At a property panel discussion held by Pam Golding Ballito and chaired by co-owner David Cameron, local property experts expressed confidence that the North Coast’s development sector will continue to trend upwards despite economic pressures at the national level. The panel consisted of Brian Wright, who founded the Ballito UIP and manages eight similar nodes across the province, Murray Collins, owner of the Collins Group, and Cobus Oelofse, CEO of the iLembe Chamber of Commerce. While acknowledging significant obstacles at national and local levels, including the electricity crisis and ongoing socio-economic disparities, the experts believe that the North Coast is best placed to weather the storm.
According to Collins, off-the-grid living is happening organically due to the amount of investment in alternative energy, which will diminish Eskom’s importance. He also highlighted ongoing private investment upgrades to public infrastructure as examples of mutually beneficial public-private partnerships with the municipality. Wright echoed the sentiment and cited the five-year increase in Ballito property value of 43% as proof that many people agree, either via ‘semigration’ from Durban or from inland to the coast.
When asked whether Ballito could shift away from being a seasonal economy, Oelofse highlighted under-utilised attractions that could draw year-round tourism, such as the Sebhudu Cave and the King Shaka heritage route. He also highlighted the northern industrial hubs as proof that manufacturing could flourish locally. Collins indicated that international investment could return, in the form of Club Med and Heineken, though he did not confirm any details.
Overall, the panel painted a rosy picture for development in the North Coast, where widespread investment has helped to grow the income of the KwaDukuza Municipality (KDM) by more than 80% in the past five years.