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Cape Town's bid for special economic zone has weaknesses - board

May 08 2017 08:51

Cape Town – The Western Cape’s bid to designate Atlantis outside Cape Town a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) has not been approved as there are technical weaknesses and legal compliance challenges that need to be addressed.

That is according to a statement on Sunday by SEZ Advisory Board chairperson Julian Naidoo.

“Instead of advising the Minister (of Trade and Industry Rob Davies) not to designate based on these weaknesses, the board advised and gave the province the chance to address these weaknesses.

“In addition, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has provided both technical and financial support to the province to assist it to address these weaknesses.  

“Both the SEZ's secretariat  and the technical sub-committee have met several times with the province and have taken proactive steps to provide succinct feedback to resolve outstanding issues,” said Naidoo.

Davies dragging his feet - De Lille

In March, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille accused Davies of dragging his feet over the issue, which could see companies north of Cape Town getting a 15% tax break.

"If we had our way in the province and in the city‚ it would have been done years ago. We are still waiting on … Davies ... to give us a date as to when the special economic zone will be in operation,” De Lille was quoted as saying by Business Day.

She was speaking at an event where the City of Cape Town welcomed a R1.3bn investment in Atlantis by multinational corporation Pegas Nonwovens, which is set to open a new plant in the suburb.

Other major companies already operating in Atlantis Gestamp Renewable Industries, a Spanish wind tower manufacturer, as well as electronics manufacturer Hisense.

The R1.3bn project is the largest single investment facilitated by the Western Cape's investment agency Wesgro since 2011.

READ: Cape Town's Atlantis receives R1.3bn investment boost

The advisory board said it is dismayed and concerned by the “inaccurate dissemination of information regarding the processing” of this application by the media, which “appears to be aimed at applying undue pressure on the advisory board and ultimately forcing … Davies to designate the Atlantis SEZ”.

Naidoo said the disinformation attempts to portray potential victimisation and prejudice towards the Western Cape Province.

The proposed Atlantis SEZ is one of 10 initiatives agreed to by the economic ministerial committee, which comprises the ministers of trade and industry, economic development and small business development as well as the provincial MECs responsible for economic development.

The SEZ Advisory Board advises Davies on whether to designate a proposed SEZ.

“This advice is based on a range of commercial, technical and legal considerations whose purpose is to ensure the long-term economic viability of the proposed SEZ and also compliance with relevant legal requirements,” said Naidoo.



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