GOVERNMENT believes the coastal town of Port St Johns, with a population of fewer than 8000, has the potential to be a major tourism and economic hub.
This emerged from a keynote address by Department of Cooperative Governance Director General (DG) Avril Williamson to the town’s Local Municipality Strategic Planning Session on behalf of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma
The strategic planning session presented an opportunity to reflect on the performance of PSJ and to reimagine its future within the context of the District Development Model (DDM), Williamson said, adding that the municipality was in a key location within the first pilot site launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa – the OR Tambo District Municipality.
She spoke glowingly of Ports St Johns’ pristine coastline, complemented by fertile land which is under state and communal ownership, as well as its diverse flora and fauna, diversified marine biology, and its rich history and heritage.
She said the town and the entire district had untapped, unmatched potential for ecotourism and diversified marine biology.
Referring to the 600 kilometres between eThekwini and Buffalo City without a city in between, she said this could make Port St Johns an integral part of the coastal belt plan linking Alexander Bay to Kosi Bay with inland and other hub developments.
As part of the way forward, the DG emphasised the institutionalisation of long-range planning through the DDM as a key element to realising the potential of a new coastal city. She emphasised the importance of Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) which, she said, are central to people development, service provision and good governance.
“To this end, the IDPs and One Plan have to be integrated so as to have a positive impact on communities. The OR Tambo DDM Hub is important as it is an extension of the COGTA support system and a resource capacity for all municipalities in the OR Tambo district particularly as it pertains to shared services to facilitate integrated planning across the three spheres of government.”