Councillor takes on tourism challenge

Eddie Andrews speaks at a recent event.

Swopping his rugby boots for a suit and tie was one of the best decisions Eddie Andrews made – and after serving as a ward councillor and sub-council chairperson the Colorado Park resident has been appointed City of Cape Town’s new mayoral committee member for tourism.

The former Springbok player, husband and father of three started his new position in the tourism, events and economic development (TEED) directorate on Thursday August 11.

Mr Andrews served as a ward councillor for Ward 78 (Westridge, Westgate, parts of Portland, parts of the Mitchell’s Plain CBD and parts of Beacon Valley) and was the chairperson of Sub-council 12 for five years.

“I am humbled by the appointment and I look forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure that we make progress in the TEED directorate,” he said.

Mr Andrews said being the chairperson of Sub-council 12 for the past term of office was a fulfilling period. He added that while working in the area he realised that there are many people who are willing to contribute their services, time and efforts for the better.

“These include business, residents, community-based organisations and stakeholders who want to be part of the solutions by contributing in a sustainable manner,” he said.

Mr Andrews said over the past five years, Sub-council 12 had consistently ranked among the top three of the 24 sub-councils in the City.

He said in the previous financial year, Sub-council 12 was ranked number one, with regards to spending all its budget on approved projects.

“We reduce the turn-around times for outstanding service requests to within the prescribed period as specified in the departmental service level agreements. We hosted the most successful Open Streets event in Portland. We secured consent from council to dispose of key parcels of land to businesses to enable job creation for Mitchell’s Plain.

“We founded the Decision Affect Destinies youth mentorship programme, capacitating youth to make the right choices and the hairdressing business skills project for unemployed youth,” he said.

Mr Andrews retired from professional rugby in 2008 due to a recurring back injury.

When asked about his move from sport to politics he said he had “naturally” gravitated to becoming a councillor to serve the community he grew up in.

“While still a professional sportsman, I always had a sense of responsibility towards my community due to the fact that I achieved success by not conforming to the prevalent social ills.

“To contextualise, the sense of responsibility was due to the fact that I wanted more people to achieve success and access available opportunities to do so,” he said.

Mr Andrews told the Plainsman he was ready for the new position and believed that the TEED directorate had a crucial role to play in delivering an open opportunity society, to grow the economy resulting in job creation.

“We appreciate the fact that Cape Town is the preferred destination by tourists and start-up businesses due to what we have to offer. In this regard having achieved success in a team environment as a NGO director, sportsman and sub-council chairperson, I believe together with my team, I would be able to take TEED from good to great,” he said.

Mr Andrews’ portfolio has three large strategic areas: tourism, events and economic development.

He said it was important that Cape Town maintain its image as the city to live, work, and play.

“This has become synonymous with Cape Town and I would like us to grow this ‘brand’. After all, tourism and events especially, have huge economic spin-offs for the local economy.

“We have to expand our tourism offerings as this sector is important to sustain the current levels of employment and to create more job opportunities in this lucrative sector,” he said.

Mr Andrews said the informal economy that fell within the ambit of economic development is a crucial sector that needs to be constantly grown and developed further. He added that the department had achieved many successes but needed to collectively look at how further growth can be stimulated.

“What’s important for me is to continually improve upon what we has been achieved to go from good to great. But this is not something I can plan in isolation. There is a wealth of experience sitting within the portfolio and I plan to tap into this, and together with my management team, set our goals for the next five years,” he said.

Mr Andrews concluded, saying that there were opportunities available and stressed the importance of registering businesses. “The opportunities enabled may not be accessed if you do not have a business plan and or registered business. We encourage local opportunities for local people so please register your business to access your local opportunity. If you need any assistance, visit your ward councillor and sub-council.”