President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the launch event of the Special Economic Zone at the Robinvale Stadium in Atlantis. Photo: Siyabulela Duda (GCIS)
Cape Town – President Cyril Ramaphosa has hailed the Atlantis Special Economic Zone (SEZ) as the dawn of a new era for the community.

He addressed the community and dignitaries at the launch of the 124.5hectare SEZ earmarked for the establishment of a green technologies hub in the Western Cape.

The development is designated for the manufacture of green technologies, alternative waste management, energy-efficient technology, alternative building material and many other clean technologies.

Ramaphosa said the SEZ was an integral part of the government's effort to reignite economic growth by attracting investment and creating jobs.

“We know that without significant economic growth, we will not be able to create work for the people of the province and the country, and without substantially higher rates of investment, we will not achieve growth,” he said.

Ramaphosa said the SEZ programme had been identified as one of the critical economic policy instruments for promoting industrialisation.

“Atlantis used to be an area designated for special tax incentives and it was successful in creating industries and jobs. We are certain that these successes can be repeated and surpassed,” he told the gathering.

"The launch of the Atlantis SEZ is the culmination of an extensive process of consultation and technical evaluation. It is the product of close co-operation between different spheres of government working together towards the realisation of a common goal. 

"The public consultation process involved stakeholders such as organised labour, business and the broader community.

The development follows the confirmed designation of the Atlantis SEZ status, which was approved by the cabinet on June 8.

The cabinet set out two main conditions in giving approval for the designation of this SEZ.

“First, the zone must have community and organised labour representatives on the entity's board. Second, the local community and SMMEs must be prioritised in the SEZ’s job creation and empowerment programme.

"This is part of our commitment to put people first as key drivers of the economy,” he said.

An estimated R1.8 billion was expected to be invested in the Atlantis SEZ by 2022, creating at least 1200 direct jobs, with a total of 24000 full-time equivalent jobs also expected to be created in the SEZ’s 20-year lifespan.

Ramaphosa said Gestamp Renewable Industries had invested R300million and created about 220 jobs in Atlantis.

The other investors were Resolux investment (R25m); Kaytech (R130m); and Skyward Windows (R50m), with an addition to secured investments.

The Atlantis Zone has an investment pipeline valued at R2.4bn.

The zone is projected to create more than 1 400 jobs in Atlantis in the short to medium term.

Ramaphosa said that through manufacturing, job multipliers were estimated to rise to about 4500 for the West Coast region.

He said the country had to continue to harness the power of initiatives such as the Atlantis Zone, which brought together business, organised labour and government in a single marketplace.