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Universities of technology eye rich prospects in waste

South African universities of technology are positioning themselves as critical partners in what is considered a fairly new but highly relevant area of research, innovation and job creation: waste recycling and management, an industry conservatively estimated by the government to be worth R25 billion (US$1.6 billion) per annum.

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A memorandum of understanding is set to be signed between the South African Technology Network or SATN, the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Technology Innovation Agency or TIA – the public entity tasked with getting innovations to the marketplace.

The initiative will harness the resources of universities of technology to build capacity, and formalise growing levels of cooperation around waste management between sectors. A unique masters degree in waste management – a partnership between SATN and TIA – is also in the pipeline.

The 5th Annual Waste Management Summit was held in Umhlanga near Durban last month, attended by 650 representatives of industry, academia, government and waste-pickers.

Speaking on the sidelines, SATN CEO Professor Anshu Padayachee said that there was growing recognition of the benefits of partnerships between universities, industry and government in the joint creation of an entrepreneurship ecosystem as a basis for the creation of a developmental state.

“As universities of technology, we constitute the best institutions to create new curricula and develop entrepreneurs. Industry is the biggest consumer of our product, which is qualified students, but there has been limited investment in return,” she told University World News.

“We would like to see industry invest more in terms of expertise and money to upskill staff and support students in interesting projects. We are open to that kind of partnership.”

An enabling environment

“After this conference I think there is a greater understanding of what we can offer in terms of research capacity, in terms of building innovative partnerships and technology stations and converting research ideas into entrepreneurial activities,” she said.

Padayachee said the government had been proactive in creating an enabling legislative environment for partnerships. Another positive development was the establishment of the Waste Management Bureau, which will monitor waste management plans and manage the money derived from government’s waste management charges.

The proposed new masters degree in waste management – aimed largely at biotechnology, engineering and science students – is likely to go some way to providing high-end technological skills.

TIA head of innovation skills development, Senisha Moonsamy, said the two-year programme was at approval stage and would be rolled out towards September this year. A network of international academics had been established to tutor an anticipated 40 candidates, and provide academic support and mentoring.

Dr Anitha Ramsuran, TIA’s manager of strategic stakeholder relations and communications for two provinces, said the issue of waste and its management – now critical in South Africa where approximately 80% of waste still ends up in landfills and over eight million people are without jobs – had more recently been seen as an opportunity for job creation.

Paradigm shift

“There has been a paradigm shift towards the idea of waste as a creator of jobs,” she told University World News. The idea would be to create new skills and foster entrepreneurship at all levels of the value chain, including at the level of waste-pickers.

“We intend to put out calls for new indigenous technologies aimed at pickers, so that waste collection can become a respectable and safe vocation,” she said.

TIA CEO Barlow Manilal said the memorandum of understanding had a number of focal areas, including the application of research, technology and innovation to waste beneficiation and the creation of entrepreneurs at every point along the waste value chain.

He was reassured by the level of engagement evident through the summit. “Around the world waste is a challenge for all kinds of economies and the desire to collaborate was greater than in other sectors,” he said.

However, addressing the increasingly pressing issue of waste management was also about challenging social attitudes. “Society needs to play a bigger role,” he said.

Mark Gordon, deputy director general for chemicals and waste management in the Department of Environmental Affairs, echoed the need for an integrated approach to waste management and acknowledged the role of higher education institutions in developing research methodologies and innovation that could inform development.

Job creation

But universities also had a role in developing the skills needed to take advantage of a recycling and waste diversion industry estimated to be valued at R25 billion per annum.

“There are huge opportunities for job creation among our 27% unemployed people,” he said.

Gordon said even waste collectors at the lower end of the waste recycling chain could benefit from formal vocational training around waste management. “A waste collector should be able to earn a formal qualification and become an artisan; he or she could be recognised as e-waste technician or dismantler,” he said.

“In the waste sector there are conversations between industry, government and higher education; there are memoranda of understanding, collaborations and partnerships. We now need to massify those efforts. There must be an integrated approach – and that’s happening.”

