Cape Town is no longer just Kaapstad / Slaapstad.
It’s now truly the “Gateway to Africa”, an international tourism and business hub.
And we see this in our everyday lives.
Just 20 years ago, the idea of going to the local Somali winkel for a losse entjie, Spookies chips and airtime was a... foreign concept.
Or going to the Pakistanis to repair your cellphone, and getting a funky haircut for R60.
Or going to buy some cheap toys and other goodies from China Town.
Or getting picked up by a Zimbabwean Uber driver.
Now the world is on our doorstep.
But as we’ve found out, the influx of foreigners, refugees and local migrants brings with it all sorts of social problems, like crime, drugs, traffic, overcrowding, competition for housing, jobs, school placement and, of course, racism.
The issue came up this week after Mayor Dan Plato was secretly filmed commenting on migrants.
Plato said: “If you must see how we must trim the budget. We pay, currently as we speak, 99 percent for those coming into the Western Cape. [We] pay for them.
“They can’t fend for themselves. Lots and lots of our budgets go into them unfortunately and that is a challenge, a major challenge and one has to bear that in mind.”
His off-the-record comments took flak from those saying this was hypocrisy coming from the DA, which is supposedly campaigning to “build one South Africa for all”.
A South Africa for all, but not a Cape Town for all? Hmm...
Most readers came out in support of Plato, though, saying he was “speaking the truth”.
Another declared “Plato for president”.
Speaking of presidents, someone even said the mayor should do a Trump and “build a wall around the Western Cape”.
Yes, someone actually said that.
Cheap politics aside, the reality is Cape Town has a problem.
Not a unique problem, but a problem nonetheless.
Local government is battling to accommodate and provide services to its 4.2 million inhabitants.
And yes, here you have to factor in Helen Zille’s “economic refugees” - people from the Eastern Cape migrating to the province in search of work, land and a better life.
It’s a struggle for government, and a battle between old and new residents.
And there’s no quick fix.
This is a worldwide phenomenon, mense, and it’s not new.
Migration and urbanisation have been happening since biblical times; it can’t be stopped.
When times are tough, people will always move to where the grass is greener.
Even when there isn’t enough grass for everyone.
But while government can’t build that wall, they can ensure that there is an efficient waiting list and a fair delivery system for services.
And that no one is allowed to jump the queue.