One is an organisation I admire greatly. The other is one I used to admire. And it all came into focus when I just happened to read both their annual reports in one week.
Wesgro’s annual report is a monster and reminded me of City of Cape Town reports prior to 1976, when departments tried very hard to show how busy they had been. Intellectual and creative visions or plans take the back seat.
Cape Town Partnership’s annual report is very different. It doesn’t tell you how many meetings the organisation attended. It does inspire and inform, and you don’t need to take annual leave to read it.
The reports tell all about the divergent corporate cultures of the two organisations. Wesgro is bureaucratic and insecure. The Cape Town Partnership embodies the spirit of a creative and exciting Cape Town, which is just going to get better and better.
Isn’t it time for an overhaul of Wesgro’s corporate culture?
The first Joint Marketing Initiative (JMI) started 10 years ago when there was a brief DA-led political alignment between the Province and the City. It lost its way and was watered down during the ANC’s period of tenure — Wesgr0 (the trade promotion agency) was just one of the agencies that pulled out and all that came of it was that the Western Cape Tourism Board was replaced by Cape Town Routes Unlimited (CTRU). It’s only been under the chairmanship of Peter Bacon over the past few years that CTRU has pulled itself together after many years of being in the trenches. Several CTRU directors resigned over undue political interference and a previous MEC, Lynne Brown, saw it only right that it should be driven by politics.
But now the DA is firmly entrenched in both the Province and the City. MEC Alan Winde’s first attempt at bringing all the Province’s marketing bodies together didn’t find public favour… after all, it was written by the same people who wrote what exists now. His new attempt draws extensively on the London Development Agency and others, and saw Andrew Boraine, CEO of the very successful Cape Town Partnership, developing the new initiative.
If anyone can pull this off, it is Boraine. The Economic Development Partnership (EDP) draws on the lessons and successes of the Cape Town Partnership, established 12 years ago. It embraces everything that is the Cape Town success story CapeInfo wrote about recently — click here.
The EDP will not be a statutory body and government will be a client rather than the owner. It will operate outside the bureacratic regulatory system with a business mandate.
Boraine concedes that fancy mandates and structures will mean nothing if it does not attract the right people — and that is the risk. It needs a creative environment to achieve that.
Boraine and his team have started with the fundamentals rather than the big-budget, more glamourous marketing initiatives.
What will the EDP do? The EDP will be a partnership-based organisation that will lead, coordinate and drive regional economic growth, development and inclusion by concentrating on:
Economic and market intelligence and monitoring to ensure evidence-led strategy and planning.
Economic vision and strategy through building leadership and a common agenda.
Business attraction, retention and expansion through building an improved business and investment climate.
Creation of a single brand platform through a regional marketing alliance.
Organisation of the economic system for optimum delivery through performance monitoring and on-going coordination of reform.
To see the complete Powerpoint presentation on the EDP, click here. It is an impressive document.
A steering committee was announced last week and met for the first time, with the goal of opening the new organisation by April next year.
I polled two of the steering committee members. Peter Bacon, former CEO of Sun International and chairperson of CTRU, said:
“I am in agreement with the need for a public/private sector initiative to bring together under the umbrella of one organization the private sector support needed to grow the provincial economy. The responsibility for strategic planning, spatial planning, brand development, facilitation, research etc. is not, in my view, being dealt with at a macro level and the EDP will hopefully get all those involved in the public sector ‘On the same page’ together with the private sector to ensure the best outcome.
“If we are to attract more investment to achieve the growth levels needed to make a positive impact on unemployment then, as a destination, we need to make ourselves attractive. Also we need to support those industries which have already attracted very substantial investments e.g. the tourism industry and ensure that we maximize the return on the limited funding available from the public sector to support them e.g. destination marketing. To achieve this we must address the current confusion, overlap and wasteful expenditure which will be a focus of the EDP process.
“Governments do not make money and need to support the private sector. The EDP will be mandated to do this.”
Otto Stehlek, Protea Hotels chairperson, said Alan Winde and Andrew Boraine need a round of applause. “They have assembled a group of people who can be potentially effective. And anything that makes the Western Cape more efficient must be welcomed. South Africa does face difficulties competing at an international level and we must do everything we can to reduce these difficulties.
