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Council unanimously approved the transfer of land in Atlantis to the Atlantis Special Economic Zone (Ltd) on Thursday, 30 July 2020. This milestone decision will lay the foundation for attracting and securing more investment and unlock future employment opportunities in the Atlantis area over the coming years.

As a City, we are mindful of the economic challenges we currently face as a metro, province and nation. It is therefore very reassuring that on a matter of such economic importance, all parties saw fit to support the land transfer to initiate the Atlantis Special Economic Zone operations (ASEZ). The general industrial zoned land is valued at R56,5 million and will form part of the Atlantis Green Technology Hub.

This green technology growth and investment opportunity could not have come at a better time. Together with the City’s Enterprise and Investment Department, it is our priority to do everything to show that Cape Town is open for business and ensure that we have the resources to guide potential investors.

With this approval, it is projected that by 2034, 15 years after the beginning of construction, this SEZ will contribute an estimated R15 billion to the provincial economy, with thousands of new jobs. This is a declaration to the people of Atlantis and surrounding areas that government is serious about economic and social development as well as job creation in the area, with some R680 million already invested in the SEZ before it was officially launched.

However, for me, this is not just about the smart use of City real estate. This is also about Atlantis residents benefitting from this SEZ, through the community representatives on the ASEZ entity board, who will guide the skills development and small business development initiatives built into the programme. This builds on the momentum the City has gradually achieved since 2012, when Atlantis was declared a green technology hub with a fast disposal system adopted to facilitate green manufacturing.

Recognising that a local source is key to the upliftment of Atlantis, the City’s Enterprise and Investment’s Atlantis Investment facilitation project team, together with GreenCape, have focused on developing long-term skills that would be required in the Atlantis area, and worked hard to leverage private sector skills development. The launch in 2018 of the Lesedi Skills Academy in Atlantis is a great example of this.

The City of Cape Town has and will continue to highlight the ‘#employlocal’ opportunity, ensuring appropriate skills and upskilling the community in Atlantis is a key enabler of success for the SEZ.

The approval of the land transaction is a culmination of the City’s efforts as well as our national and provincial counterpart to get us on the path of economic readiness and recovery.

As outlined in the body of the report tabled to Council, in a Memorandum Of Understanding with the Western Cape Government, we will continue to streamline processes for larger investments in the City, including the offering of financial and non-financial incentives.

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