Protests ‘damaging business and tourism’

ONGOING housing protests which have escalated in violence are damaging local business and tourism, according to stakeholders who spoke out this week.

BAD ADVERT: The shell of a burnt-out car at the turnoff to 43 Air School on the R67. The car was burnt after the driver allegedly hit one of the New Rest housing protestors and then tried to get through a blockade Friday and. A local businessman sarcastically called it ‘a great advert for the town and 43 Air School’ Picture: JON HOUZET

TotT first received a call from an insider at 43 Air School who said the company that owns the air school was concerned about the ongoing protests and considering whether it was worth continuing operations in Port Alfred.

The air school has been one of the businesses hardest hit by a series of protests and blockades of the R67 at the air school turnoff, as staff and students have not been able to get to work and classes and operations have been disrupted.

But other businesses have also been affected by commuters not being able to travel on the R67 in and out of town.

Local estate agent Warwick Heny weighed in on the matter this week, in a letter he e-mailed to the Ward 10 committee and other local businesspeople.

“As owner of a struggling business in a critically harsh economy climate, I wish to vent my anger and frustration at the ongoing issues of the informal settlement residents blocking roads and preventing access to the town,” Heny said.

“I am sure the residents have real and urgent issues and I feel for them, but they are severely damaging the fragile reputation of the town. What is being done to address these serious concerns of desperate people?”

Heny also mentioned the impact on 43 Air School, which was already hampered by a runway contract not being sorted out.

See the full story in this week’s Talk of the Town.

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