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The economic crisis due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, the resultant effect on South Africa generally and Cape Town specifically as well as the necessary measures put in place by national government to contain the spread of the virus, has sent shock waves through our local economy. In order to co-ordinate and streamline the City’s economic response, I established two task teams, one on tourism and the other on the economy. The teams consist of officials from my Dept. of Enterprise and Investment, sector representatives from our Strategic Business Partners (SBP) and Cape Town Tourism, with officials from the Strategy and Policy Unit.
Over the last three weeks, much work has been done on proactive proposals to assist businesses and key industries during the lockdown as well as on possible post-Covid-19 stabilisation and recovery plans. I look forward to sharing some of these plans in the coming weeks, especially the tourism recovery strategies and campaigns focusing on regaining domestic and international markets. Since the establishment of the Economic Task Team, detailed economic impact assessment data as well as sector specific data has been compiled, to best inform effective responses. Sector support initiatives, including repurposing business models and products have been initiated. In the clothing sector, we’ve engaged through our SBP the Cape Clothing and Textile Cluster many businesses to realign their production towards the manufacturing of medical protective gear and clothing, in a bid to sustain jobs. We’ve also successfully engaged with national government to assist businesses to be declared essential to allow operations to continue. These initiatives have been rolled out in consultation with our SBP Business Process Outsourcing and have resulted in the continued functioning of some call center operations, thus saving jobs. Sharing of vital and credible information and resources with business via the Invest Cape Town website, www.investcapetown.com. The City’s Business Hub, supported by Wesgro, has been repurposed to provide real-time support and advice to our local businesses and industry, including FAQs across sectors and can be contacted on business.support@capetown.gov.za or supportbusiness@wesgro.co.za.
Through the Dept. of Enterprise and Investment, businesses are able to seek advice on the requirements instituted by national government while under lockdown. I’ve written to the Ministers of Tourism, Trade and Industry and Small Business Development to seek clarity on the criteria for relief funding as well as to lobby for the broadening of these criteria, specifically to remove the requirement to be registered with the Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission (CIPC) as well as the removal of the Affirmative Action and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment criteria. Due to the unfavourable replies, I’ve now written to President Cyril Ramaphosa to ask that the criteria be broadened and that the requirement to be registered with the CIPC as well as the Affirmative Action and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment criteria be removed. While there is much more to be done, we have shown that by working together, by implementing innovative ideas and solutions we can and will get through this crisis. My team and I will continue to engage with the various business sectors to get their input, understand their challenges so that we can provide the most suitable and effective assistance during this time.

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