Referring to the Vaal University of Technology electronic waste recycling and management centre, which was launched at last year’s SATN conference, Gordon said his department wanted to see the model that brought together academia, government and the private sector replicated across all universities of technology in South Africa.

“E-waste is the biggest growing waste stream in South African and the world,” Gordon told University World News. Not only does the centre deal with recycling and management of e-waste, but it tries to address unemployment by engendering entrepreneurial thought and innovation among students.

Anshu Padayachee said projects like the Vaal University of Technology e-waste project offered opportunities for students to earn money through entrepreneurial activities, which they could then use towards tuition fees.

The issue of student fees has been the subject of a series of student protests in South Africa over the last six months with the national #FeesMustFall campaign calling for the scrapping of student fees.
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Source: universityworldnews


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Africa’s oil, gas and mining sectors must create more direct and indirect jobs to drive prosperity

At UNCTAD’s 17th African OILGASMINE Conference and Exhibition, taking place in Khartoum, Sudan, from 23 to 26 November 2015, governments, the private sector, and civil society will discuss redefining the role of extractive industries in job creation, both within the sector and in the broader economy.

Conference participants from all over the world will analyse the potential for exploration and production of oil and gas, and investment opportunities, in Sudan and other African countries.

The oil, gas and mining industries – currently employing around 1 per cent of Africa’s workforce – can do more to create more stable, direct and indirect wage-paying jobs that not only promote economic growth but also protect the environment and foster social inclusion.

In Africa, only around 5 million new jobs are created for more than 12 million young women and men joining the labour force every year, but an International Finance Corporation study in Ghana found, for example, that the creation of one direct job in the mining sector could generate 27 additional jobs in the wider economy.

Africa holds 8 per cent of world oil reserves and gas reserves, and the United States Geological Society ranks the continent first or second in its share of world reserves of a long list of metals and minerals, such as bauxite, chromite, cobalt, ilmenite, industrial diamond, manganese, phosphate rock, platinum-group metals, rutile, soda ash, vermiculite and zirconium.

The benefits that the extractive industries could bring to developing countries include revenues for host countries through production sharing arrangements, royalties and income taxes. The development of the extractive industries could also generate wider economic benefits and promote inclusive growth and sustainable development.

The extractive industries, given their capital intensive nature, may not create many direct jobs, but their linkages with the broader economy may help generate additional jobs. Through these linkages the sector is connected with the suppliers of inputs; outputs are processed into added-value products; demand is generated for locally produced goods and services; and an enabling environment is created for new industries using skills and capabilities acquired from the extractive industries.

To compare Africa’s potential with developed country experience, a recent survey of the United States’ oil and gas industry revealed that the industry as a whole generated over 9.3 million permanent jobs across the nation, among which are 3.1 million jobs in retail trade, and half a million jobs in health services.

Such jobs are not created automatically. Targeted policies such as developing linkages, removing entry barriers to specific industry value chains, building the necessary infrastructure to attract investment, improving access to finance and developing workforce skills needed, are crucial to expanding job opportunities and increasing employment.

Artisanal mining, as a labour intensive mining process, is, for example, well known to generate more direct and indirect jobs than large-scale mining. In Africa artisanal mining is estimated to create about 8 million direct jobs which support over 45 million people.

The conference, organized by UNCTAD and the Government of Sudan, is being held in the context of the new development agenda: Sustainable Development Goal 8 calls for action “to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value by 2030”.

Source: unctad


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South Africa spends billions on mining towns

South Africa has allocated R18-billion for distressed mining communities across the country. Headed by the inter-ministerial committee (IMC) in charge of revitalising mining communities, projects being undertaken include housing and wellness.
“Overall R18-billion has been dedicated to ongoing work in distressed mining communities, benefitting the following provinces: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West,” President Jacob Zuma said on 30 June.
“The bulk of this funding is from [the] government, with mining companies contributing approximately a third of the funding.”
Zuma appointed the IMC shortly after the Marikana tragedy, in which over 44 people lost their lives during labour unrest at the Lonmin mine in North West in 2012. Its mandate is to oversee the implementation of integrated and sustainable human settlements, improve living and working conditions of mine workers and determine the development path of mining towns and the historic labour-sending areas.

