Ithuba aims to grow economic opportunities

Mayco member for economic opportunities, James Vos, at the launch of Ithuba.

A project to improve economic opportunity in the city was launched at the Granary last Thursday.

Project Ithuba, according to Mayco member for economic opportunities James Vos, will focus on five areas – investment to facilitate access to jobs; tourism diversification; sector support to enhance competitiveness; supplying skills for economic growth; and asset management.

Working hand in hand with InvestCapeTown — an investment project similar to Ithuba – Mr Vos said his department would continue to promote the city as a globally competitive destination, using, among other things, the internet and social media as well as articles in international publications.

The department’s new tourism development framework would encourage inclusive and sustainable tourism, he said.

Mr Vos said tourism should be diversified beyond standard fare such as the Waterfront and Table Mountain, and assets such as the Good Hope Centre, City Hall, the Grand Parade and Athlone Stadium should be used to their full potential.

Mr Vos said his department had also had good feedback on sector skills programmes it had continued to invest in.

“The focus is simple – placement of individuals into work opportunities, and key to this is avoiding training just for the sake of training, but to have jobs ready when they have completed training.”

The project would also see the opening of a walk-in business service hub in the Strand Street Concourse by mid-2019, said Mr Vos.

The hub will offer support for small businesses, provide networking opportunities and help iron out issues that people may have with start-up businesses.

Mayor Dan Plato said despite all the crises the city faced, Cape Town was still named a leading events destination and the best-run metro in South Africa.

“This is an acknowledgement that we do our best to make it better.”

Unemployment in the country was still too high but projects like Ithuba could help to change that, he said, adding that one of Ithuba’s objectives was to revive the Cape clothing and textile sector.

Cape Town Tourism chairperson, Julie-May Ellingson, said Ithuba was an exciting initiative, and it was important to diversify tourism.

“Skills development is also important as it provides work opportunities, and even opens up doors for people to start opening their own businesses.”

Mr Vos claimed the project would not cost a cent.

“It was taking what we already had and just streamlining the process to allow more focus on key projects and delivery of those projects.”