Welfare state looms, 'gangster culture' robs opportunities - Cape Town mayor

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Government and the business sector must work together to prevent the creation of a welfare state in South Africa, Cape Town mayor Dan Plato said on Wednesday.

"We are on the way to become a welfare state with the growing population depending on the government to create opportunities," Plato said at the City Meets Business event hosted by the Western Cape Business Opportunity Forum (Webcof).

The event aims to give the City of Cape Town and the business sector an opportunity to engage on concerns and come up with innovative ideas to cooperate in building the economy and creating jobs.

Plato also voiced concern over what he labelled "ongoing lawlessness and violence" in the Mother City, which has led to the army being deployed in certain hot spots.

Plato said crime was impacting tourism and damaging SA's brand.

'Gangster culture'

"The presence of the army is not sustainable. Tourists see these images of violence and crime and it hurts the image of SA immensely," he said.

"Gangster culture" had its own economy, which was damaging, he added.

"We need to find solutions to deal with the gangster culture. It is an economy of its own and we need to see how best to break through that culture."

Huge potential

On a positive note, Plato said Cape Town was already regarded as a leading digital city in Africa, offering innovation with the necessary infrastructure. The sector has the potential to create the environment needed to compete in the modern world, Plato argued.

He said Cape Town has the lowest unemployment rate in SA, yet it is still too high.

"We have to create the environment in which job creation can take place. The City and province cannot do it alone," said Plato.

"Government needs the private sector as partner on the journey to create jobs. We need more entrepreneurs. Government will not be able to provide all the opportunities on its own."

In this regard the City opened its Strand Street Concourse hub as a one-stop walk-in for entrepreneurs, aimed at removing barriers.

"Our focus on business must also focus on resilience and using resources efficiently. We must become more efficient," said Plato.

Lastly, he addressed the challenge of providing housing for Cape Town’s ever-increasing population.

"The message to the people out there must be that a single dwelling on a single plot is beginning to be thing of the past. We have to go for multi-storey buildings to be able to house many more people on a single plot," said Plato.

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