“The fundamental mandate of the IMC is to change the face of mining in South Africa working with business, labour and other sectors.”
South Africa had undertaken a socio-economic diagnostic study of the 15 prioritised mining towns and 12 prioritised labour-sending areas to get a better understanding of the extent of the challenges in each town and to determine the most appropriate actions to address these.

“In changing the face of mining, we are also drawing lessons from other countries,” Zuma said. He spoke about the Australia-Africa Partnership Facility, saying the country was benchmarking the policy and regulatory system governing the mining sectors in Australia, Chile, South Africa, and Zambia.

Housing
Regarding housing, the Department of Human Settlements was implementing about 66 public sector housing projects in the 15 prioritised mining towns. In the 2014/15, financial year more than R419-million was spent from the ring-fenced budget for upgrading informal settlements in prioritised mining towns in Limpopo, Free State, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North West.
“Overall over 7 000 units have been delivered in the mining towns.” For this financial year about R1-billion had been ring-fenced, which would deliver about 19 000 new houses.

Two of the housing projects were in Marikana, where about 500 houses would be built on land donated by Lonmin.
In addition to the ring-fenced human settlement grant funding, the department’s housing agencies have contributed over R1-billion to integrated human settlements in mining towns. This includes 17 341 loans of R239-million for incremental housing from the Rural Housing Loan Fund; R673-million delivering 3 405 mortgage and social housing units from the National Housing Finance Corporation; bridging loans of R95.6-million for 1 177 affordable houses and R36-million for 4 546 subsidy units from Nurcha’s Construction Finance and Programme Management.

Zuma said the government embraced partnerships.
“We understand that when working together, we can achieve much more that leads to a greater impact than when working in isolation,” he said, adding that stakeholders in business, labour and the government had actively supported and participated in formulating the government’s strategic approach for accommodating mineworkers in decent housing and living conditions in mining towns.

Creating jobs
Turning to socio-economic conditions, Zuma said that, led by the Department of Trade and Industry, the departments of Co-operative Governance, Traditional Affairs, Rural Development and Land Reform and Small Business Development were facilitating large and small scale industrial projects in the 15 mining towns.

These were critical in creating business and employment opportunities. In addition, Trade and Industry is helping selected municipalities and regions to develop and implement regional industrial development plans.
These include interventions in Bojanala and the Greater Tubatse local municipalities for the establishment of a platinum group metals special economic zone (SEZ).

Feasibility studies, business plans and the appointment of a project management unit have been completed and the SEZ designation and land acquisition is being finalised.

Others include the establishment of an agri-hub in Bojanala, Madibeng and Marikana for agriculture production and a processing facility, as well as the Vulindlela Industrial Park Revitalisation in King Sabata Dalindyebo Municipality, in Eastern Cape.
These projects, which include a multi-sectoral business park, will promote sustainable manufacturing investments into the region.

Health care
On the wellbeing of the miners, the Department of Health, together with the departments of Labour and Mineral Resources, is working towards the alignment of the industry’s occupational health and safety policy.
The goal is to build an enhanced social protection system, as well as reorganise the compensation system and access to benefits for former and current mineworkers.
“The Department of Mineral Resources is employing mine accident and occupational diseases prevention mechanisms through improved mine inspections, audits, investigations and monitoring of occupational exposure levels,” Zuma said.
Enforcement and inspections have been beefed up through 40 regional medical inspectors, analysis of annual medical reports from the mines’ provision of standards on workplace exposures, implementing inspection and audit tools for occupational health services, promotion of occupational health in the mining industry, and reviewing research relevant to occupational medicine in the mining industry.

