This week we had the pleasure of presenting the City of Cape Town’s economic development plans and findings to a Parliamentary oversight committee.

Following welcome remarks by the Executive Mayor Dan Plato on the importance of different spheres of government working together to achieve progress, the City detailed our strategies and projects over the past three years, including work in Cape Town’s high growth sectors, our Economic Action Plan response to the pandemic, and our incentives policy and investment facilitation.

While the pandemic has wreaked havoc on so many economies and businesses, it is not all doom and gloom. Through strong partnerships within our department, our Strategic Business Partners (SBPs), and the business ecosystem in Cape Town, we have come up with a range of plans and programmes, some of which are in full swing and some which are in the planning phase.

It is these very initiatives that helped us to quickly pivot to provide the necessary support to businesses and to mitigate much of the worst of the economic crisis. Now, we’re able to expand on many of these projects.

One such initiative was the Investment Facilitation Unit and their incentives policy, which helps potential investors to navigate municipal processes in the metro.

As much as possible, we want to create the conditions that allow for the ease of doing business. This dedicated team within my department works with companies who want to land investments here as well as existing companies wanting to expand. Through this unit, we provide financial and non-financial incentives and we’re working now to make that policy even more inclusive, allowing more businesses – and more diverse businesses – to grow.

The incentives include:

  • Prioritising single-point investment facilitation
  • Fast-tracking building plan applications
  • Fast-tracking land use applications
  • Fast-tracking occupancy certificates
  • Building plan application fee waiver
  • Land use application fee waiver
  • Development contribution deferral and write off up to R1 million
  • Special electricity tariffs for a period of two years

In just the last financial year, the unit has:

  • Engaged with some 247 companies and organisations, resulting in breaking ground on investment projects valued close to R15 billion
  • Realised the expansion of the Atlantis Investment Facilitation Office which will focus on broadening investment opportunities in and around the area, particularly the community’s booming greentech industry
  • Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E) programme
  • Covid-19 Industrial Action Plan
  • Approximately 30 000 SMME Toolkits & Booklets Distribution
  • Over 20 investments supported and confirmed, including Amazon Web Services

Partnerships with City-funded SBPs have also helped to lay the groundwork for a fertile investment environment in Cape Town. Through a genuine analysis of the metro’s economic geography, my team and I were able to gain an understanding of what stifles people and economic growth and, inversely, understand which sectors are able to absorb more people for training and then job placement.

These SBPs have helped bring R9,7 billion in direct investments into Cape Town, directly created 10 194 jobs, while training a further 3 405 people in various skills suitable for the IT, call centre, greentech, craft and design, and clothing and textile sectors, during the 2020/21 financial year.

I joined the delegation for site visits to two businesses who have achieved sustainable growth in the last few years. Our first stop was in Diep River to meet the team at Sigma International call centre, which employs many young people who have been trained through the City’s Cape Skills and Employment Accelerator Programme while servicing major clients around the world. The second business was Honest Chocolate, a CBD-based chocolatier that receives funding from the Small Enterprise Development Agency and who will soon be exporting its ethically-sourced goods internationally.

What’s our endgame? It’s about jobs and growing employment opportunities. It’s about businesses and helping them to stay afloat and expand to the greater benefit of Cape Town and South Africa.


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