Service delivery woes stall COVID lockdown recovery of North West tourism

Businesses say the impact of poor service delivery meant that even under the more relaxed restrictions of the level 1 lockdown, they battled to recover from COVID-19.

Regular water cuts, poorly maintained roads and now load shedding have forced tourism businesses in Hartbeespoort, near Pretoria to undertake costly contingency measures to keep their doors open.

HARTBEESPOORT - Regular water cuts, poorly maintained roads and now load shedding have forced tourism businesses in Hartbeespoort, near Pretoria to undertake costly contingency measures to keep their doors open.

Many South Africans were incensed by the announcement of stage 4 load shedding and in the North West a water crisis prompted a visit by Water and Sanitation Deputy Minister David Mahlobo.

Businesses in the popular North West destination said the impact of poor service delivery had meant that even under the more relaxed restrictions of the level 1 lockdown, they battled to recover from the adverse effects of COVID-19.

The aerial cableway remains a popular attraction as the longest mono cableway in Africa.

But running the cableway with an unreliable water and electricity supply has proven to be an expensive nightmare as Reservations Manager Micaela Vermuelen explained, “in the last six months we had to buy an additional 6,000 litre JoJo tanks to try and accommodate everybody when the water goes off. We have got a truck-size generator to help with load shedding but had to go the extreme to buy another one.”

Vermeulen said the additional costs, combined with the impact of COVID had made it difficult to generate revenue and now news of a looming fourth wave have businesses like theirs worried.

Owner of the Vintage Booth situated next to the French Toast Restaurant at the Little Paris Complex in Hartbeespoort, Annelie Dillman said there was a great chance tourists would lose interest in the small town because of the poorly maintained roads.

Both Dillman and Vermeulen say the collapse of the already struggling Hartbeespoort tourism industry would affect many households who relied on it for income.

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