Furthermore, the departments of Mineral Resources and of Health are employing strategic interventions to promote healthy and safe working conditions. These include ensuring the reduction in falls of ground accidents by 20% annually; actively promoting awareness of the National Strategic Plan on HIV, STIs and TB; preventing personal over-exposure to silica dust; and promoting active linkage of dust exposure to medical surveillance.

The Department of Health has established one-stop service centres to bring health and compensation services to former and current mine workers in the mining towns and in labour-sending areas.
There are centres in Mthatha in Eastern Cape as well as Carletonville in Gauteng. More one-stop service centres will be established in other provinces, beginning in Kuruman in Northern Cape and Burgersfort in Limpopo.
The state will also set up mobile units in neighbouring countries such as Lesotho and Swaziland during the 2015/16 fiscal year.

Operation Phakisa
Zuma said he was making good on his promise in his State of the Nation Address to launch a mining version of Operation Phakisa, the integrated delivery system in the health and oceans economy sectors.
It would be discussed when the National Consultative Forum on the Mining Sector met later this year.
“To date, the Presidency has engaged in more than 15 consultative meetings with the [chief executives] of mining companies, representatives of civil society and national office bearers of labour unions and there is overwhelming support for the Phakisa process.”

His government was determined, working together with other stakeholders, to steer the mining industry towards increased investment, growth and transformation while being mindful of the social, environmental and health impacts on people in mining towns and labour-sending areas.

“The migrant labour system has been the backbone of the mining industry in South Africa and continues to have an enduring impact on both mining towns and rural labour-sending areas,” he said, urging all stakeholders and communities to work with the government to try to revitalise the mining sector.

Source:southafrica


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South Africa: Eastern Cape Hooks Into SA’s Ocean Economy

With its 800km of coastline, South Africa‘s Eastern Cape is set to become South Africa‘s leading hub of maritime economic activity.

The province is home to the two major port cities of Port Elizabeth and East London, both established industrial manufacturing coastal centres, giving the Eastern Cape several strategic competitive advantages, says Mfundo Piti, the economic infrastructure development manager of the Coega Development Corporation (CDC).

The South African government announced in October 2014 that it would be implementing ocean economy projects, which it expected to contribute more than R20-billion to the country’s gross domestic product by 2019.

These projects form part of the government’s National Development Plan, its economic blueprint that aims to promote economic growth and job creation.

South Africa’s oceans have the potential to contribute up to R177-billion to the GDP and create over one million jobs by 2033, two decades from now, the government said.

Unlocking the ocean economy – part of Operation Phakisa, which aims to fast track transformation – has four priority areas:

  • marine transport and manufacturing;
  • offshore oil and gas exploration:
  • aquaculture; as well as
  • marine protection services and ocean governance.

“A thriving maritime sector will shift the Eastern Cape into an era of prosperity,” Piti says. “The momentum displayed so far by the local private-state nexus shows a strong capacity and desire to further tap the potential of a sector that has largely shaped the history of these two cities.”

Ports have always been at the forefront of maritime economic organisation, catalysing economic growth through the trade of manufactured goods, commodities and raw materials. They have helped transform underdeveloped regions into important trade centres which, in turn, has created jobs.

“As both entry and exit points, the two ports have been critical in the past, present and future of the province and indeed the country,” Piti says.

Nelson Mandela Bay’s Port of Ngqura, a deep-water sea port is adjacent to the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) It is becoming the fastest growing terminal in the world, according to Drewry Maritime Research quoted by the CDC.

The South African government has partnered with South Korea to establish a national shipping company.

“World sea traffic passes by the Eastern Cape on the East-West pendulum trade routes, opening up major opportunities for ship-building and repairs in the region,” Piti says.

Ship building and repairs
The world merchant fleet in 2013 comprised 106 833 vessels responsible for shipping goods and commodities between the continents, including visits to the three ports of the Eastern Cape.

