As South Africa hopefully nears Level 1 lockdown restrictions it is painfully apparent that we have a lot of work to do to save our fragile economy.
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said the Coronavirus pandemic has left government finances “dangerously overstretched”, while heightened debt threatens the country’s future economic prospects. It is expected that the country’s economy would shrink by more than the expected 7%.
Locally it leaves most businesses vulnerable and looking for ways in which to ensure survival. With an economy that is largely dependent on tourism, it further complicates matters as holidays and travelling are among the first things to be scuttled by cash-strapped members of the public.
For this very reason, it is of the utmost importance that we as a community work together to fight the effects of both Covid-19 and the second, equally deadly, economic pandemic. It is our duty to support locally owned and operated businesses. Ensure that the money you spend stays local and is not gobbled up by corporate coffers. Furthermore, we must market the Cape Whale Coast as the premier holiday destination in the country.
For us to do this, we must be perceived as a safe destination in as far as Covid-19 is concerned. All businesses and residents must strictly adhere to all safety protocols. This is important given the fact that it is widely expected that government will soon take a decision on reopening our borders for international travel. The Western Cape government has said it will engage with Pres Cyril Ramaphosa on allowing international tourists back into the country.
At the same time, all levels of government need to play their part. It is expected that the provincial government will this week give further feedback regarding their economic recovery plan, which will focus on job creation, safety and dignity.
To this end the local government also needs to ensure that it is all systems go for our economy. Lapses, such as sewage spills into the Onrus lagoon, do not assist in promoting our town as a tourist-hotspot. The problems with sewerage and the lagoon, which have long been a bone of contention, must be sorted out. The town needs to stay in the running for another Blue Flag beach – we need it and deserve it.