Port St Johns to be transformed into Mzansi’s brand-new coastal city

Port St Johns to be transformed into Mzansi’s brand-new coastal city

The COGTA Department has confirmed that 'a new coastal city' will be built in the 600km gap between Durban and East London.

Port St Johns

The Eastern Cape has certainly started 2021 off with a bang. Following the news that name changes will be taking place around the province, including Port Elizabeth becoming ‘Gqeberha’, the coastal town of Port St Johns is expected to get a massive makeover.

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs confirmed the news, saying that plans to develop a new coastal city has been in the works for quite some time.

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“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),” Avril Williamson, the Director-General of COGTA says. “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.”

Today, Port St Johns is home to just 6,500 people on the Wild Coast. However, despite its small size, the town is still a major tourist attraction and brings in a healthy amount of visitors each year.

The town is situated at the mouth of the Umzimvubu River, 220 kilometres northeast of East London. The town is rather isolated in terms of major neighbours, with the nearest other significant location being Mthatha - at least an hour away by car.

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Williams explains that the government is looking at creating a ‘coastal belt’, which links major roads and cities together between Alexander Bay in the Northern Cape and Kosi Bay in KwaZulu-Natal.

“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,” Williams adds. “The institutionalisation of long-range planning is a key element to realising the potential of this new coastal city.”

COGTA officials explain that Port St Johns has been chosen as the prime location for this new coastal city because it is situated on a stretch of land where there’s no major city for almost 600 kilometres.

Currently, master plans for water, electricity, sanitation, and road infrastructure are being drawn-up as work officially begins to transform the quaint town into Mzansi’s latest coastal city.

Image courtesy: Trip Advisor

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