.

Five existing green technology investors in Atlantis have already created 312 jobs, with total investments of R680 million. The goal is to attract R1.8 billion in investments by 2022, creating about 1 200 direct jobs.

Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, said: This public meeting was another milestone for the province in the process of establishing the Atlantis SEZ. It was an important opportunity for the community to comment on our plans, and to give us their input. With a global estimated market of US$3 trillion, green technology is the way of the future. For us, this means we are creating jobs that are sustainable. Sustainable jobs will go a long way towards improving the lives of community members in Atlantis and surrounding areas, today, and into the future.

The close and successful cooperation between the dti, Western Cape Government and City of Cape Town to establish the Atlantis SEZ, is a best practice example of strong collaboration between three spheres of government. Such combined efforts are helping to establish South Africa and Cape Town as globally-competitive, attractive, business and foreign investment destinations.

Mike Mulcahy, CEO of GreenCape, said: GreenCape has had the privilege to support the development of the Atlantis SEZ over the past seven years, and approaching designation is an exciting milestone. That said, there is still much work ahead, and we look forward to continuing our skills development efforts, including the work with young people in the community, and the work to attract more investments by promoting Atlantis as a world-class destination for green technology.

Source: Government of South Africa