It has probably been the most hectic week that many of us have ever experienced! Throughout this extremely volatile situation, thanks to the efforts of so many in our incredible community, the safety of the greater Ballito area and its communities remained paramount and we can be extremely thankful that Ballito escaped the looting and destruction that was the order of the day in many other parts of KZN.
There has been an unprecedented coming together of people on the North Coast over the last 10 days and it may be the case that life, the Ballito way, will never be quite the same again. As individuals and collectively, the people of the greater Ballito area have been nothing short of brilliant! Each and every one of us is indebted to each other for the incredible team effort. It would be remiss to name individuals; there have been so many brave, insightful and selfless people that have contributed, in both personal and business capacities, to defending our town, our people, our business, the fabric of our society, in fact, our very way of life. And behind all those defenders, have been a multitude of helpers, bringing each of their skills to the collective effort. It is incredible what we can achieve when we work together. As Helen Keller so simply and accurately stated, “Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.”
Without the mammoth effort of the Greater Ballito Operations Centre (GBOC) to pull the various players together and create the communications framework to keep Ballito safe, we would not have businesses to open or to supply us with our daily essentials and more. We are indebted to the GBOC, the UIP, the SAPS, private security companies such as IPSS, Marshall, Duma and Chapman, amongst others, the neighbourhood watch groups, the Dolphin Coast Taxi Association, Ilembe Chamber of Commerce, KwaDukuza Municipality, KDM Metro Police and the many, many individuals who braved the cold and dark at entry points to Ballito or in neighbourhoods. Black, white, Indian, Asian and coloured, young and old, rich and poor, male and female, you all showed up, standing shoulder to shoulder, day and night, dressed in your reflective bibs as a collective for one common cause. We stood together. United. We must never take the selfless actions and security efforts of our greater community for granted and never forget it.
Retail has obviously been significantly impacted by this strife, yet all landlords and retailers have worked together, adopting a cautious approach and taking guidance from the GBOC Security Cluster to ensure a co-ordinated, phased and responsible opening of retail, which rolled out unbelievably well, ensuring the safe and equitable distribution of food and essential services. Thank you to all landlords and retailers who pulled together within the framework of the GBOC Food Cluster; it’s genuinely heartening to know that business competitors can work together amicably when decisions need to be made for the greater good.
We are cognisant of the essential role that Lifestyle Centre, Lifestyle SUPERSPAR and many of the stores at the centre play in the daily lives of our customers, and we have been focused on the safe and controlled reopening of stores and the timely replenishment of stock in these stores. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to our customers for their loyalty and support while we have been navigating this distressing period. Your patience, understanding and cooperation have been exceptional. We thought lockdown and all its associated trials were tough! Needless to say, the unwavering support of the Ballito community is truly valued and appreciated. We remain committed to serving our loyal customers in the same way we always have and, to this end, are deeply grateful for the continued commitment of all our valuable staff under trying circumstances.
The safety, security and unity of Ballito must remain our “guiding star” as the situation stabilises and we return to normality, followed closely by food security and assistance for those in need. It is vital that we assist with the provision of basic essentials to our neighbouring communities inland of Ballito, where shops have been destroyed. Lifestyle Centre, Lifestyle SUPERSPAR and a number of our other stores have contributed significantly and will continue to support the GBOC Community Support Task Team, a single contact point to connect donations with the existing structures, such as NPOs, NGOs, Faith-based Organisations, Civil Society Groups, currently on the ground and equitably allocate resources and support to help those most in need. We commit to supporting our people, our town, our customers and our communities.
We encourage the greater Ballito community to continue to work together to safeguard our people, livelihoods, homes and businesses, and to assist destitute communities and individuals, thereby growing stronger together as a community and, indeed, as a nation. South Africa has faced yet another seemingly insurmountable hurdle over these last ten days, yet the collective power of unity and good has stood out across communities everywhere. Collaboration, resilience and, most importantly, hope has prevailed. We truly are stronger together.
Thank you, Ballito and KwaDukuza! Proudly united!
Bruce and Paul Rencken