The latest withdrawal by a developer in the Bo-Kaap is yet another blow to the unemployment crisis we are experiencing. Photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)
The latest withdrawal by a developer in the Bo-Kaap is yet another blow to the unemployment crisis we are experiencing. Photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

How can protecting Bo-Kaap’s heritage come before the creation of much-needed jobs?

By Gary James Time of article published Nov 19, 2019

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In response to, " Another heritage victory for Bo-Kaap after high-rise appeal dismissed":

The latest withdrawal by a developer in the Bo-Kaap is yet another blow to the unemployment crisis we are experiencing.

How can preserving the “heritage” of an area be more important than the creation of jobs?

Is the past more important than the present?

What exactly are people trying to preserve in the Bo-Kaap anyway?

Anyone who looks beyond the multicoloured houses will see that many properties in this area are run down and neglected. Broken gutters, fascia boards and peeling paint on walls are a common sight. Some of the metal roofs are so badly rusted even the hadedas are scared to land on them.

You would think residents in this area would welcome any developments that would uplift and improve the value of properties.

Not only do you have the heritage brigade objecting to developments, there are also people like Sandra Dickson from Stop CoCT and the disgruntled and vindictive Brett Herron, who would object if the City decided to erect a shack in Gugulethu.

These people do not have the interests of the public at heart. They are only interested in pursuing their own vendettas against the City and there’s no doubt that their actions have resulted in the loss of thousands of potential jobs.

Cape Town is widely acknowledged as one of the best-run cities in the world, regularly featured as a top destination for visitors.

The simple fact is that without development, there is no hope for growth.

We cannot continue to allow some misguided and disgruntled people to impede the much-needed improvement we so desperately require.

* Gary James, Hout Bay.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Give the city space to breathe

With reference to “How can protecting Bo-Kaap’s heritage come before the creation of much-needed jobs?”.

I’m usually in agreement with Gary James’s letters and views, and his latest is no different, except for the statement: “without development, there is no hope for growth”.

This is straight from the Economics 101 textbook - economists believe we must have a growing economy; but a quick look at the mathematics that results from this statement shows it is not sustainable.

If we keep developing, we will run out of land and resources. So maybe we need to look at a stable, no-growth economy for the city.

There are many advantages - no loss of heritage buildings, tourists see the pleasant things they saw last time, and maybe the lack of development jobs will mean less migration to the city.

Dawie Roodt’s article “ South Africa’s income inequality is particularly uneven”, in the same edition, points out that migration to cities actually increases inequality (more poor people juxtaposed with few wealthy), so there may be a benefit there, too.

Your recent coverage of the Philippi Horticultural Area drama shows we are already running out of land, so maybe it’s time to sit back, and appreciate what we have, and leave the city alone, so it can mature like a fine wine,

* Rob Johnston, Tokai.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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