Cape Town - Following years of hard work and preparation by all spheres of government, President Cyril Ramaphosa was on hand to launch the Atlantis Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at a ceremony in Atlantis, Western Cape.
The launch of the 124.5-hectare area is designated for the establishment of a green technologies hub in the Western Cape, follows the confirmed designation of the Atlantis SEZ status which was approved by cabinet on 8 June 2018.
"I must say it's a real pleasure for me to be here today at what one would call a new era for the community of Atlantis," President Ramaphosa said.
"The SEZ which we're launching today is an integral part of our effort to reignite economic growth, not only here in Atlantis, and not only here in the Western Cape, but throughout our country. We know that without significant investment, as well as economic growth, we will not be able to create work for the people of this province and for the people of this town."
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies previously said that the SEZ is designated for the manufacturing of green technologies, alternative waste management, energy efficient technology, alternative building material and many other clean technologies.
“A combined R1.8bn 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 National Development Plan,” Davies had said.
President Ramaphosa, along with Minister Davis and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, were given a tour of the facility on Thursday.
President @CyrilRamaphosa is in the Western Cape this morning for the official launch of the Atlantis Special Economic Zone. The launch of the 124.5-hectare area is designated for the establishment of a green technologies hub. #AtlantisSEZpic.twitter.com/brs1c36hlL
Andile Morobe is the production engineer at the plant. He is taking the President through the plate specification of the different thicknesses of the steel used in manufacturing the towers. #AtlantisSEZpic.twitter.com/gwX68dU3z3
Special Economic Zones are used to drive industrial & economic development with cluster industries from a particular sector located in geographically designated areas to get the benefits of scale, supported by a range of incentives aimed at attracting local & foreign investment. pic.twitter.com/88bE98z1w5
Davies added that in 2011, the Western Cape provincial government in partnership with the City of Cape Town established a manufacturing hub for green technologies in Atlantis, which attracted large investors even before the designation was official.
“Four of these investors are already operational with more expected to take occupancy within the SEZ in future once when the facility is fully operational. 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. The Atlantis community will be given priority in terms of job opportunities and opportunities for Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises, he says.
Premier Zille states that 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 focusses on sectors that prioritise jobs for young people, has a significant jobs impact in rural areas and opportunities for people with entry-level skills,” said Premier Zille.
She adds that as a green investment destination, the Western Cape offers an emerging national renewable energy and cleantech 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.
Daniel Erasun Mora, plant manager at GRI, explains the production process. The plant manufactures approximately 100 towers per year for wind turbines distributed around the country. #AtlantisSEZpic.twitter.com/UsgPsiXcbZ
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. #AtlantisSEZpic.twitter.com/2fUhisSwhA
Thendo Masia is the Quality & Environmental manager and manages a team of 13 people. She studied Engineering specialising in Metallurgy for her undergraduate degree at UJ and did her MBA with GIBS. She encourages more women to go into the engineering field. #AtlantisSEZpic.twitter.com/5pzSXzCB7e
The Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Dan Plato says he is very pleased to see the Atlantis community officially receiving its SEZ status.
“I want to thank all the levels of government, from local through provincial to national for pulling this together, as it really shows what can be achieved when everyone works together. This SEZ will secure major investment into Atlantis that has already started, and provide solid job opportunities and skills development for surrounding communities for generations to come,” highlights Executive Mayor Plato.