Much has been said about the apartheid structural constructs of spatial occupation, socially and economically, when it comes habitation, Bantustans not withstanding.
What is alarming and mind-boggling is the continuation of this disturbingly distinct apartheid legacy in developing a place and its people.
For instance, it is flabbergasting to still see South Africa as a “tale of three cities”, but if Bloemfontein or Nelspruit had the things we have, they would have eclipsed us by now. Having an airport, a port and the N2 running through it, a river fostering commerce, railway and other infrastructure does not seem to cut if for PE.
The mantle of an also-ran, what could have been, and even what needs to happen, seems to be the song sung so often that one wonders if PE will ever reach its full potential.
A waterfront to rival Cape Town’s is supposed to be long done but no, dilly- dallying the day’s dealings, and instead a mall that will create check-out counter jobs is the solution. Yet the same feet or traffic goes to these malls and soon we will be confronted by shops closing down, because most people in the Bay are not employed – only the Lord knows how they survive.
People cannot survive on history, slogans, songs, T-shirts and food parcels. The proposition that provinces collapse to mega-municipalities is a sound one in that urbanisation can be modelled authentically where people are encouraged not to uproot themselves from rural areas, but the focus on food security is pronounced.
The next big investment must happen here in PE, not in already-oversubscribed areas like KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng or Cape Town – this cannot be allowed to happen.
How long should the Eastern Cape and PE exodus, in this instance, be allowed to continue?
Chinatowns are mushrooming all over, sub-continental Asians positioning themselves and their religious counterparts from the Horn of Africa, occupying every nook and cranny, and remitting the profits to their lands of origin, not even paying taxes.
Our economy, like our borders, is so polarised, one wonders if the claims made by people trying to destabilise it – that our country is infiltrated by “terrorists” – are not true.
Surely this is not what is meant in the Freedom Charter that South Africa belongs to all who live here – this is globalisation on steroids.