Greentech hub on the cards in Western Cape
President Cyril Ramaphosa will this week unveil a manufacturing hub for green and renewable technologies in the Western Cape's Atlantis industrial area, after its designation as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
SEZs are geographically designated areas of a country that are set aside for specifically targeted economic activities. The designation of Atlantis makes the area a special greentech economic zone.
The 124.5-hectare Atlantis facility hub looks to support suppliers and component manufacturers in the renewable energy sector, in particular independent power producers in the government's renewable energy independent power producers programme. This will in turn allow the area to capitalise on the province's renewable energy and green technology sector.
Rob Davies, minister in the Department of Trade and Industry, has confirmed the Atlantis hub is designated for the manufacturing of green technologies, alternative waste management, energy-efficient technology, alternative building material and many other clean technologies.
"A combined R1.8 billion is expected to be invested in the SEZ by 2022, with the creation of 1 200 direct jobs. A total of 24 000 full-time equivalent jobs are also expected to be created in the SEZ's 20-year lifespan. This is in line with our industrial policy and will contribute towards the objectives of the National Development Plan."
Green economy ambitions
As part of its "game-changers" strategy, the Western Cape government introduced the energy security game-changer. A priority project for the administration, the game-changer focuses on creating the energy security needed for economic growth.
Premier Helen Zille says the Western Cape green economy strategic framework serves as the province's roadmap to becoming the leading green economic hub on the African continent, and the SEZ's official launch is yet another step forward in this regard.
"We have identified the green economy, together with agri-processing and tourism, as key sectors under the Western Cape's economic strategy, Project Khulisa. It focuses on sectors that prioritise jobs for young people, has a significant jobs impact in rural areas and opportunities for people with entry-level skills.
"As a green investment destination, the Western Cape offers an emerging national renewable energy and clean-tech hub; a range of investment incentives in Atlantis Greentech SEZ; as well as major opportunities for investors in energy services, utility-scale solar and wind, waste, water, bio economy and resource efficiency."
Davies also highlighted the job and economic benefits of the manufacturing hub for small, micro and medium enterprises. "This development will also allow the people of Atlantis to become involved in economic opportunities right on their doorsteps, and play an integral part in growing their economy."
Newly-appointed Cape Town mayor Dan Plato also believes the SEZ will secure major investment into Atlantis, and provide solid job opportunities and skills development for surrounding communities for generations to come.