Cape Town - In what promises to be a gamechanger for the Western Cape’s economy, the Atlantis Special Economic Zone (ASEZ) will become a focal point for investment in green technologies with local businesses and residents benefiting.
And now the provincial government hopes the special economic zone will boost the fortunes of the renewable energy sector in the province, contributing significantly to its economic recovery plan.
The ASEZ hopes to create 1 000 jobs with investments in green-tech manufacturing coming close to, if not exceeding, R3 billion during the first 24 months of operation.
ASEZ spokesperson Kerryn Marsden said: “Since the gazetting of the ASEZ as a government business enterprise, we can now enter into commercial arrangements with private sector businesses looking to benefit from the growing green technology sector globally.
“Essentially, this means that the ASEZ can enter into lease agreements and fully transact with investors, tenants, and partners for the benefit of the region around Atlantis.”
Marsden said this allowed the ASEZ to leverage national funding to provide world-class infrastructure to investors and partners looking to manufacture their green technologies in the most efficient and environmentally friendly manner right in Cape Town’s local area of Atlantis.
“With the provision of renewable energy, fibre internet connectivity and recycled water, the resource efficient manner in which green technology manufacturers can manufacture their goods adds additional value to their product at the global level,” she said.
Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC David Maynier said the ASEZ listing would also contribute significantly to the province’s post Covid-19 recovery efforts.
“We are both thankful to National Treasury and excited by the prospects of new investment into infrastructure and Greentech manufacturing in the Atlantis area,” Maynier said.
ASEZ CEO Pierre Voges said this was one of its largest achievements to date, alongside the signing of the sale agreement releasing land to the ASEZ from the City. He said it was aimed to create up to 1 000 jobs by landing Greentech manufacturing investment of about R3bn.
Speaking on behalf of the community, Atlantis Community Stakeholders Network chairperson Michael Marote welcomed the news as residents would now be able to directly benefit through this project.
Entrepreneur and community leader Peter Stofberg said although the ASEZ had not a big impact yet on the lives of Atlantis or the community, it uplifted spirits, provided much-needed hope and big promise to empower groups such as youth, women and small business.
ASEZ started with various training courses last year that the community would benefit from, and he hoped that career opportunities would result from the training.
In addition, Stofberg expected the national recognition of ASEZ to bring more enterprise development, tender training, access to funding opportunities, delivery on successful tenders, and a funding office so that local bidders did not lose out.
Economic growth Mayco member James Vos said since ASEZ’s emergence, it came to be a major player in the Greentech sector and brought in about R700 million with at least five largescale international investors that were fully operational and provided more job opportunities for locals.
“News that ASEZ has been scheduled as a provincial enterprise by National Treasury comes at an opportune time and we are looking forward to greater benefits for the residents and businesses.
“Cape Town and the Western Cape’s Greentech sector are poised for major growth this year,” Vos said.