“This deserves our best shot.”
This time it must work — there must be a unified focus and efficiencies. The bottom line — jobs, investment, tourists, etc — is more important than hype.
Are other provinces watching? The depoliticisation of economic development and tourism is the only way to get them working.
The steering committe tasked with the job of making it happen comprises:
Mr Ashoek Adhikari – General Counsel of Media24
Mr Peter Bacon – Chairperson of Cape Town Routes Unlimited
Dr Walter Baets – Director of the UCT Graduate School of Business
Mr Michael Bagraim – President of the Cape Chamber of Commerce
Professor Leon Campher – CEO of the Savings and Investment Association of South Africa
Professor Brian Figaji – Director of Nedbank Group Limited and Chairperson of the DBSA Development Fund
Mr Solly Fourie – Head of the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism
Mr Ben Kodisang – MD of Old Mutual Investment Group Property Investments and Chairperson of Wesgro Board
Ms Nontwenhle Mchunu – Entrepreneur and owner of Ezulwini Chocolat
Ms Lele Mehlomakulu – Head of HR at Allan Gray
Mr Jannie Mouton – Non-Executive Director of PSG Financial Services limited
Mr Patrick Parring – Entrepreneur and co-founder of WECBOF
Mr Conrad Sidego – Executive Mayor of Stellenbosch Municipality
Mr Otto Stehlik – Executive Chairman of Protea Hotels
Dr Iqbal Surve – Chief Executive of Sekunjalo Investments
Alderman Belinda Walker – City of Cape Town Mayco Member for Economic Development
Minister Alan Winde (Chair) – Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism
Cape Town was named as the Word Design Capital for 2014 ahead of the other short-listed cities, Dublin and Bilbao. This prestigious status is designated biennially by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) to cities that are dedicated to using design for social, cultural and economic development. Cape Town’s accolade was awarded at the International Design Alliance (IDA) Congress in Taipei today.
After the announcement, the 3,000 conference-goers were treated to a glimpse of what to expect in Cape Town, in this stunning video by Muti Films and the sounds of Freshlyground.
In her acceptance speech Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille said: “It is an honour for me to be addressing you here today as mayor of the first African city to be named a World Design Capital. A city belongs to its people and it must be designed for and with them and their communities. For many years, people have been applying innovative solutions to our challenges. They have been using design to transform various aspects of life. But they have often been working without an overarching social goal in mind.
“The World Design Capital bid process and title have helped to bring different initiatives together and have made us realise that design in all its forms, when added together, creates human and city development.
“The World Design Capital designation gives cities like Cape Town additional motivation to actively think of transformative design in development plans. We look forward to learning from other cities that are using design as a tool for transformation, including past winners Torino, Seoul and Helsinki and our fellow short-listed cities, Dublin and Bilbao. We are honoured to have been considered with them.”
The Cape Town Partnership started the World Design Capital bidding process over a year ago, on behalf of the City of Cape Town. A Bid Committee was tasked to frame the theme of the bid and to source content and case studies for the bid book. It included design case studies in the Stellenbosch area. On 31 March 2011 the 465-page bid book was formally submitted to the International Council for Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) in Canada, with the theme, “Live Design. Transform Life”.
Explaining the importance of the year 2014, De Lille said it will be the celebration of 20 years of democracy in South Africa,
“That celebration will allow for a time of reflection, to think about how far we have come as a country and a city. We will also be positioning ourselves to plan for the future. The next 20 years, and the 20 years after that, demand nothing less if we are to prosper as a city and a society and truly mature into our full potential.
“2014 then is the moment when the past and the future will come together for Cape Town, in contemplation and in action. In South Africa, cities were designed over decades to divide people. But since our new democratic era, we have been focused on trying to bring people together, to create a sustainable city that fosters real social inclusion.”
“The challenges faced by cities today are numerous. Sometimes, they seem unique. When we broaden our horizon, however, we discover the tremendous energy and innovation of individuals, communities and firms using design every day to create solutions. They are to be found within our city… and all over the world.
