Following months of collaboration with the City’s Economic Opportunities and Asset Management Directorate, I am pleased with Council’s decision to approve four items that will set a course for the recovery and readiness of Cape Town’s economy and seeks to extend opportunities for our city. It’s fair to say, in fact, that each one of these initiatives is the result of years of working with people across industries, from factory floors to boardrooms, communities, and local government. It has helped us to understand how we can constantly do better in helping Cape Town achieve meaningful growth.

The first of these is the approval of the Inclusive Economic Growth Strategy, a robust action plan that expands on our policies and programmes to boost business and employment prospects. This strategy follows an unflinching analysis of Cape Town’s socio-economic climate within the South African context and detailed input from business and industry stakeholders, academics, and members of the public. It is thus both bold and far-reaching in its goals, yet meticulously plotted with 189 deadline-driven steps that drill down into meeting the needs of industries such as construction, manufacturing and informal sectors, while simultaneously tackling social issues that block access to opportunities for so many.

The implementation and effectiveness of these strategies has only been made more urgent by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has hit few industries as hard as tourism. I have seen how tourism can be a force for positive change in communities, while also being vital to trade and investment. As such, we must do all that we can to support the recovery of this industry in the Mother City.

This is why I am proud to announce that the City is renewing its agreement with Cape Town Tourism (CTT), who represents businesses from individual tourist guides, to restaurants, tour operators, and accommodation providers, for another three years. Under our service delivery agreement with CTT, we detail our plans to produce world-class destination marketing material, visitor information services across the city and community tourism product development to support local businesses. With the traditionally busy summer season weeks away, the immediate priority is to implement campaigns that will convert potential travellers into actual visitors, and to help boost more ‘tourism-preneurs’ to diversify and innovate the range of experiences and products.

With the ever-worsening unemployment figures, I am glad that Council approved the Public Employment Programme. Under the programme, funding will be made available for just under 4 000 job opportunities such as fixing public facilities, training fire and safety marshalls for informal settlements, and clearing alien vegetation. In this way, we will address social needs, while creating work. Interested applicants will simply need to register their details on the City’s Expanded Public Works Programme database.

I am equally pleased with the permission to move ahead with the update to the Strategic International Relations Policy, which takes into account global issues that have arisen since the initial drafting of the policy in 2015. These include climate change and of course Covid-19, both concerns that require international cooperation and partnership in order to be dealt with effectively. The renewed policy also places a greater emphasis on the global village in which Cape Town exists and thus reflects an updated focus on the catalytic growth sectors wherein the City will encourage inward investment.

These four closely connected issues are integral to setting us on a better and brighter path. I know that for many Capetonians right now, the various crises, including the state of our economy, is causing sleepless nights. This is why the approval of these strategies is so important to me. Because behind all the statistics and the surveys are people. With every job, and every opportunity is a person for whom a livelihood and dignity is restored. So while things may feel dire, know that we have the tools to rebuild and recover.

Together, we will emerge stronger than before.

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