During 2013, around 5 944 container ships, vessels and tankers were commissioned for construction by various countries. This represents an opportunity for the Eastern Cape to become a marine industrial centre for shipbuilding and repairs, Piti says.

While South Africa‘s ship-building industry holds international credibility through its shipyards in Cape Town and Richards Bay, the Eastern Cape’s “world-class industrial manufacturing economy will make the province an excellent contender for future shipbuilding activities in the oceans economy“, Piti maintains.

Nelson Mandela Bay and East London dominate South Africa’s automotive industry which means the province is already home to the necessary expertise, skilled labour, logistic services, Piti says.

“But there’s more that can be done,” he says. “The expertise of the industrial base should not only be extended for the ship-building industries but need to be extended further” – augmented by aeronautical components manufacturing, for example.

Food security

Marine food resources are depleting at devastating rates,” Piti says. “Between 60 and 70% of the world’s fish species are exhausted. And, with one out of every five individuals on this planet relying on ocean food as sources of protein, we are on the brink of food security crisis.”

The CDC plans to establish a R2-billion aqua-farming facility at Coega. Marine animals and plants such as finfish, abalone and seaweed will be farmed on 300 hectares in the Coega IDZ, creating 5 000 jobs.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth will be playing a critical role in knowledge generation for maritime and marine industries, Piti says. The university formalised ties with the UN-endorsed World Maritime University (WMU) in Sweden in 2013.

“NMMU is already making critical research contributions that will enhance the competitiveness of the region in environmentally sustainable ways. Several African countries attended NMMU’s African Maritime Domain Conference [in November 2013] to develop responsible governance policies,” Piti says.

Marine tourism

Cruise vacations offers Eastern Cape Tourism many opportunities to promote the province, Piti maintains. “We – or tour operators – should consider further partnering with cruise line operators and ground handlers to build on the current tourism offerings. It is an opportunity that has not yet been fully maximised to increase the much needed tourism spend in the Eastern Cape.”

Demand for the ocean cruises increased by 77% over the past decade, Piti says. The majority of passengers are American, followed by travellers from Europe.

“Our province is one of the most diverse and spectacular tourism destinations in South Africa, including rich cultural diversity, Big Five game reserves, stunning landscapes and, of course, a beautiful coastline with blue-flag beaches.

“We are also home to one of the first-ever Big Seven game reserves – Addo Elephant National Park – which integrates the Big Five with marine life to include the Great White shark and Southern Right whale.”

Port Elizabeth is South Africa’s water sports capital, home to major water sports event – including the only international Ironman event on the African continent.

Source: All Africa


 

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Recycling needs to become a part of SA culture

Sappi‘s well-known waste paper bins have a brand new ‘purpose’. They are used as collection points all over Newcastle, in KwaZulu-Natal, where people can donate their unwanted shoes to the local Rotary Club’s ‘Sole Struck Shoe Project’.
The waste paper bins were recently handed over to the Newcastle Majuba Rotary Club by Holland-born Nel Vuyk, owner of Waste Salvage – a local waste paper agent of Sappi’s ReFibre waste management division. Vuyk and her family moved to South Africa 17 years ago to take over the Newcastle-based recycling business. It was a perfect fit for Vuyk, because she grew up within a recycling culture.

“That is what’s missing in South Africa,” she says. “In Holland, due to the lack of space, recycling is a necessity. We can’t do without it. I remember how we used to go to the recycling depot as kids to trade in our newspapers for cash. We grew up being recycling-conscious.”

It’s not the same in South Africa. “Here space isn’t an issue, so people simply dig a hole and that becomes their new dumping site.” Vuyk’s company collects 100 tons of recyclable cardboard and 10 tonnes each of plastic and paper every month – an indication that Newcastlers are keen on recycling. But South Africans in general still have a long way to go.

“It’s all about making a conscious choice to create less waste and dispose of recyclable waste in the right way. If every person, in every household can commit to this, we will soon have a cleaner society – and save on resources,” says Vuyk.