“In 2014, we will channel that energy into a series of events that celebrate design as a driver of social and economic change in the urban environment. We invite the global design community to become a part of our design journey, in our city, in Africa and in the world,” De Lille said.
Cape Town’s bid has gained widespread public and private sector support at City and Provincial level. It provides the opportunity to embed design thinking into urban development planning for social and economic growth. The accolade will also enhance Cape Town’s reputation globally as being a place that is known for more than just its natural beauty.
Previous World Design Capital title holders have seen increased visitor numbers as a result of the designation. Torino, Italy, World Design Capital for 2008, reported higher visitor numbers in their title year – which coincided with the global economic downturn – than in 2006, when they hosted the Winter Olympics.
Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, Managing Director of the Cape Town Partnership and co-ordinator of the bid on behalf of the City said: “It has been a long and rewarding journey to get to this point. The real key to our success has been the partnerships that have been forged during the bid process, and the unwavering support of the City of Cape Town and the Provincial Government of the Western Cape. Being named World Design Capital for 2014 is a unique opportunity for us to reposition Cape Town on the world stage as a city of innovation, creativity and caring – and to continue to foster and promote our design industries at home and abroad.”
The World Design Capital 2014 title results in a year-long programme of design-focused events that will see creative communities across the globe turning to Cape Town for social, economic and cultural solutions. These connections are vital in the long-term links the city will secure with global role-players within creative industries. This win also highlights how design innovation has led to growth in the Stellenbosch area, taking the bid beyond the city’s borders to acknowledge the design assets of the region.
Said Stellenbosch Mayor Conrad Sidego from Taipei, where the theme of the IDA Congress is “Design at the Edges”: “The edge is where design of the past and design of the future meet – in this moment we have the opportunity to shape a new design legacy for our region.”
In 1990, while I was part of the V&A Waterfront team, I bought an international travel magazine. There was a story on Barcelona’s renaissance after the end of Spain’s dictatorship. With events then starting to unfold in South Africa, I wondered if the same could happen in Cape Town.
Although there have been scores of accolades for the city since democracy in 1994, most of these have been from the city’s traditional markets with limited global awareness. Probably one of the most important accolades came from Parliament itself with this note from the Speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete: “On 25 October 2007, the National Assembly of South Africa agreed to a motion, noting that Cape Town was ranked the best city out of the country’s 283 municipalities.
The House further noted that the city won this award because of the way in which the municipality dealt with poverty, the level of access to basic services, its economic activity and infrastructure and because its citizens are well qualified.
The House recalled that in July  Cape Town was ranked by USA’s Travel & Leisure magazine as the number one city in Africa and the Middle East and claimed tenth spot in the “best city in the world” category.
The National Assembly congratulates both the city administration and the residents of Cape Town on making it a world class city and a top tourist destination.”
Cape Town’s international profile received a major boost when, in 1997, it bid for the 2004 Olympics and made it through to the final three cities. Here, and with events like the Argus Cycle Tour, the city has repeatedly demonstrated its capacity and capability.
But it was TripAdvisor’s World’s Best Destination 2011 that almost took everybody by surprise. Was this one of the benefits of hosting the 2010 World Cup? Will it remain in the top 5 or was this a fluke showing? Cape Town’s ranking next year will be an indication.
The latest achievement, and the first since the Olympic Bid to demonstrate a wider footprint that embraces Cape Town’s poorer areas, was making the three-city shortlist out of the 54 entries from 27 countries for World Design Capital 2014. (Read the full story here.) This is also, as far as I know, the first international bid out of South Africa where the Mandela-factor hasn’t been a trump card.
So what are the reasons for Cape Town’s success — accepting that God-given natural beauty isn’t the only reason? What does Cape Town owe its renaissance to? One of the reasons for the V&A Waterfront’s success has always been given as timing – the end of apartheid and SA’s isolation.
Timing must again be one of the reasons, but institutional interventions without bureaucratic control must surely be another? It is these institutions that have contributed more to Cape Town’s heritage and vitality than anything else. One of the first, if not the first, is the Cape Town Heritage Trust, established in 1987.
