Reimagining Hout Bay Harbour

The City of Cape Town is hoping the draft Harbour By-law will be passed so Hout Bay harbour can be returned to its former glory.

Imagine if the Hout Bay Harbour were a place where the people of Hangberg could find affordable housing, jobs, training and entrepreneurial opportunities.

That could become a reality after a motion to “re-imagine the Hout Bay Harbour” was submitted and accepted by sub-council.

Ward councillor Rob Quintas is the man behind this vision for Hout Bay.

He wants to introduce gap of affordable housing; maritime-training colleges; ocean-economy enterprises, such as boat building and other activities; a world-class fish market; hotels; restaurants and shops to the harbour precinct, in the hope of creating jobs and fresh opportunities.

“I urged this sub-council to support a motion to ‘re-imagine a Hout Bay Harbour’ that unlocks untapped potential. I believe that the time for formalisng this exciting proposal and vision is now,” Mr Quintas said.

If the vision becomes reality, underused jetties will be lined with informal traders selling street foods and local fare and abandoned buildings will become seafood eateries.

“Imagine tour buses and visitors to the market precinct walking the jetty, savouring local vetkoeks, sweetmeats and fish parcels. A mixed-use precinct that allows for a diverse offering of employment opportunities would benefit our community,” he said.

Hangberg third-generation fisherman Henry Combrinck said the vision was “long overdue” for the area. The time for talking about it was over; action was needed.

“You hear people talking all the time. You see people rushing here to the harbour to explore its beauty every weekend and hear them talking about the potential this place has. Everybody knows it, but now is the time to act on it,” he said, standing with a metre-long snoek in his hand.

“I think everybody will be more excited with the working opportunity as unemployment is a major problem in Hangberg. It must also be opportunities where our people can grow and make something of themselves.” Another Hangberg resident who gave the idea “two thumbs up” is Leona Jacobs, a single working mother with four children, two of whom are struggling to find work.

“Both my sons matriculated, but to find work these days is tough. Their father was a fisherman but died at sea, and I always looked out for them because I know how tough things are around here.”

Creating more work opportunities in the harbour could change her sons’ lives, she said.

“Employment is a big thing around here, because still, you see many teenagers sitting on corners and outside shops all day, without work. That is where the crime comes from, and that is how our youngsters get caught in drugs.”

The Hangberg Peace and Mediation Forum also likes the idea, but its secretary and social development co-ordinator, Warren Abrahams, said locals should be involved in the plan.

“You must bear in mind that in the past, this community was marginalised, lied to and kept in the dark by our previous community leaders, business owners and government. We were never allowed to even comment on such issues, but since then, we’ve come a long way, and we now have a say in everything that affects our community.”

He described the concept as “a chance for us to better our lives and living conditions” and said it needed to draw in all Hout Bay communities.

“If everything concerning the Hout Bay community is done correctly, inclusively and with transparency and has the communities’ interest at heart, it will be a positive process and will definitely be a success.”

The plan needed the community, government and businesses to work together to be successful..

“We the Hangberg community provide our full support,” Mr Abrahams said. “We are hopeful and pray that the vision for the ‘re-imagining of Hout Bay Harbour’ materialises sooner and is supported by all spheres of government.”