Recycled material is an excellent fibre resource for the manufacturing of new products. The cardboard waste from Sappi’s network of agents re-enters the manufacturing cycle to produce containerboard for the packaging industry. Sappi Cape Kraft Mill in the Western Cape, for example, uses 100% recycled fibre in its production of linerboard and fluting medium. The mill uses approximately 67,000 tons of waste paper a year. Sappi‘s Enstra Mill in Gauteng also uses recycled paper in the making of linerboard, while the Tugela (KwaZulu-Natal) and Ngodwana Mills (Mpumalanga) use a percentage of paper waste in its production processes.

With over 20% market share in the local recycling industry, Sappi is also doing its bit for job creation and economic empowerment. The company has helped over 80% of its 70 agents to set up and sustain their businesses by supplying the necessary equipment and know-how. Many of these entrepreneurs, like Vuyk’s Waste Salvage, have been in operation for over a decade. Collectively, these agents supply Sappi with 275,000 tons of recyclable cardboard a year.

But much more waste could re-enter the production chain across a number of industries, including paper, glass, plastic, aluminium, ink and toner cartridges and computer consumables. All it takes is consumers who are passionate about recycling.

Source: Bizcommunity

Minister outlines SA plans, achievements at COP20

The Minister of Environmental Affairs Mrs Edna Molewa participated in the twentieth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 20), under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Lima, Peru. The UNFCCC COP 20 began in Lima on 1 December and will conclude on 12 December 2014. The high level-segment opened today, 9 December 2014.

Three years after the Durban United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP17), where negotiations were underway on the next steps to be taken to ensure an effective global response to the global challenge of climate change, COP20 is critical for setting the stage for achieving a global agreement in Paris at the end of 2015. Under South Africa’s COP Presidency, COP 17 achieved the historic agreement on the Durban Platform and the initiation of negotiations on a new global legal instrument, applicable to all countries, to be adopted by 2015 and to come into effect in 2020.

The Minister recently stated, “We are preparing ourselves to ensure that the UN climate change conference in Paris in 2015 delivers an outcome that lives up to the groundbreaking Durban Platform outcome of COP 17 / CMP7. And in doing so, we continue to engage with the science from the 5th Assessment Report of the IPCC… all the while deliberating, planning, strategising and taking practical action.”

As we near the deadline set in the Durban Platform, this meeting is critical as we work towards concluding the negotiation of a new multilateral legal agreement in Paris next year.

South Africa’s priorities for Lima COP 20 are as follows:

Firstly, to reach agreement on the elements of the new legal agreement, that is inclusive, fair, effective and adequate to keep temperature increase well below 2°C.

Secondly, there must be recognition that adaptation should be at the heart of the climate regime with multi-lateralism critical to offering protection of those that are most vulnerable;

Thirdly, it will be critical for Parties to reach agreement on the minimum information to be presented with Parties’ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, covering all key pillars of the negotiation, namely adaptation, mitigation, technology, finance and capacity building.

Fourthly, the Lima political agreement needs to elaborate on the legal form that the post -2020 regime should take; and

Finally, the Lima political agreement must confirm how developing countries’ contributions to the global effort to combat climate change will be financed, and whether the obligation to provide this support will be legally binding on developed countries.

The Minister goes to COP20 guided by South Africa’s National Climate Change Response Policy, which sets out the nation’s vision and framework for an effective response, and the long-term, just transition to a climate-resilient economy and society. SA’s policy objectives are to effectively manage the inevitable climate change impacts through interventions that build and sustain South Africa’s social, economic and environmental resilience and emergency response capacity; as well as to make a fair contribution to the global effort to stabilise greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations within a timeframe that enables economic, social and environmental development to proceed in a sustainable manner.

South Africa’s approach is one of promoting sustainable development by prioritising climate change responses that have significant mitigation benefits, AND have significant economic growth, job creation and poverty alleviation benefits.

