The Cape Town v Pre­to­ria Par­lia­ment De­bate

#Sona 17

Tourism Tattler - - EDITORIAL - By Unathi Son­wa­bile He­nama.

Dur­ing the State of the Na­tion Ad­dress (SONA) on 09 Fe­bru­ary, Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma set in mo­tion a snow­ball dis­course on the mov­ing of the Par­lia­ment to Pre­to­ria away from Cape Town, to re­duce costs. The sug­gested cost for mov­ing Par­lia­ment is re­ported to be R7 bil­lion.

As ex­pected there was more drama at SONA 2017 than we had bar­gained for, as the na­tional ego was bruised by a spec­ta­cle of un­for­tu­nates. What hap­pens in Par­lia­ment re­mains a deep sense of em­bar­rass­ment for the na­tion which was once a bea­con of hope for Africa, now we are a big fat con­ti­nen­tal joke.

Be­sides the un­for­tu­nates of the day, our eyes must be firmly set on tourism and its de­vel­op­men­tal po­ten­tial for the Western Cape. The SONA is al­ways tourism big busi­ness for Cape Town. The City of Cape Town which was is the seat of the two houses of Par­lia­ment re­mains the leg­isla­tive cap­i­tal city of South Africa. This was an ar­range­ment dur­ing the time of the Boer re­publics, which en­sured that Pre­to­ria re­mains the seat of gov­ern­ment whilst Bloem­fontein was the ju­di­cial cap­i­tal city, housing the Supreme Court of Ap­peal.

The adop­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion, which pre­scribed that we be­come a con­sti­tu­tional democ­racy meant that a con­sti­tu­tional court be­came the apex court, which would be an ar­bi­tra­tor of dis­putes, in ad­di­tion to be­com­ing the of­fi­cial Rot­tweiler of the demo­cratic pro­ject. The Con­sti­tu­tional Court be­came the high­est court, whilst the Supreme Court of Ap­peal con­tin­ued a steady stream of ju­di­cial tourists that sought to use the court in Bloem­fontein.

Get­ting back to the mov­ing of Par­lia­ment is­sue, Min­is­ters be­cause they must re­port on progress in Par­lia­ment, must have dou­ble residential dwellings, two cars, and sup­port staff in Cape Town and Pre­to­ria. Ex­clu­sively, all gov­ern­ment de­part­ments have their head­quar­ters in Pre­to­ria, which means a par­lia­ment in Pre­to­ria would mean fewer lo­gis­ti­cal chal­lenges. The fact that the ma­jor­ity of State Owned En­ter­prises (S0Es) are head­quar­tered in Pre­to­ria, made the pro­posed move to Pre­to­ria po­lit­i­cally and eco­nom­i­cally pru­dent.

In ad­di­tion, Tsh­wane Met­ro­pol­i­tan Mu­nic­i­pal­ity is not just the largest mu­nic­i­pal­ity in the world, it houses the sec­ond largest con­cen­tra­tion of em­bassies and con­sulates af­ter Wash­ing­ton DC.

A con­tes­ta­tion of ide­olo­gies en­sued af­ter SONA about the re­lo­ca­tion of Par­lia­ment, then on Au­gust 03, 2016 ev­ery­thing changed. To­day Tsh­wane is gov­erned by a coali­tion be­tween the Demo­cratic Al­liance and the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers, and the Demo­cratic Al­liance pro­vided the Mayor af­ter the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Elec­tions. To­day, both

the cities that house the seat of gov­ern­ment (Pre­to­ria) and the seat of the leg­is­la­ture (Cape Town) are gov­erned by the Demo­cratic Al­liance, which is the of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion.

I am of the view that Cape Town would not be in much dis­agree­ment about the re­lo­ca­tion of Par­lia­ment based on the shift­ing re­al­ity of pol­i­tics. The loss of Par­lia­ment would be eas­ily mit­i­gated by tourism as Cape Town is prac­ti­cally a tourism city. The eco­nomic value chain of the Western Cape has ben­e­fit­ted im­mensely from tourism, rang­ing from the wine routes around Stel­len­bosch to the film stu­dios out­side Cape Town that have recre­ated South Africa’s own Hol­ly­wood.

The Western Cape is also a ben­e­fi­ciary of skilled in­ward mi­gra­tion, from en­trepreneurs to cash-rich re­tirees that are snap­ping up prop­er­ties in ru­ral towns around Cape Town, trans­form­ing their economies. I call this the Great Trek boomerang.

The Western Cape de­fined its fu­ture by ini­ti­at­ing the Cape Town Air Ac­cess Ini­tia­tive that has en­sured that Cape Town In­ter­na­tional Air­port wel­comed its 10th mil­lion pas­sen­ger in a cal­en­dar year. The re­sult was that there were 100 000 ad­di­tional jobs cre­ated around Cape Town, and the in­di­rect im­pact may be greater. Ad­di­tional di­rect flights have been added to Cape Town, and this has con­tin­ued to en­sure that the Western Cape creates jobs, whilst the coun­try has a stub­born 27% un­em­ploy­ment rate.

South Africa as a long haul des­ti­na­tion re­mains chal­lenged by air ac­cess which lim­its the de­vel­op­men­tal abil­ity and po­ten­tial of tourism. The lives of the ma­jor­ity of our cit­i­zens re­main closely friendly to poverty, un­em­ploy­ment and in­equal­ity, a re­al­ity that re­mains an un­free­dom.

Capeto­ni­ans have openly em­braced AirBNB, re­flect­ing in the largest num­ber of AirBNB list­ing on the African con­ti­nent which has in­creased tourism ar­rivals and ex­pen­di­ture in the Western Cape. Tourism re­mains the ‘’new gold’’ that is the en­gine of growth in our limp­ing econ­omy. The Western Cape must be con­grat­u­lated for its progress in ad­vanc­ing the tourism pro­ject to achieve the Na­tional Tourism Sec­tor Strat­egy’s ob­jec­tive of be­ing in the top 20 des­ti­na­tions by the year 2020.

About the author: Unathi Son­wa­bile He­nama teaches tourism at the Tsh­wane Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy.

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