The Cape Town Heritage Trust is an independent, private-sector, non-profit organisation which conserves the architectural, cultural and natural heritage of Cape Town and environs for the benefit of the inhabitants of the City and of the nation at large. The Trust was established in 1987 by the Cape Town City Council with the backing of the Cape Provincial Administration. A number of buildings in Shortmarket and Hout Streets, originally acquired for road-widening purposes, were donated to the Trust.
Cape Information Technology Initiative, a non-profit organisation established in 1998, develops & supports the information & communications technology cluster in the Western Cape.
There have been many initiatives — too many to mention here — some driven by local government but most by the private sector with local government support. This is a major reason for the growth and strength of Cape Town’s knowledge economy.
Those agencies that still kowtow to the politicians — like the provincial tourism agency — have never enjoyed the same level of success.
Looking at the reasons for Cape Town’s success, deputy mayor Ian Neilson, quotes Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class and Who’s Your City?, who lists five required success factors:
safety – physical & economic
acceptance of diversity
“These factors define the cities that people want to live in,” he says, “and I think Cape Town does fairly well in all respects. We’ve concentrated on creating platforms for effective institutions and enabling effective legislation — to facilitate rather than control.”
Desirable cities and towns always attract the most creative and entrepreneurial people.
There’s little doubt that Helen Zille’s award as World’s Best Mayor in 2008 helps the city’s credibility. In a competition where public comments and votes do count, Capetonians made themselves heard.
The Cape Town Partnership, launched in 1999, is a collaboration between the public & private sectors working together to develop, promote & manage Cape Town Central City.
Theodore Yach, who chairs the Cape Town Heritage Trust and is a member of the Central City Improvement District, says consumer activism is one of the reasons for Cape Town’s success. “People have started realising that it’s not just the city administration that needs to take responsibility. There are now about 40 City Improvement Districts (CIDs) around the city, and what’s happening there is a fantastic story. In the CBD alone, there’s been an explosion in value of ten times since 2000! That’s unheard of!”
While the CTP and its CIDs are excellent examples of consumer activism, a much earlier example needs to be mentioned. Gabriel Fagan and the late Victor Holloway conceived the idea for the redevelopment of the V&A Waterfront in 1970s and, after Holloway’s death in 1983, Fagan continued lobbying for this.
Creative Cape Town, a programme of the Cape Town Partnership established in 2006, communicates, supports and facilitates the development of the creative & knowledge economy in the Central City of Cape Town. Imagine City Hall is a citizen activation programme: its aim is to draw support for the development of the Cape Town City Hall as a dedicated cultural venue.
Then a group of waterfront enthusiasts, supported by then-mayor Sol Kreiner, managed to get permission from the port authorities to host the Pierhead Festival in 1985 – the first time widespread public access was allowed to the docks since the Suez Crisis in the 1960s! It was a resounding success and organising committee chair, Harold Gorvy, asked for a meeting with the ministers of transport and tourism to ask for the redevelopment of the area. They agreed and a committee under the chairmanship of Arie Burggraaf was announced the following year, resulting in the formation of the V&A Waterfront company. (I bumped into Hendrik Schoeman, the transport minister who took the decision, at the Waterfront in the mid-1990s just before his suicide. He remarked, sadly, that no-one would remember the roles played by the early lobbyists — consumer activists? — or the breakthrough decision he took to get it all started.)
Victor Holloway must also be credited with saving the Lutheran Church complex at the top of Strand Street. While arts editor of Die Burger, he published a superimposed photo of the area showing the proposed elevated freeway. The proposal was dropped after a public outcry. Cape Town is renown for its vocal citizens.
Citizen and consumer activism — taking action and responsibility — is the lifeblood of successful cities and towns.
Character of Capetonians
And then there is the character of Capetonians – more educated, creative, entrepreneurial and lifestyle-focused than citizens of most other cities.
Capetonians take ownership of their city more than one finds elsewhere in South Africa. Mornings and evenings, streets are filled with people walking (with or without dogs), jogging or cycling. That’s a rarity in other metropolitan areas.
Except for the brief period under Nomaindia Mfeketo’s mayoralty, when the city council approached a total meltdown, Cape Town has had strong and effective local government. Equally strong were the media and bodies like the Cape Institute of Architects, which engaged the council rigorously.
