“We are very cash-strapped at the moment
which is why we need private partners.”
– Ilse van Schalwyk (Knysna Manager for Economic Development)
Don’t get bored. The next two paragraphs translate into ‘HOW TO FIX KNYSNA’S ECONOMY’.
At the Section 80 Governance meeting held in Knysna’s Council Chambers yesterday, Ilse van Schalkwyk, the Manager of Economic Development, delivered a presentation in preparation for the submission of the revised Economic Development Strategy (EDS) which falls under the ISDF (Integrated Strategic Development Framework).
The goal of the EDS is to “collectively create better conditions for economic growth and employment generation.” This includes developing a unique economy that attracts investment and grows business in the CBD and other business nodes.
Some of the goals of the EDS included:
- Convention Centre
- Encourage business that supports the aesthetic of Knysna e.g. boat building, vintage car restoration, green industries…
- Attract smarter work force.
- Upgrade the movement of people.
- Improve Grey Street to Waterfront linkage for tourists.
- Fibre optic infrastructure for broadband.
- Rebranding Knysna Tourism as Knysna & Partners.
- Berry farming.
The latter was interesting as Transnet has apparently declared that it wishes to move 70% of road freight to rail. That reignites hope in our line to George being re-established and would lessen costs for timber transport and waste disposal.
Regards smarter education, their are many organisations hoping to erect facilities:
- Knysna University Initiative
- Knysna Learning Initiative (linked to Cornerstone University and Regent University
- Conservation Global (Masters Students Summer School)
- Southern Cape FET College
- More private schools
COPE’s Elrick van Aswegen noted strongly that the presentation ignored land redistribution and that there’s little correlation between local economic development and supply chain management as it’s the same companies and people getting the business. Essentially, he was pointing out that there’s no action to remove the disparity between rich and poor, Knysna’s greatest problem and challenge. The average salary for those without a Grade 12, a big segment of Knysna’s population, is currently R28 416 (R2368p/m).
Town Planner, Mike Maughn-Brown responded that the formal sector has to take precedence as a spaza shop will battle to find customers if the customer base has no jobs. The DA’s Ray Barrell warned his fellow councillors that developed countries were already paying workers less and that that economic curve would catch up to us. He said it was essential to upskill and get rid of red tape.
Something has to be done urgently as the growth rate for the Gross Geographic Product (GGP), a measurement of economic activity for all final goods and services produced, has dropped from 9.4% in 2005 through 5.1% in 2011 to only 2.7% in 2013 i.e. Knysna’s economy is battling and would be even worse if it weren’t for more tourists which is ironically the result of a weaker rand.
Van Aswegen’s commented that Council witnesses presentations every year but that they don’t reach their potential because there is no money. Van Schalkwyk concurred by admitting that the Knysna Municipality is “very cash-strapped at the moment which is why we need private partners.” Knysna undoubtedly does but it’s also important for the Municipality to not fail it’s duty to Knysna’s citizens as it did when Van Schalkwyk was on the tender committee that awarded the ISDF to property developers, putting big business interests ahead of public rights.
Your queries and requests for the digital presentation can be sent to Ilse van Schalkwyk at email@example.com.