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It is with great excitement that the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape Government, and GreenCape welcome the notice to designate Atlantis a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies.

The notice to designate a total land area of 124,5 hectares of land in Atlantis as an SEZ was published in a Government Gazette on Friday 8 September 2017.

The land area of the SEZ is situated in the Atlantis industrial area, north of Cape Town.

Members of the public can now submit their comments or objections to the notice within 30 days from the date of publication on 8 September 2017.

The notice provides the public with the opportunity to provide input to the Department of Trade and Industry. Following the public comment period of 30 days, questions and answers on the application will be reviewed and finally submitted to Minister Davies to table at Cabinet.

The declaration of Atlantis as an SEZ is a declaration to the people of Atlantis and surrounding areas that government is serious about economic growth, social development, and job creation in the area.

I extend my gratitude to Minister Davies for this latest move, MEC Alan Winde and his department as the lead applicants for the designation, the team at GreenCape, and all other partners who made this happen by passionately supporting the application.

I call on all residents in Atlantis and across Cape Town to support the designation and submit their comments to the Department of Trade and Industry so that we can continue making progress possible and create even more jobs for our people.

This history of Atlantis has been marked by economic despair when residents were placed on the outskirts of the city by the apartheid government. During that time, many companies were incentivised to open operations in the area. However, with the global economic recession in 2008, many companies closed down, causing widespread job losses.

As part of the City’s economic and social development strategies, in 2012 we embarked on a project to bring jobs back to the area with the Atlantis Revitalisation Strategy.

The City identified an opportunity to establish a GreenTech hub that would tap into growing global GreenTech market opportunities while addressing unemployment challenges in Atlantis.

To date, the City’s efforts towards its vision for a GreenTech hub include providing land as a greentech industrial park to support the revitalisation of Atlantis as a strategic development node and providing financial and non-financial incentives for investors.

The incentives provided by the City to attract investment include fast-tracking land use and building plans, a reduced electricity tariff, providing exemption of application fees for land and building plans, and debt write-offs to businesses that meet employment targets.

By 2016, the total uptake of non-financial incentives was 1 039, and over R40 million worth of financial incentives since 2013. The uptake in the electricity tariff subsidy in Atlantis remains the most significant, supporting business retention with 1 450 job opportunities retained.

Further investment by the City included infrastructure upgrades with roads, the MyCiTi route, electricity and installation of fibre-optic cables.

The City’s land and infrastructure will form the backbone of the SEZ.

In line with our Organisational Development and Transformation Plan objectives to collaborate, build partnerships and position Cape Town as forward-looking, globally competitive business destination, the designation of Atlantis as an SEZ will be an excellent example of government cooperation in action between the three spheres of government and special purpose vehicle companies such as GreenCape.

Atlantis has already attracted major investment to the tune of R680 million, while the revival expected in the area as a result of the SEZ status will present massive opportunities for companies who invest in the area.

Since GreenCape was established in 2010, the Western Cape Government has focused on a vision of becoming the leading green economic hub of the African continent and published the Green is Smart strategy in 2013 as the roadmap for that vision.

The Western Cape Government and the City have worked to put investors at the centre of the SEZ process and will work to ensure that the land is available for investment throughout the process.

GreenCape has been an invaluable partner in this process, undertaking project management work on behalf of the Department of Trade and Industry, the Western Cape Government and the City, driving the necessary documents, studies and technical requirements to propose the designation of Atlantis as an SEZ. GreenCape has engaged many stakeholders along the way in Atlantis and across the country.

Atlantis is poised for great success, with a range of additional incentives that will be available to investors once the SEZ is officially declared.

This in turn will strengthen economic growth and job creation in the region.

Some of the investment to date include:
· Five investors are operational in the proposed zone (totalling approximately R680 million in investment)
· Two further investors are in advanced stages of negotiation with the City to lease the land
· R1,8 billion in investment is anticipated before 2022, creating about 1 200 direct jobs.

MEC for Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, said: ‘This is an important milestone in the development of the SEZ in Atlantis. We know the SEZ will deliver an economic boost to Atlantis, and the Western Cape. There is already investment in excess of R600 million in the SEZ, creating hundreds of jobs. We know that South Africa is the world’s fastest growing green economy, and in partnership with GreenCape we are establishing the province as the hub of this growth. The Western Cape is home to 60%of the country’s green project developers and two-thirds of South Africa’s green manufacturing happens in this province. The SEZ is also an excellent example of the power of partnerships between all spheres of government’.

Chief Executive Officer of GreenCape, Mike Mulcahy, said: ‘This is a big step towards having an operational SEZ in Atlantis, however, there remains a formidable amount of work in front of the teams. The Atlantis SEZ project has seen all three tiers of government working together to ameliorate the impact of the Apartheid spatial planning. GreenCape will continue to focus on helping GreenTech manufacturing companies invest and establish in Atlantis, creating sustainable, future proof jobs’.

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