The events over the past 48 hours in Hermanus have once again demonstrated that when the whole community sits down and talks with one another, instead of resorting to walking the streets in protest, real progress on important issues can be made.

All it takes is leadership, a willingness to listen to and accept points of view that may be different from one’s own and a commitment to following the rule of law. 

The last thing that Hermanus and the Overberg need is a repeat of the events of 2018. The end result is absolutely clear. Everybody is a loser. Businesses suffer. People lose their jobs. Fewer visitors come to enjoy our natural beauty and hospitality. The local economy begins to grind to a halt.

In fact, as research has shown, it is those who are the most vulnerable and marginalised in our communities who are impacted the most, the very people who, it is claimed, will be the main beneficiaries of protest. 

While there is no denying that everyone has the right to protest peacefully, the pros and cons must always be weighed as to what is in the best interests of all communities. The burden of this decision falls squarely on the shoulders of the leadership.

What has transpired over the last few days in Hermanus is proof that while we might not agree on everything, there is merit in first sitting down and discussing the issues, calling in the experts to assist and finding new solutions to old problems. 

One of the fundamentals of our constitutional democracy is equality for everyone. After more than two decades of freedom, we, as a country, and the Overstrand as a community, are still charting our way towards becoming a fully-integrated society.

Hopefully, what we have been able to achieve in the past week will light the way towards a new and brighter future and prosperity for all. 

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