Has Lockdown Affected Cape Town’s Economy?
11 January 2021
The Mother City’s Resilience Shines Through Pandemic Risk Factors
All around the world, countries have been battling the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. In South Africa, restrictions on social mobility and interaction were imposed with a five-week national lockdown from March 27th to the 1st of May. Following this, a risk-adjusted and phased reopening of the economy was activated.
Unfortunately, like many other third-world cities, this has still induced substantial welfare losses to individuals, households and businesses in Cape Town. In no uncertain terms, the lockdown has absolutely affected the Cape Town economy. However, as a true testament to the efforts here to create resilience strategies over the past decade, not all of the effects have been negative!
“If we all work together, we can do wonderful things. We’ve done this before when we faced Day Zero and we can do it again. I am pleased to say that we are constantly implementing measures to drive the various stages of recovery and readiness, as well as campaigns to stimulate supply and demand for specific key source markets such as domestic and international travel.” Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management
The City of Cape Town’s Impacted Economy
The Inclusive Economic Growth Strategy (CoCT Epic 2020 Q2 report) has been released by the City of Cape Town. This strategy identifies short-term interventions for assisting Cape Town’s economic recovery. At its core is the recognition that collaboration and partnerships are going to be key in building a more prosperous and inclusive Cape Town economy. The manner in which the business community, residents, and government have worked together to combat the COVID-19 threat has been truly commendable. And while Cape Town certainly does experience massive support from the tourism industry in South Africa, which has been severely impacted by the lockdown, there are other sectors that have managed to recover in some regards. In fact, there are even some incredible success stories:
Big Businesses Pivoted
One of Cape Town’s largest and most popular health and fitness brands, Virgin Active, had to become passionately strategic about their business approach. With 130 clubs across the country and a presence in seven other countries, the health of all its members was a key concern and priority. Surprisingly, these fitness clubs have now transformed from a single-channel business to an online, in-club and outdoor health and fitness platform too. Showcasing this remarkable innovation by launching a brand-new online fitness solution; Virgin Active Coach.
Local SMMEs Emerged
Cape Town is well-known for the range of high-quality food and beverages produced and manufactured locally. In recent years, the soft drink market has also been steadily rising with a particular interest in energy drinks. Add to this that the Mother City also has one of the highest rates of entrepreneurship in the country, and you have a recipe for success. Because it’s not surprising that COVID-19 forced locals to get innovative.
With this in mind, the team from Duidelik® Energy Drink was conceived. The 500ml aluminium cans they produce incorporates beautiful design elements that both celebrate and comment on local Cape Flats characteristics. Each can shows an Anti-GBV logo and a portion of all sales are donated to the Saartjie Baartman Centre in Manenberg. Additionally, short stories showcasing historical heroes and heroines are included on the packaging!
“We want to showcase that the Cape Flats can also be a place of opportunity, where new and creative industries can make a difference in the world and share our culture with the world.” Hylton Mitchell (Co-Founder)
Even Teens Got Innovative
In February 2020, Cloudy Deliveries was launched in the Langa township. It offers a bicycle delivery service using local teenagers to assist the aged or even ailed who can’t carry their groceries or deliveries to and from work or the shops. The bicycle riders are called to restaurants or houses to pick up or drop off groceries and takeaways anywhere in the area for R9.
“I want to move the township forward and keep it up with the standards of the world.” Colin Mkosi (Founder)
Invest in An Extraordinary City
The City of Cape Town has been mobilising resources and limiting the impact of COVID-19 on local businesses and industry throughout 2020. Local and national government are constantly exploring ways of how best to do this for all sectors moving into 2021 too. Ultimately, the city still boasts an excellent lifestyle, world-class infrastructure, ease of doing business, stable government, and an innovative, skilled workforce. An all-round, attractive investment portfolio for almost anyone!