NATIONAL NEWS - The City of Cape Town on Thursday said it has taken a decision to release vacant land for the production of medical cannabis in Atlantis, which would see billions being invested and hundreds of jobs created.
Mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management James Vos said the report approved by the City’s Council to release the land was testament to its commitment to partner with the private sector to explore new opportunities to grow the economy, and to seek approval for the transfer of a portion of vacant land within the Atlantis Special Economic Zone for the establishment of the first medical cannabis plant in the metro.
“This positive move by the city gives us the opportunity to unlock the economic benefits with the resultant job creation opportunities that this emerging industry will present,” said Vos.
According to the city, the set-up of the facility will bring with it an investment of R638 million in capital expenditure during the construction of phase one, a further R1.5 billion will be invested during phase two, which is expected to commence in about four year’s time, and by the end of phase two, employment opportunities for 250 individuals would have been created.
Vos said: “It is personally a very exciting opportunity to be on the forefront and driving the future possibilities that this landmark decision means for the city and the region. My portfolio oversees the identification, facilitation, and promotion of economic opportunities within the city, and as such, we welcome the investment and the expansion into untapped economic sectors.”
He added that Atlantis was known for its green economic opportunities, and this new industry could potentially bring significant income, jobs, and skills development to the area.
“This is yet another area of untapped economic potential that the team in the city’s enterprise and investment department along with Wesgro have been pursuing and working with potential investors in this space to see how we can land their investment in Cape Town. Wesgro led the engagement sessions between the stakeholders (government and the private sector) to pave the way for this investment. As a forward-looking, globally competitive city, these are the new investment opportunities we will pursue and attract to Cape Town.
“Cape Town is known for health care excellence and for being the leader in this field as the home of the first heart transplant. With Cape Town’s proximity to excellent universities and world-class infrastructure, there is much potential for research in this emerging sector,” said Vos.
This is the second facility planned for Atlantis. A similar facility for the cultivation and processing of medicinal cannabis into oils and capsules was being developed on a private farm in close proximity to the industrial area. Other locally-based players in the industry include a manufacturer of modular cannabis cultivation kits in shipping containers in Somerset West, according to Vos.
“Council approval helps us to deliver on our commitment to facilitate investment and job creation in our prized Atlantis SEZ,” he said.