South Africa is getting ‘a new coastal city’ – here are all the details [photos]

The Eastern Cape has had a lot of excitement this year: Name-changes have been taking place in several major locations, including Port Elizabeth’s transformation into ‘Gqeberha’. But rather than altering its identity, the remote town of Port St Johns is on course for an unlikely makeover – and it will soon be developed into SA’s ‘new coastal city’.

Could this sleepy town become our a new coastal city? It seems so… – Photo: Google Maps

A new coastal city for South Africa? It’s game on…

The plans were made public this week, by Avril Williamson. She is the Director-General of COGTA (yes, that’s the ministry headed by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma), and the official has confirmed that a massive overhaul is likely to take place in PSJ:

“The strategic planning session presented an opportunity for reflection on the performance of Port St Johns, and to reimagine its future within the context of the District Development Model (DDM).”

“The PSJ municipality is in an important position as it is located within the first pilot site launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa – the OR Tambo District Municipality – in 2019.”

One of three breahtaking beaches in PSJ – Photo: PitchUp

Why has Port St Johns been chosen?

There are a multitude of factors that have put PSJ in pole position to become Mzansi’s new coastal city. Yes, being home to outstanding natural beauty and some of the friendliest people in the country is a bonus, but COGTA officials say there are more ‘practical reasons’ for choosing to develop a town that is essentially isolated from any other thriving urban areas.

  • Port St Johns was singled out for its ‘pristine coastal line’, and ‘fertile land home to diverse flora and fauna’.
  • – PSJ has ‘untapped and unmatched potential’ for ecotourism and diversified marine biology.
  • – The small town is likely to become a new coastal city ‘thanks to its rich history and heritage’.
  • – Location, location, location. Port St Johns is between Durban and East London – a stretch of land where there’s no major city for almost 400 miles.
  • – Master plans for water, electricity, sanitation and road infrastructure are already being drawn-up.
It’s simply heavenly from above, too – Photo: PSJ / Twitter

Where is Port St Johns?

Port St Johns is home to about 6 500 people on the Wild Coast – despite its small size, it still attracts a healthy amount of tourists each year. It is situated at the mouth of the Umzimvubu River, 220 kilometres northeast of East London. The nearest other significant location is Mthatha, which is at least an hour away by car.

According to Williams, PSJ has a huge part to play in the grand scheme of things for South Africa…

Port St Johns is located far away from any major municipality in South Africa – Photo: Google Maps

Looking at the bigger picture for our new coastal city

The government is trying to create a ‘coastal belt’, which links major roads and cities together between Alexander Bay in the Northern Cape, and Kosi Bay in KwaZulu-Natal – two of the most ‘extreme points’ in the country.

“The spatial construct of 600kms between eThekwini and Buffalo City, which does not have a city in between, could be an integral part of the coastal belt plan linking, Alexander Bay to Kosi Bay with inland and other hub development. The institutionalisation of long-range planning is a key element to realising the potential of this new coastal city.”

Port St Johns new coastal city
The town centre can get rather lively during business hours – Photo: Google Maps

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Presh JM Reporter

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