When the late Revel Fox (a prominent architect) was elected city councillor after the first democratic local government elections, he became chair of the important Town Planning Committee. Every meeting started an hour earlier for rookie councillors, when Revel took them through the agenda and the implications of the decisions they would be required to make.
Cape Town has grown up. Through recent projects as diverse as the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) and the Cape Town Jazz Festival — and their capable management — it has shown that it competes on a world stage. The city’s hotels, restaurants and airport are all top-ranked in the world. Democracy did open the doors and the new constitution ended the era of conservativism. So, looking back, Cape Town did follow in Barcelona’s footsteps.
But is everything rosy? Not quite. The acclaimed Cape Town Partnership and its CIDs are not a solution for all Capetonians. Their mission still reads “for the central city” although there is now a CID in Athlone’s regional centre — the CID model only works where there is commercial property management who can afford to top up the municipality’s expenditure and efforts. It only works in affluent areas so it’s not a city-wide solution.
(Unfortunately, Andrew Boraine — CTP’s CEO — is as bad at returning phone calls as he’s always been… since his time as city manager, so I couldn’t get his comments on this or on Cape Town’s renaissance.)
And the city’s marketing is still trying to catch up with its mandate. Cape Town Tourism (CTT) has been talking about the Cape Town brand for five years and it’s three years since it was mandated by the City as custodian of Cape Town’s brand. The process has followed a long road of consultation and inclusiveness, rather than inspired and inspiring leadership. If one follows Twitter, the ‘eats’ at the last meeting were outstanding, as was the enthusiasm for something which can only be described as a clone of Pick n Pay’s tagline. (CTT previously appropriated New York City’s famous signature I ♥ NY for its Facebook page, I ♥ Cape Town. As veteran marketing commentator Chris Moerdyk remarked during the preparation of a related story*, anyone who uses NY’s signature phrase will always be regarded as a copycat.)
CTT has announced that its new brand positioning of Inspiration rolls out from July 1 with new creatives, images and productions on the Discovery and National Geographic channels for example. But will this address the domestic market — the mainstay of all tourism?
After extensive research, the national department of tourism has found that they will get far more bang for their buck by growing domestic tourism, and this is where they and all their agencies are focussing their attention.
Cape Town desperately needs to change perceptions nationally that it is not an enclave of white privilege and that it is welcoming to all visitors. Surely the DA needs that too for further gains at the polls.
More on the CID model
Since its establishment in November 2000, the CCID has become an internationally acclaimed model of public-private partnership between property owners and businesses, supported by the City Council. The formation of the CCID was a significant event for Cape Town, because it was the first major city in South Africa to implement a fully constituted, legally bound Improvement District covering the entire core of the Central City. Property owners have contributed more than R150 million to the rejuvenation of the Central City during the past eight years.
A Central Improvement District (CID) is a precisely defined geographical area, approved by the City Council in terms of the Municipal Property Rates Act, Section 22 (Special Rates Area) and the CID bylaw – to provide complementary services in that area.
To address the stated requirements of property owners, 51% of the CCID’s annual budget is spent on security, approximately 22% on cleansing, 3% on social development and 11% on communications and marketing. The remainder of the budget goes towards operational and administrative costs of the CCID.
* The comment was published on CapeInfo along with the most successful destination brands to have come out of the city. I’m trying to find it in the archives which weren’t transferred to the new content management system.
I’ve spent two years exploring South Africa and have never ceased to be amazed at the enormous disparity between towns as “Destinations.”
De Rust's "Donkie Texsie" - sometimes the smallest things leave the most indelible memories.
Take tiny De Rust near Meiringspoort in the Western Cape as an example. It has fargreater attraction than Mokopane — 200 times larger — on the edge of the Waterberg in Limpopo. De Rust has a welcoming main street and a lively café scene. Mokopane hardly encourages a stop yet, digging deeper, it has so much unused potential — from adjacent mountains and Makapan’s World Heritage Site to the Nyl River.
