Taking a drive down da Gama Road in Jeffreys Bay, it is disturbing to see the number of empty commercial premises in the town. We haven’t seen this many vacant shops since the mid 1990’s when Jeffreys Bay went through a similar slump economically.
Pawn shops abounded in da Gama Road in those days, which is never a good sight to see as people off loaded their possessions just to survive.
The massive explosion of commercial property is also to blame for the number of empty shops on 2010 and the creation of the new CBD up at the Fountains Mall has played a part as well.
However, the established businesses have managed to keep their turnovers ticking, especially in the food and retail industries where some businesses have recorded increases in takings during 2010, when compared to last year.
Businesses will have to tighten their belts during the last five months of the year though, as the feet that came through town during the World Cup and Billabong Pro trickle to an end.
Nationally there has been a decline of 15 % in the total value of building plans passed between January – May 2010 when compared to the same period last year. The hardest hit has been commercial property which has recorded an alarming 40 % decline.
An increase of 15 % of summons for civil debt has also taken place over the year according to Stats SA, which indicated that South Africa is not yet out of the woods economically.
The good news is that the Eastern Cape has bucked the national trend and actually saw an increase of 9 % in building plans passed. Whilst the building industry has suffered in Jeffreys Bay, at least there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel.