The movie in the middle of Joburg’s inner city comes with huge economic costs, says Phillimon Mnisi.
Johannesburg - The Arts play an important role as a social good. Entertainment plays a part in uplifting society’s mood.
The arts’ economic values and contributions are inconsequential due to the fact that they are not easily quantifiable, but its social contribution is immeasurable.
And this is why the arts should not be put into direct competition with business towards economic growth and development.
The consumption of the arts leads to accelerated economic growth directly and indirectly through psychological satisfaction.
Nonetheless, look at the situation that has been playing itself out in Joburg CBD, the economic hub of the province (contributing about 15 percent GDP) and the country (Gauteng contributes 35 percent of GDP).
The filming of a Hollywood movie, Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, in the streets of the CBD has resulted in major traffic disruptions.
The closure of major entry streets into the city such as Albertina Sisulu, Rissik, President, Sauer and Marshall has resulted in huge traffic jams.
Despite traffic officers being available to direct and control the movement of traffic, their efforts have become minimal as traffic happens during peak hours between 6am and 8am and 4pm and 6pm.
Motorists are familiar with the level of intolerance on our roads – such situations are filled with frustration, anger and anxiety.
It’s fertile ground for road rage.
The movie in the middle of the inner city comes with huge economic costs, which are not immediately quantifiable.
Most people travelling during peak periods into and out of the city (as commuters through taxis, buses and private vehicles) are economically active individuals who need to be at the top of their game.
However, the frustration of not getting to work on time not only results in lower productivity, but a frustrated and angry employee is not a productive employee at all.
Motorists are counting the costs of the traffic jams which last longer and impact mostly on their own pockets as petrol prices are forever on the incline and so are the mechanical repairs.
And added to the cost of the rising prices of goods, consumers at large will be at the bitter receiving end.
Not only does the movie result in the pollution of the city due to stationery motor vehicles’ carbon emissions, but poor air circulation and ventilation which could lead to all sorts of diseases.
The movie will certainly put the city on the world map, especially with tourism.
Nevertheless, the timing of the movie is wrong and out of synchronisation with the daily social and economic activities in the inner city of Joburg as it stifles development.
Either the movie should have been shot in the evening as happens in many big cities around the world, or at least during the school holidays or when most companies have closed for the festive season.
Schools and universities have just re-opened for the current academic year and this puts a huge strain on the road and the city.
Thus, prospectively, the movie industry’s growth must not compromise other business sectors.
They need to complement each other.
Protea Glen, Soweto
* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.