Mokopane has a very attractive golf course — which the municipality swapped with the mine for water infrastructure. But then one looks at Phalaborwa, also in Limpopo, where the mine sold its golf course to a developer and, today, Hans Merensky Estate is to Phalaborwa what the V&A Waterfront is to Cape Town.
Thinking of the spectacular views from Rotary Way which runs along the mountaintop above Hermanus, I didn’t discover a single road onto Mokopane’s mountain!
I also visited Mosesetjane, one of Mokopane’s more rural townships on tribal land (where the only municipal service seems to be a water tanker for funeral parties). But it was clean, friendly and there was an evident sense of pride in spite of poverty. It has more sense of place than Mokopane town.
Looking at the success of towns, it all boils down to two (or maybe three) things:
The competence of municipal government to understand that their responsibility goes far beyond service delivery — they must also create attractive places where entrepreneurship flourishes.
Citizens who expect and demand more of their local government.
And then there is the third item:
Mines and other non-sustainable industries are, in most cases, a kiss of death for any town. They tend to “take ownership” of towns, they stifle entrepreneurship and lower expectations for environmental quality. (Yes, there are exceptions and I refer to one below. But mining towns are essentially utilitarian and lacking in whimsy and delight.)
Turning towns around
The failure of many towns to provide a “sense of place” or adequate framework for entrepreneurial growth stems from a lack of a meaningful Urban Design Frameworks. Few municipalities understand the complexity of developing urban places that work, let alone entice, enthrall and are enjoyed.
Mthatha in the Eastern Cape is just one example of a totally and utterly dysfunctional town. East London’s CBD has no attraction value at all.
Catalysts for change
Many towns owe their renewal, to a lesser or greater extent, to one or more catalysts. There’s always value to understanding this and looking for potential new catalysts.
In Cape Town, the pedestrianisation of St George’s Street and the development of the V&A Waterfront played an important role.
The high level of urban management within the V&A Waterfront led for calls for this to be replicated in Cape Town’s CBD, which led to the establishment of the Cape Town Partnership — a very successful private-public partnership that ensures the city is one of the most desirable destinations in the world.
In Napier, like many small towns in the Western Cape, an influx of city folk saw buildings being sensitively restored and a new community vitality.
In Graaff-Reinet, the purchase and restoration of historical buildings by the late Dr Anton Rupert’s Historical Homes of SA saw a resurgence of town pride and home-owners came to the party.
Die Tuishuise in Cradock
In Cradock, Sandra Antrobus, a farmer’s wife, got into antiques and then building restoration, and ended up buying and restoring a whole street — Die Tuishuise — which has become the face of “Destination Cradock”.
In Phalaborwa, Rio Tinto looking forward to the time when mining will cease, endowed the town with R176 million and the Palabora Foundation. The outcome is that local learners outperform others in Limpopo province and a wide range of skills training for adults is provided. The Foundation also funds the local tourism office, arguably the best tourism office in the province not funded and managed by Limopo Tourism itself. What is tangible is the pride in Phalaborwa. Other mining towns wish their mining companies would emulate Rio Tinto’s lead.
And then there is the example of two catalysts for change that don’t achieve the leverage they could:
Shark cage diving at Gansbaai is big business and attracts the most remarkable stream of international celebrities. But they are bussed in and bussed out in a day and the spin-off for the town is nowehere as great as it could be.
The Western Cape’s Route 62 should be a money-spinner (job creator, etc) for the 11 — 14 towns along the route, which is only 70km longer than the notoriously dangerous N1, with three towns along its route. But the failure of Western Cape Government and SANRAL to effectively promote the alternative prevents Route 62 from reaching its full potential.
The awards programme needs to achieve a few things. It needs to:
Help local government discover how to create “People Places” that nurture entrepreneurship;
Involve citizens and past visitors so that they engage with local government and destination marketing organisations to identify what works and what can work better;
Identify catalysts for change and encourage other catalysts to emerge.
I’m grateful to Mariette du Toit-Helmbold for this definition of a destination by the Communication Group: “At its simplest a destination is a place where people want to be. It is a special place, it is more than just bricks and mortar; it is a place whose greatest assets and experiences occupy people’s minds and hearts.“