Cango Caves’ progress praised by three Western Cape Ministers
Three Western Cape Provincial ministers have lauded the Oudtshoorn Municipality for a positive turnaround of the Cango Caves which was facing a brink of being closed in about three years ago, due to management and financial difficulties.
The three provincial ministers that addressed members of the media in press conference held at the Cango Caves yesterday were Dr. Ivan Meyer, Western Cape Minister for Finance, Mr. Anton Bredell, Western Cape Minister for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning and Mr. Donald Grant, Minister for Transport and Public Works.
A report tabled by the Oudtshoorn Municipality states that, in 2017 the Cango Caves received a record number of visitors in total 270 000 people. In the years before the intervention, the caves were seeing low numbers of below 150 000 visitors per year and dropping. Where the caves had been lossmaking for years, the new interventions and ongoing work has seen the past three years turn into profitable ones. For the 2018 year the net profit was R1.27 million.
“The Cango Caves is a strategic tourism asset for the greater Oudtshoorn and entire region, and I’m happy to see progress can be attributed to good management, sound financial management and political stability,” said Minister Meyer. “Oudtshoorn has in the past been in the news for wrong reasons; this time, we want to paint a new picture, what we have seen in the past two years, is that Oudtshoorn is out of that bad picture”. Minister Meyer thanked his counterparts; the Western Cape Department of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Department of Finance and his Finance Department for what he called “a package put together to help Oudtshoorn”.
Talking about good Local Government Minister Bredell said: “When the Oudtshoorn council was stabilized and with our support the caves have been saved. Some of the first things we did was to rehabilitate the Cango Caves waste water treatment works. It was the first time in ten years that had been done and it has done a lot to address water problems at the caves.”
“Better management and dedicated budgets has seen the caves fortunes turn around and the result has been remarkable with continued high volumes of visitors visiting the site. The total profit gets reinvested into the caves to further refurbish and improve the attraction for visitors,” Bredell added.
Minister Grant of the Transport and Public Works highlighted the infrastructure investment in the Province particularly focusing on Oudtshoorn. “We have spent over the past three year over R 7 billion Rand, last year in 2017/18 just over a billion rand, Oudtshoorn specifically benefited about R 180 Million rand, of which about R 145 Million rand was specifically invested in roads infrastructure to attract tourists to come visit this area.
The Mayor of the Greater Oudtshoorn, Cllr. Colan Sylvester said, “The success of the Oudtshoorn can be attributed to two things; a town can only flourish where there political stability and competent officials. The senior officials that have joined the municipality came with a variety of skills.” Mayor Sylvester in his presentation mentioned a number of successful service delivery oriented activities that the Oudtshoorn Municipality delivered in the past year, such as handing over of title deeds, road maintenance, increase in the Cango Caves income and the improved financial management of the Municipality in general.
The Municipal manager, Mr. Allen Paulse announced that the position of the senior manager of the Cango Caves has now been advertised and the post will be filled in within the next two week to a month.
- The Cango Caves operate 364 day per year and are only closed on 25 December.
- The Cango Caves generate funding through entrance fees which increases annually on 1 July.
- The staff consists of 29 permanent and 11 temporary workers and comprises of guides, cashiers, maintenance and managerial staff.
- All staff are appointed through municipal recruitment processes.
- The CC are the most affordable tourist attraction in the region – this makes us easily accessible to everyone.
- The caves receive approximately 250,000 visitors annually – 2017 was the best year over the past decade when we exceeded the 270,000 mark.
- International visitors exceed the domestic market by a 60/40 ratio where it was the opposite 10 years ago.
Original press release issued by the Oudtshoorn Municipality’s Media & Communication Services on Wednesday, 26 September, 2018.