Business talk

2016-04-21 06:00

THE Hibiscus Coast area includes the relatively well developed coastal strip between Hibber- dene and Port Edward together with the adjoining inland area, which is less developed and experiencing significant depopulation as people relocate to developed areas in search of employment and better prospects.

The region boasts natural attractions and established facilities for tourists and holiday makers. There is also an increasing permanent residential population. Included in the district is the Port Shepstone, Marburg, Shelly Beach and Margate region that is the economic hub of the greater Ugu municipal area. Not to be underestimated is the amount of business the area draws from the Eastern Cape.

Commercial activity includes a growing consumer retail sector, banking and telecom services, a vibrant hospitality sector, agriculture as well as manufacturing, construction and motor related businesses.
Estimates of economic growth in the area range between 0.5% and 1.5% which is significantly below the estimated minimum sustained figure of five percent per annum required over the next five years to address unemployment and income inequality.

Between 2001 and 2011 the population in the area increased by 17% as residents from adjoining rural areas relocated to find employment and better living conditions. 60% of the population is between the age of 10 and 29 with the average age being 25.

The increase in population is putting pressure on housing and the supply of basic services. An official unemployment rate of 37% among the youth is suggested by some as a driver of high crime rates in the urban areas.

About 45% of employed people earn less than R2 000 per month and average household income is below R30 000 per annum.

Much has been documented about the roles of the various stakeholders in addressing the significant challenges the region faces. National, provincial and local government have developed strategies and plans to facilitate economic growth and create jobs. Joint public and private sector partnerships in the form of committees, forums and investigation groups have been established to find ways to tackle these issues.

Unfortunately, and without in any way trivialising the magnitude of the challenges faced or the efforts made to find solutions, it has been a case of too much talk, too many plans, but not enough results. The reality is that unless structural problems relating to unemployment, income inequality and infrastructure maintenance are addressed, the region will begin to lose its ability to attract tourists and holidaymakers.

The cold hard fact is that the future of our piece of paradise depends on a robust and growing business sector. To whatever extent they are capable, government departments can help to create a decent environment within which to achieve growth and they need to get better at that without spending so much money, but the actual achieving of the growth is up to the individual business owner and entrepreneur, not the government.

To grow the business sector, business owners and entrepreneurs must incorporate and utilise a clear understanding of the regions unique core competencies and competitive advantages in their strategic plans. They must see the region for what it can become and how they can be part of that process. They need to get with the programme and work more on their businesses and less in them - growth doesn’t just happen because you are there - it takes planning, strategic thought and hard work.


The Hibiscus Coast area includes the
relatively well developed
coastal strip between
Hibberdene and Port Edward
together with the adjoining
inland area, which is less developed and experiencing significant
depopulation as people relocate to developed areas in search of
employment and better prospects

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