Premier highlights green economy successes
During Western Cape Premier Helen Zille’s State of the Province address on 17 February 2017, she highlighted numerous green economy successes. Some of these have been extracted below and will be of interest to businesses and investors interested or active in the Western Cape’s green economy.
Green economy (general)
- South Africa had the fastest growing green economy in 2015 according to Moody’s Ratings Agency.
- 75% of all venture capital deals concluded in South Africa, happened in the Western Cape. One reason is the relatively large number of small business development and innovation programmes in the province.
- The SMME Contract Finance Fund facilitates loans to SMME’s that require more capacity to secure larger business contracts. A total of 164 SMME’s have been assisted since 2014, with loan transactions worth almost R13 million.
- The Cape Investor Centre will be launched in 2017. It will be a “one stop shop” for investors, enabling them to complete local, provincial and national regulatory processes in a single location, under the professional guidance of a single relationship manager.
- The Red Tape Reduction Unit maintained an 85% resolution success rate in solving the 6 000 cases of red tape blockages it has dealt with.
- Since the start of this term, R5.9 billion worth of investments have been secured for the province through Wesgro, creating 1 865 new jobs from 2014 to 2016.
- Four recent investments worth R1.1 billion in alternative waste treatment projects have created 148 jobs and advanced the technical capacity of the sector.
- The R500 million New Horizons Energy plant was launched in Athlone last month. This is the first plant in Africa to turn municipal solid waste into biogas.
- Greencape was awarded the Chairman’s Award for Exceptional Service by the Institute of Waste management of Southern Africa.
- The province aims to enable independent generation of 135MW through Solar Panel (PV) installations by 2020. Current trends show a marked uptake of Rooftop PV, with 120% growth in approved installations in the Cape metro from May to December 2016.
- With GreenCape’s support, 15 municipalities (up from 2 last year) meet the requirements for legal installations of Rooftop PV, with Nersa approved tariffs.
- The Smart-Agri plan was launched in May 2016 by a broad coalition of stakeholders to increase climate-smart production, reduce the risk of disasters, facilitate planning across the sector, and share climate change data.
- Through the online platform, Fruitlook, a digital means of optimising the water usage of the entire agricultural sector has been established. 5.7 million hectares of farmland, including the entire fruit producing area of 220 000 ha from Vredendal in the West to Montagu/Bonnievale in the East and De Doorns in the North have been mapped.
- At the Langgewens Research Farm in the Swartland the province is producing nearly double the amount of wheat on less than half of the areas previously planted, despite the drought conditions.
Going forward there are some key interventions to address water. These are:
- The Berg River-Voëlvlei augmentation scheme which amounts to diverting surplus winter water into the Voëlvlei Dam, maximizing the storing capacity of winter rain.
- Fast-tracking the development of the Table Mountain Group Aquifer, the underground water table stretching from the peninsula all the way to areas including Knysna and Oudtshoorn.
- Water re-use - in other words, waste water treatment on a macro scale.
- Desalination is currently an expensive option but there are encouraging signs that new technologies can provide a cheaper solution.