President launches SA’s green tech hub

The Atlantis special economic zone (SEZ) is a 124.5-hectare area designated for the establishment of a green technology hub in the Western Cape, focused on green tech, alternative waste management, energy-efficient technology and alternative building materials.

“The Atlantis Zone has already attracted four large green tech investors, which are fully operational,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa, who officially launched the Atlantis Special Economic Zone in early December with Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, Economic Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato, local businesspeople, labour movements and civic society organisations.

Gestamp Renewable Industries, which we visited this morning, was the first of these investments. The company invested R300-million and has created about 220 jobs in Atlantis. The other investors are Resolux, with an investment of R25-million, Kaytech with an investment of R130-million, and Skyward Windows with an investment of R50-million. In addition to secured investments, the Atlantis Zone has an investment pipeline valued at R2.4-billion,” said the President.

He said the launch of the SEZ was the dawn of “a new era” for the community of Atlantis.

The objective of establishing the Atlantis SEZ is to unlock the underlying economic value of existing and underutilised infrastructure through the creation of a green tech manufacturing hub.

This, he said, includes exploiting its strategic location with its access to major national roads.

Its proximity to two ports, in Cape Town and Saldanha, provides advantages for exporters.

“The Atlantis SEZ is expected to grow the green tech sector in the Western Cape more broadly and revitalise Atlantis as a key industrial node in the region. In the short to medium term, the zone is projected to create over 1 400 jobs in Atlantis.

“The Special Economic Zone programme has been identified as one of the critical economic policy instruments for promoting industrialisation,” said Ramaphosa.

The Atlantis SEZ is the ninth of its kind across the country, although yesterday Cabinet approved the designation of the 10th special economic zone to be located in Inkomazi in Mpumalanga.

Benefits of the SEZ programme

“The SEZ programme is supported by a competitive incentive package, which includes, among others, a 15% corporate tax incentive, employment tax incentive, accelerated depreciation allowance, VAT and customs exemption, and infrastructure support,” he said.

The SEZs also address the legacy of apartheid spatial planning as they are being established close to where people live, where there is often deep poverty and where there is a great demand for jobs. Simultaneously, these sites have been selected for their proximity to ports, logistics hubs, related industry or raw materials.

“These SEZs can contribute much to reshaping the spatial landscape of the apartheid economy. Importantly, these SEZs attract foreign and domestic direct investment into the productive economy through a range of benefits.

“The special economic zones are key to unlocking the country’s competitive and comparative advantages. The programme has so far managed to generate R11.6 billion worth of private investments into the SEZs.


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