Good projects and ideas should be supported for what they are and not according to whoever is in power. In the case of South Africa, I’m referring to those most likely to govern a town; the ANC (African National Congress) and the DA (Democratic Alliance). I say that because The Keep wants to deal with whoever will help and support.
Nevertheless, it’s interesting times for the DA has not only taken back the steering wheel of power in our beautiful town of Knysna but also won control of most of the surrounding municipalities so that they control Eden, the governing district too. This gives them great responsibility at a precarious time in our economics.
The recession has hit Knysna hard! No underestimations possible in this town of only 80 000. Apparently, 52 businesses closed last year. It’s likely that we’re on our way to doubling that this year. And that’s before taking into consideration that many houses and guest houses are bonded so that another dip in circumstances could easily swallow them. The middle class has vanished rapidly. The rich are not holidaying as much as they used to which may support my supposition that many of them are no longer rich but instead trying to offload their holiday homes that they, ironically, cannot afford to visit.
This brings us to the poor whose circumstances are more desperate than ever before. In the northern communities, this is compounded by an influx of settlers from the Eastern Cape, the neighbouring province whose circumstances are even worse than here.
It’s hard to estimate unemployment figures but it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s as high as 60%.
There are people who want jobs but more worrying are those who’ve given up and succumbed to addiction through their social grants.
Alcohol abuse is huge in Knysna! But tik, one of the worst drugs in the world, is presently far more frightening. Originally, it took root in Hornlee, traditionally a coloured suburb, and, before it could be dug out, jumped across the N2, the highway, to the suburbs of Khayalethu and Concordia. It scares me to think that we could be facing Cape Town’s problem where sometimes 3 generations in a family are addicted (child, parent, grandparent).
Tik follows the natural path to crime which itself is rapidly on the increase. Just last week I met a lady whose house in Hunter’s Home had been burglarized 3 times in 1 month, the third time finding her attacked. I don’t feel safe enough to walk at night and many would agree.
Fighting addiction and creating jobs are prerogatives that the DA needs to tackle. Their social program will be unveiled soon. And their job is not going to be made easier with the huge increases in electricity charges that have been forced upon us by Eskom and the national government. Most don’t realize that electricity is the second biggest source of income for Knysna’s municipality. Imagine that income disappearing.
If anything, we have to work together more, and harder, than ever before! We can either divide and fall or stand united and stronger. It shouldn’t be a choice. Find out what positive projects are happening in your area and support them!