The City of Cape Town’s Economic Development Department went out on the beat to conduct a business census across the city. Previously business owners and prospective investors had struggled to make informed investment and expansion decisions due to a lack of reliable, local-level information that is readily available.
The City’s business census has revealed that there are 23 industrial areas within the city’s boundaries made up of 5,557 erven or parcels of land (LIS keys) that have a total of 7,229 businesses.
‘Business decision-makers have often grappled with a lack of local-level business data. Where data is available, it usually has certain limitations or is packaged in a manner that is not user-friendly. The City’s business census has provided local-level data that gives a more complete picture of how economic activities are distributed across the city.
‘It has revealed that each of the 23 industrial zones are quite unique in some ways but at the same time share similarities. The survey further indicates the different types of business that are located in each of the industrial areas and the available pockets of vacant land.
‘The research team also put together relevant value chains to inform businesses of what services and products are available in their areas that could help to produce their goods,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Economic Development, Councillor Garreth Bloor.
Aside from the 23 individual industrial zones, there are two major business corridors in the Metro South-East and Voortrekker Road Corridors. The Metro South-East Corridor is made up of five industrial zones (Airport, Athlone, Epping, Philippi East and Philippi North Industrial) that are mapped across 965 erven. 85% of the erven in this corridor are occupied with businesses that are economically active. Manufacturing (33%) is the most dominant activity in this region.
The Voortrekker Road Corridor is made up of six industrial zones that are mapped across 1,487 erven. Of this, 146 erven economically inactive. This corridor is also dominated by the manufacturing industry that dominates 39% of the economic activity in this region.
Industrial areas are generally known for heavy- and light-manufacturing industries and general or service industries. Interestingly, only 34% of economic activities in Cape Town involve actual manufacturing. The business landscape is dominated by the wholesale and retail sector which makes up 40% of the businesses in the city if the graph below is considered.
Major Divisions (Industries) Number of businesses Percentage (%) of LIS Key occupancy Agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing 24 0% Mining and quarrying 8 0% Manufacturing 2318 29% Electricity, gas and water supply 41 1% Construction 442 6% Wholesale and retail trade 2723 29% Transport, storage and communication 451 8% Financial intermediation, insurance, real estate and business services 539 7% Community, social and personal services 337 4% Not economically active 5% Unattainable 346 11%
The most dense business area is the Montague Gardens industrial zone that is home to 1,198 different businesses located across its 550 erven. This is followed by Paarden Eiland and Killarney Gardens with 639 and 591 different businesses respectively. These are the top three industrial zones in Cape Town with the highest number of businesses located within their respective boundaries.
In contrast, some of the industrial areas with the lowest number of businesses within their boundaries include Philippi North with 60 businesses, Kraaifontein with 59 businesses and Philippi East with only 46 businesses as represented in the graph below.
A wide range of manufacturing takes place across Cape Town. The most prominent business is in the manufacturing of basic metals, fabricated metal products machinery and equipment sector. There are 654 businesses that are involved in the manufacturing of these products, which accounts for 28% of such businesses in the city. The second most popular manufacturing sector is the manufacture of coke, refined petroleum products and nuclear fuels, chemicals and chemical products – with 337 businesses across the city. There are 291 manufacturers in the city of wood and the products of wood and cork.
The construction sector also makes a significant contribution to the local economy. Building installations that include plumbing, installation of electrical equipment, fencing, air-conditioning and pool heating account for 46% of the activities in the construction sector. A further 36% of this sector is made up of the building of complete construction or parts thereof such of homes, swimming pools, other engineering structures and civil engineering.
Land transport is another significant contributor to the Cape Town economy. A total of 149 businesses participate in economic activities such as road freight transport, freight forwarding and clearing, transport via pipelines, bus and coach passenger lines, safaris and sight-seeing bus tours.
The financial intermediary sector is also an influential industry, with 811 economic opportunities located across the city.
The abovementioned sectors are a few examples of the major contributors to the local economy.
One of the less significant sectors in Cape Town is that of the mining and quarrying division. There are only eight business across all 23 industrial zones in the city. These businesses are involved in oil and gas extraction, service activities related to the mining of minerals, and the quarrying of granite, marble, slate and cornerstone which are known dimension stones.