First small step taken to form the Hout Bay Partnership

The first of many small steps towards the formation of a Hout Bay Partnership, was taken on Wednesday, 16 September 2009, in a packed Hout Bay Library hall.

The meeting served as the first of a number of public information sessions that will be held to discuss the process of forming aunique partnershipmodelled on the Cape Town Partnership which was established ten years ago.

“Hout Bay is a microcosm of Cape Town and South Africa, with its innate natural beauty juxtaposed against enormous inequalities and disparities in living conditions across apartheid-induced spatial and racial fault lines, all within a geographically distinct and confined area,” said Rolfe Eberhard, the coordinator of the event.

Potential members of the Partnership were each presented with a founding agreement to be taken back to their respective organisations for discussion – some of which have already signed the agreement.

Facilitator Jonty Dreyer, a Hout Bay stakeholder from Hangburg, expressed his desire to see this partnership as an unique South African model that demonstrates how diverse communities can all work together to pave the way for a sustainable future for this gem of a town.

Bulelwa Ngewana, deputy chief executive of the Cape Town Partnership, shared the lessons learnt by the Cape Town Partnership since its establishment a decade ago. She stressed the need for an holistic public-private approach that strived to work together to find common solutions for common goals without resorting to a blaming and shaming of partners. “I cannot stress the issue of trust enough. Your first steps should be to win the trust of all the stakeholders; to get people to take hands, and create a future together,” Bulelwa said.

Rolfe presented the background, purpose and principles of the evening to the stakeholders and explained that this partnership would be more than just a public-private relationship. Already more than thirty different organisations had indicated their interest in being part of the Hout Bay Partnership – from Community Policing Forums and the Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch to the local health organisation and the school fraternity.

Rolfe, bringing his vast experience in government public policy to the group, said he believed that the future and well-being of the nation depended on the formation of partnerships such as the Hout Bay Partnership. The phrase “We need to all walk together to walk far,” formed part of his inspiring talk.

“Three challenges are eminent,” Rolfe said. “These are the will to build one community; how we are going to manage ‘race’ in Hout Bay; and how we are going to draw on the skills of all people living in Hout Bay to help get this partnership off the ground.

“A lot has been done already. Although efforts in the past have not been sustainable, they have not been wasted. These are all projects we can learn from and build on.”

Rolfe continued by, mentioning that there are more than 20 NGOs in Hout Bay – all committed organisations which will be vital ingredients in the Hout Bay Partnership in the future.

Rolfe said that housing wasa probably the most crucial and difficult challenge to be faced. “We might not be able to find solutions right away but, through establishing the partnership, we will create a vehicle to listen to the concerns of all the people and find mutual solutions. Ultimately, we want to see all shacks turned into houses.

“We will build on what has worked for the Cape Town Partnership, continue to learn from it and form a unique bond to take us into the future. Like that Partnership, we will become a translation service for all communities in Hout Bay to work together towards a common purpose.”

Who can become members of the Hout Bay Partnership?

  • Any organisation that is active in Hout Bay
  • Individuals who wants to join in their personal or professional capacity (by invitation)
  • Public bodies (like the City of Cape Town, Provincial Government of the Western Cape, Table Mountain National Park, Marine and Coastal Management, etc.)

To find out more about the Hout Bay Partnership, contact Rolfe Eberhard on


Image: At the first information session on the road to forming the Hout Bay Partnership, were from the left Donovan van der Heyden, Jonty Dreyer (facilitator for the evening), Reinhard Marx, Clifford Nogwavu, Dwyn Griesel, Bronwen Lankers-Byrne and Rolfe Eberhard, coordinator of the event.