Some of our country’s achievements in the past few years since Durban include:

We have a National Climate Change Response Policy that charts the course for actions that are both developmental and transformational.

A set of Long Term Adaptation Scenarios (LTAS) are b eing developed, under plausible future climate conditions and development pathways.

We are also working hard on reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Extensive work has been done, jointly with business and industry, to analyse the emission reduction potential in key economic sectors, and to understand the social and economic opportunities and impacts of reducing emissions. This work will lead to the establishment of desired emission reduction outcomes per sector, and carbon budgets for companies.

The National Green Economy Strategy provides the strategic directive to grow economic activity in the green industry sector, so as to attract investment, create jobs and improve competitiveness. It also provides the strategic direction for transitioning existing economic sectors towards cleaner, low-carbon industries with sustained socio-economic benefits and low environmental impact.

Source: African Environment

Cape Town City Council pushes for establishment of green technology hub in Atlantis

The City of Cape Town’s Council has supported the Western Cape Government’s application to the National Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for the designation of the Atlantis industrial area as a Green Technology Special Economic Zone.

This is the latest development in the City and its partner’s quest to unlock economic opportunities in this impoverished area, while at the same time contributing to the financial and environmental sustainability of the metro.

If so declared, this will be the Western Cape’s first Green Technology Special Economic Zone and we foresee that this hub will help to drive much-needed job creation. This also forms part of the City’s overarching efforts to ensure that investors increasingly choose Cape Town and the Western Cape as the top investment destination in South Africa. It is also expected that the interest from local and foreign investors in purchasing land in this green technology hub will grow.

In January 2011, the Western Cape Government’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDT,) through the Green Cape Initiative, started developing plans to establish a clean technology manufacturing hub in Atlantis.

This initiative was sparked by indications that the National Government was planning to procure large quantities of renewable energy from independent power producers. According to the Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity, proposed investments of between R10 – 20 billion annually over a 20-year period were foreseen.

Wind potential studies conducted over the past decade suggested that the Western Cape had the potential to generate 3,000 MW of wind power and had good solar irradiation potential. The location of renewable energy power plants in the Western Cape held the potential for localising manufacturing in this sector and for the attraction of catalytic investors to attract suppliers.

The City was, therefore, approached to release currently unoccupied land with industrial zoning in Atlantis for the proposed manufacturing hub. On 8 December 2011, the City’s Council approved a process for the establishment of a green technology manufacturing cluster on vacant City-owned land in the Atlantis industrial area. The sale or lease of two designated sites (or portions thereof) by way of a specialised land disposal management system was also approved. This system includes a rapid application and adjudication process available to qualifying applicants.

The City has already sold 7,8 ha of this 68 ha-site to Red Planet Horizon Trading, owned by Gestamp Wind Steel South Africa, to manufacture wind towers. This purchase is part of the City’s quick access-to-land programme for industries operating in the green economy.

To boost efforts in this area further, Council last year approved the Investment Incentive Scheme to boost job creation in Atlantis. Over 30 companies have taken up the incentives, resulting in more than R8 million in savings for companies from financial incentives. R500m in new industry investment has also been leveraged and this has helped to retain over 2 000 jobs.

There are a number of businesses in the pipeline who are looking to establish themselves in Atlantis. Currently on site is Gestamp Renewable Industries (GRI,) a Spanish company with a 100% shareholding in GRI Wind Steel South Africa, creating employment for 220 workers.

The expansion of a can manufacturing company is also underway. A total of 700 potential jobs will be created should the enquiries and pending business decisions materialise, including the number of jobs that the GRI investment has brought into Atlantis.

As an opportunity city, which is dedicated to redress, Atlantis is one of Cape Town’s priority areas.

The DTI’s feasibility study on Atlantis has shown that it is a feasible area for the establishment of a special economic zone.

The city is calling on its partners in the green technology sector to consider investing in Atlantis in order to make progress possible together. A development facilitation team has been established to fast-track investments and to assist potential investors.

Source: Cape Business News