City task teams in place to work out economic action plan
20 March 2020
STATEMENT BY MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER FOR ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES AND ASSET MANAGEMENT, ALDERMAN JAMES VOS.
The world has been turned upside down by the COVID-19 global pandemic. Already our economy, the tourism and hospitality sectors specifically, have been hit hard and we can expect the impact to intensify. There are no quick fixes and one thing is clear, this crisis calls for innovation and smart solutions as we brace ourselves for the economic and social impact of the outbreak.
The City of Cape Town is monitoring all developments closely and taking all appropriate measures available for the safety of our citizens and visitors to our city.
There is a daily meeting convened by the Executive Mayor Alderman Dan Plato where all senior management are present to brief the City’s leadership on the latest developments and responses.
I have set up two task teams to co-ordinate and streamline our response to the impact of the pandemic on Cape Town’s economy. Much work has already been done.
The Economic Task Team
This team consists of officials from the City’s Department of Enterprise and Investment (E&I) and the City’s Policy Unit. They are actioning the following:
- Gathering detailed economic impact assessment data, as well as sector specific data to best inform responses to the effect on the workforce as well as local and external supply and demand.
- Forming a transversal working group comprising several directorates with a focus on economic impact mitigation
- I have already written to the Ministers of Tourism, Trade and Industry and Small Business Development to ask for detailed information and timelines for any financial relief to be provided by the National Government;
- Offering the City’s assistance to administer relief packages from National Government to businesses in distress;
- Promoting the City’s incentives scheme to assist with business retention and expansion.
- Commissioning the City’s Strategic Business Partners (SBPs) to work closely with businesses in affected sectors as well as engage with Chambers of Commerce to identify challenges faced by businesses to ensure continuity of service delivery. Together with SBPs, we also need to work with trade agencies to identify new export markets and ensure strong levels of communication while combatting fake news and limiting investor panic.
The Tourism Task Team
This team includes our tourism partner Cape Town Tourism (CTT) as well as officials from the Department of E&I. They have put the following into action:
- Working with partners FEDHASA Cape, Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) Cape and Skal International SA in engaging with government to assist during these trying times, while offering support in preventing the spread of COVID-19;
- Discussions with the private sector, including the banking industry, to identify other forms of financial relief that can be provided for the tourism sector;
- Working with a scenario strategist to setup a virtual workshop with key captains of industry, small business, board members and other partners to look at how to manage and prepare for the recovery of the tourism sector, once the tide turns; and
- Providing up-to-date information on COVID-19 on all CTT’s digital platforms as well as updated lists of what visitors need to know about attractions and events that have been closed or cancelled.
These teams are gathering information to assess the scale of the impact of the pandemic including sector specific impacts so we are better positioned to understand what kind of assistance will be most effective.
The City’s business brand, Invest Cape Town, will update its webpage regularly with key information on how we are supporting and advising businesses. Many resources are available and businesses can access downloadable resources such as informational posters on COVID-19.
The City’s Business Hub, supported by Wesgro, is already set up and ready to provide real-time support and advice to our local businesses and industry, including Frequently Asked Questions across sectors. Send your business questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
As a responsive, caring and resilient City, we are hard at work developing responses to this crisis for the various sectors and I look forward to communicating on the way forward soon.
We have shown that when we work together, we are able to achieve great things, as we did when we all took individual and collective action and responsibility to successfully avoid Day Zero.
We can and will bounce back from this crisis by remaining calm, practicing personal hygiene, maintaining social distance and working together.
Numerous resources have been made available to the public regarding COVID-19. These include:
- The NICD Hotline on 0800 029 999 operates seven days a week, 24 hours a day
- The Western Cape Provincial Government Hotline on 021 928 4102
- WhatsApp: 0600 123 456
Please note: Audio is available here: https://soundcloud.com/ct-media/200320-vos-taskteams