Making better use of existing spaces and infrastructure, developing the youth and boosting Mitchell’s Plain’s economic potential are part of the Plein Chamber of Commerce’s vision for the future of the area.
At an information session held at the Rocklands civic centre on Wednesday May 4, the Executive of the Chamber shared their roadmap to 2076, which marks the year Mitchell’s Plain will turn 100 years old.
It includes an integrated development plan (IDP) for the area and plans to train young people in the skills they’ll need to be part of the Forth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
The meeting was attended by, among others, Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis, MEC for Community Safety and Police Oversight Reagan Allen, ward councillors serving in sub-councils 12 and 17, City officials and local entrepreneurs.
“We believe business owners should be able to do what they do in their own community,” said Sub-council 12 chairman Elton Jansen.
“We cannot exclude Mitchell’s Plain projects from the people in this community. Mitchell’s Plain businesses should benefit from the economy.”
Deputy chairman Igshaan Carstens was among the members who founded the Chamber in 2016. As communities grow, he said, Mitchell’s Plain should “also have its turn”.
“We are growing as an economic hub,” he said.
“We have the business sector but do we have enough? Everyone is growing but Mitchell’s Plain should have its turn as well (and) we are looking to invest with the lower income sector,” he added, highlighting the KhayaPlain initiative and how it could create opportunities for Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha to work together.
Among the spaces earmarked for growth in the Chamber’s roadmap are the False Bay Coastline where the 9Miles Project is based, Westridge Gardens, the swimming pools, the community festivals such as the K&Kie Mitchell’s Plain Festival, and the area’s food vendors.
And while they may not be around to see 2076, said Mr Carstens, they were looking to the future and preparing for it.
With regards to community safety, said Mr Allen, they were working to get more boots on the ground, but the key was to work together. “I want to play that role in my capacity. We want to see more boots on the ground, more police, law enforcement, to name a few,” he said.
Secretary and acting CEO of the Plein Chamber, Karrimah Jacobs said they want to equip young people with skills related to technology and social media. For now, their goal is to train 3 000 pupils from Mitchell’s Plain.
Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said every single person has got to be proud of their job and go the extra mile to serve.
“Plein Chambers have shown me pride through these presentations,” he said.
“Cape Town (residents) spend most of their money on infrastructure which is a concern.
“More concerns and things we will continue to make stronger are safety, ending load shedding, and False Bay Coastline, to name a few. We want to see you meet those goals. I have no doubt that you can achieve this for the community,” he added.
Malcolm Green, an entrepreneur in the wine industry representing La RicMal Estate, said Mitchell’s Plain must be owned by Mitchell’s Plain. “We must take ownership. If you want partnership, it begins with ownership. We need to build brands,” he said – and posed the question: “How do we make businessmen and women out of the people?”
Selvyn Theron from Theron Property Group said safety and security posed major challenges for the property industry as people want to move and sell. And, he added: “For travelling and tourism, you can’t sell if you can’t keep people safe.”
Roots and Raw co-founders Natalie and Aurbon Hurling from Strandfontein are sustainable living social entrepreneurs who want to see more sustainable living concepts in the plans for Mitchell’s Plain.
“We are being fed with lots of unhealthy cheap processed foods that are creating lots of diseases in our communities,” Ms Hurling said.
“If we learn to grow and produce our own foods we will be able to heal ourselves and create our own wealth and ensure a better future for our people. We have more options to create our own renewable energy from the wind, ocean, plants, sun, and waste. We have water underground and the ocean that is healthier and more sustainable,” said Mr Hurling.
Chamber chairman Shaun Achim said their plan for the future was achievable if everyone worked together – and challenged each ward councillor to think about what they could do to make people want to live in the area.
“We need to talk to the people who have ideas, people think based on the area they are in. You can only dream as big as you’ve been exposed to.
“Don’t look at what your parents had, look at what you have and what you’re able to do now,” said Mr Achim.