Statement By The City’s Mayoral Committee Member For Economic Opportunities And Asset Management, Alderman James Vos
Recent media reports have created the impression that the City’s processes have hindered growth and job creation. It is vital that I clear up any misconceptions and share some key facts on what the City does to attract investment and encourage development.
A few weeks ago, at an industry engagement session, I shared the City’s commitment to working with the property development sector. The development sector is a valued job creator and a major source of investment for the construction industry as well as the city.
The Enterprise and Investment Department, which is part of my portfolio, creates an enabling environment to attract investment that generates economic growth and job creation in Cape Town. Based on the concept of a one-stop-shop, this model allows various City departments to work collectively with investors and businesses to make sure they have a smooth landing in Cape Town.
Testament of this fact was the World Bank and National Treasury’s ‘Doing Business in South Africa Benchmark Study’ ranking Cape Town as the best city in South Africa in 2015 and 2018, when dealing with construction permits. This authentication placed the City in the top 25% of city economies worldwide. This is because the City’s Development Management Department improved the building permit issue turnaround time from 45 days to an average of 17 days.
Cape Town was also the top city in the country in terms of providing electricity, placing us in the top 20% of city economies worldwide in the World Bank’s ranking.
Our commitment is to be the go-to city for all investment and to do that we need to make it easy for people to invest in Cape Town and constantly improve our offerings to the business community.
We walk the talk and put our money where it will help grow the economy.
The announcement last year by Amazon to build three data centres in Cape Town came off the back of our officials in Enterprise and Investment working with this global tech giant for more than two years. The company was helped to identify land for their centres and assisted through all the regulatory processes.
Construction on this multi-billion rand investment started less than three months after the submission of land use and building plan applications – a period which included the festive season and was made possible due to the professionalism and commitment of City line departments and their understanding of their role in enabling economic development in the City.
The same has been done for many other investors and businesses including the R1,3 billion investment by PF non-wovens who are constructing a non-woven textile factory in Atlantis. This is one of the biggest manufacturing investments into South Africa in recent years.
Additionally, Gestamp, a wind tower manufacturer in Atlantis was able to start operating 11 months after first meeting with the City’s investment team.
The Enterprise and Investment’s development facilitation branch also assisted in unblocking a R450 million mixed use development in Woodstock. The project was held up by complex land-ownership and zoning issues that prevented the development from going ahead. Through the collaboration between the developer, the transport department and the development facilitation unit, we were able to unblock the issues.
Research done by Red Tape Reduction Unit of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape and Stratecon indicates that the efforts by the Development Department and the implementation of their Development Management Application System saved developers and other customers over R223 million in costs, between the years 2015 and 2019.
I am proud to say that Cape Town is running with the best. As the second largest municipal economy in South Africa and the second most important contributor to national employment, we will do everything in our power help stimulate job creation and grow the economy.
The Enterprise and Investment Department is on hand to work with potential businesses to help set-up business operations and expand, assist with enterprise and supplier development by providing market access and match-making, providing expert knowledge, support and development opportunities to small and medium-sized businesses, and facilitating licenses and permit approvals, among a number of other areas of expertise.
We want Cape Town to be the top business destination in Africa. We want to attract investors who inject money, vision and innovation into our economy. We want to build with them. We want them to thrive, because if they thrive, our economy thrives.
The Enterprise and Investment Department also has a development facilitation branch which supports private sector and inter-governmental development projects through infrastructure co-ordination and development planning. To assist potential investors, the unit co-ordinates City development services whilst drawing on the services of the City’s external business support partners.
But we are not only externally focussed. The City recently piloted an exciting initiative within the organisation in the Development Management Department, the “I Mean Business” project which seeks to embed an ease of doing business culture, mind-set and deed. The aim is to ensure employees, systems and processes are all aligned towards improving the internal and external business environment for potential businesses to invest and grow.
We have an open door for engagement and remain committed to working with organisations that we see as strategic partners in our quest to attract further investment to the city. The Western Cape Property Development Forum and the Cape Chamber of Commerce have regular engagements with the relevant City departments about development and bottlenecks in the system. We remain committed to addressing challenges and working with partners to achieve progress and ensure that we continue to hold into our status as a world-class city.
If we are missing the mark, we ask our partners to be upfront with us. We will continue on this mission to work with key stakeholders such as the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Western Cape Property Development Forum to tackle challenges, together, so that all industries can perform optimally and continue to attract investment for sustained economic growth.
Invest Cape Town is on hand to provide advice and work with potential businesses wanting to land in Cape Town and may be contacted on the telephone number 021-417 4043, or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town