In a groundbreaking revelation that could reshape the economic landscape of Philippi, a recent industrial survey conducted by the City of Cape Town has unveiled a promising future for the region, particularly in the realm of metal furniture manufacture. The study identifies Philippi as a potential hotspot for the development of a metal industry cluster, presenting a golden opportunity to bolster the local economy.
The comprehensive survey, commissioned by the City's Economic Development Department, aimed to pinpoint industry clusters across five industrial areas within the city. Its primary goal was to fortify existing clusters and identify untapped potential for further cluster development. The findings have sparked enthusiasm and a call for action.
Gavin Adams, Director for Cluster Development at the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), made a significant announcement during a seminar held to discuss the survey's results. Adams expressed the department's eagerness to welcome applications from businesses seeking cluster development funding. He detailed an incentive scheme designed to facilitate group efforts, wherein businesses could apply for funding on an 80/20 cost-sharing basis. The dti would contribute 80% of the costs, covering shared infrastructure, hosting of a central office, and essential business development expenses such as skills enhancement and strategic planning.
The survey's revelations have prompted the Department of Trade and Industry to initiate collaboration with businesses in Philippi's Metal Manufacturing value chain, with the aim of expanding and enhancing this burgeoning sector.
Researcher Michelle Joja, who presented the Industry Survey results at the recent Business Retention and Expansion summit held at Philippi Village, highlighted the essence of this transformative study. The research encompassed a comprehensive census of industrial areas across the City of Cape Town. It sought to evaluate and identify industrial activities within these areas while pinpointing value chains that could benefit from coordinated efforts.
Philippi East, a part of the Metro-South East Corridor, was one of the focal points of the survey.
One of the most staggering findings of the survey was the existence of vast untapped industrial land in Philippi East, with a staggering 62% of industrially zoned land showing no economic activity at the time of the survey. Furthermore, only 16% of the economic activity in the region was genuinely industrial, with manufacturing businesses occupying a mere 10% of the land but contributing 26% of the economic activity.
The survey illuminated an imbalance in land usage, with 60% of economic activity driven by retail outlets, which occupied only 20% of the industrial land. The predominance of retail land use was hindering the growth of the Philippi economy.
Moreover, a substantial portion of industrially zoned land was being used for residential purposes, primarily informal settlements, rendering it economically dormant.
Ms. Joja underscored the potential for expanded industry in Philippi East to drive economic development, leading to job creation and addressing the area's pressing unemployment issues.
Besides the Metal Furniture manufacturing cluster, the survey identified four other potential value chains for development: Radio, TV and Communication Equipment; Metal Scrap and Waste; Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Metal Goods.
However, amidst the optimism, the survey also highlighted significant challenges, notably safety and security concerns. In response, the Philippi Economic Development Initiative (Pedi) has taken action through its Peace Officer Project, launched in April. Pedi is collaborating with city law enforcement agencies to enhance security in the area, mitigating the associated risks.
The City of Cape Town's Industrial Survey has not only uncovered Philippi's untapped economic potential but has also ignited a spark of hope for its future growth and prosperity. The metal industry's resurgence could prove to be a game-changer for this vibrant community, ushering in a new era of economic vitality and job creation.