The Atlantis Special Economic Zone (SEZ), officially opened yesterday, offers multiple opportunities for local businesses and the community, Minister Beverley Schafer said.
Minister Schafer received the operator’s licence from President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday, signalling the official opening of the long awaited green tech zone which has been a collaborative effort between all three spheres of government.
Investors in the zone stand to benefit from a host of incentives, including tax incentives.
The special economic zone will contribute to job creation and has already provided opportunities for skills development in the area. Businesses supplying investors in the SEZ also stand a chance to benefit.
Minister Schafer said the community of Atlantis stands to benefit from opportunities for small businesses, skills training and development and economic stimulation in the area.
“We expect to create 1200 direct jobs by 2022 and 3000 jobs by 2030. These jobs would present opportunities for people, close to where they live.”
The project to develop the skills of high school learners in Atlantis is already yielding impressive results, with the learners enrolled in the project achieving a matric pass of 94% and a post-school placement rate of 74%.
Minister Schafer said: “The SEZ has already attracted R680 million in investment. While we welcome international investors across the green value chain, there are also a host of opportunities that exist in the IDZ for local businesses and residents.”
Among these are opportunities in:
The waste economy
The waste economy contributed around R24.3 billion to South African GDP in 2016. By diverting up to 20 million additional tonnes of waste away from landfill, this could unlock a further R11.5 billion per year in value by 2023.
In the ASEZ, opportunities exist in the management or re-use of waste materials like paper, plastic, metal and e-waste.
“Currently, South Africa only has one e-waste dismantling facility, which is based in Gauteng. We believe the SEZ is the ideal space for such a facility as fine metals could be exported from nearby ports and less valuable metals like steel could be sent to the Atlantis foundry,” Schafer said.
As more consumers become aware their use of plastic and plastic waste, opportunities also exist for the development of biodegradable or plastic alternatives.
A survey of 58 Western Cape companies indicated that they had collectively invested R120 million in water savings measures during the water crisis. In 2016, 94% of surveyed companies in the province indicated that water was a direct risk to their operations- indicating that there is major scope for water related businesses in the province.
The SEZ provides opportunities for wastewater, water metering, alternative water systems and water efficiency device manufacturers. Water efficiency and grey water systems alone present a potential market of R900 million per year.
The SEZ is already home to some manufacturers of wind turbine components, but the further development of the wind cluster remains an opportunity in Atlantis.
Additionally, the Western Cape has been pursuing solar PV as an alternative energy source, and 18 municipalities currently allow small scale embedded generation. The rooftop PV market is expected to reach R75 billion by 2035, presenting an excellent opportunity for Atlantis-based solar PV components manufacturer.
Approximately 15% growth is predicted in the use of controlled environment agriculture such as hydroponics and lower-tech solutions like shade netting.
“In the Western Cape, we’ve seen an increase of 291% in the use of shade netting in agriculture over the past three years. A manufacturer based in the Atlantis SEZ, would be ideally placed to tap into the fruit and grape growing markets here,” Schafer said.
Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato said: “The declaration of Atlantis as an SEZ is a declaration to the people of Atlantis and surrounding areas that government is serious about economic development, social development and job creation in your area. The Atlantis SEZ project has been part of our Integrated Development Plan (IDP), for many years now. And I am pleased that together with all the partners involved we are seeing that vision become a reality.”
According to Mike Mulcahy, the CEO of GreenCape, which currently runs the SEZ Project Management Office, "the SEZ programme in Atlantis has been successful due to strong collaboration between a range of local, regional, national and international organisations, authorities, and business organisations."
"The Atlantis SEZ is also collaborating with SA's other SEZs and industrial development zones (IDZs). This collaboration and strong links between the three tiers of government, increase our country's value proposition to foreign investors, and will help us tap into a global greentech market that will be worth $6,500 billion by 2025," Mulcahy said.
CEO of Wesgro, Tim Harris said: “The Atlantis Special Economic Zone for Green Technology is testimony to what is possible when all levels of government collaborate. It is also a reflection on how the Western Cape is a building an economy that will benefit from global growth in the future. But now the real hard work begins. We will work hard to tell the world to come to Cape Town and the Western Cape, and set up their green tech factory, right here in Atlantis."