The unanimous call from the meeting was for local authorities to build a mechanism to co-ordinate decision-making across line departments, to allow everyone to deliver better services more efficiently.
bloor-IDADiscussions were kick-started by Councillor Garreth Bloor, City of Cape Town Mayco member for Tourism, Events and Economic Development, who suggested that the economic incentives model that had stimulated development in Atlantis might offer some solutions to the challenges facing Philippi.
Atlantis had faced extremely high levels of poverty and unemployment. In five years this had been turned around to become an area of rapid growth, where opportunities for greenfield investments would run out in the next five years. The incentives programme had delivered new businesses and jobs to the area.
PEDI CEO Thomas Swana identified the three broad elements of the Philippi community as being agricultural, residential and industrial, each with its own challenges, but each with its own opportunities.
The Philippi Horticultural Area – a jewel of Cape Town that produces over 100 000 tons of fruit, vegetables and flowers each year – was a key strategic entity with a value that needed to be harnessed and protected. “Strategic is not a big enough word,” he said. The PHA should be protected for agriculture.
Swana described PEDI’s role as an agent of change, a driver of economic development, that represents business and the community, and provides a bridge between the private and public sector to understand the opportunities in the area.
The main event of the day was the presentation by Fred de Villiers of HHO Africa – a consulting engineering company which investigated the infrastructure available in Philippi. The research showed that more investment in infrastructure was needed in electricity supply, storm water management, and water pressure management. Some work also needed to be done to improve foul water systems in the area.
Planners who broke into groups for breakaway discussions on the research presented to them agreed that economic development in Philippi should go hand-in-hand with social development or it would fail. A community education and upliftment process would be needed to create community ownership of investment in infrastructure or business.