When CapeNature took over the management of the Stony Point penguin colony at Betty’s Bay in 2016, it also started to support the On The Edge restaurant managed by the Mooi Uitsig Community Trust, which had been established in 2007. The hope was that the local community would benefit from local tourism in the area.
“For me, it’s all about the community,” says Lucretia Jordaan, vice chairperson on the Mooi Uitsig Community Trust and former On The Edge manager. When she first joined the trust in 2016, there were some problems with the running and operations of the restaurant, and its future was in jeopardy, she recalls.
Even so, when she was offered the opportunity to manage On The Edge for a trial three-month period, she accepted. “I did it, because it’s a community project. It’s for the future of the people here, and the children,” she says.
Jordaan had previously started a business management diploma course, but never finished it, because of financial constraints. She was determined to make a success of managing On The Edge, relying on hands-on mentorship and advice provided by CapeNature.
The job was challenging: the books needed to be sorted out, business insurance needed to be arranged, compliance issues needed to be addressed. Jordaan reaped the fruit of her hard work – she passed her three months’ probation – and business picked up, with the restaurant not only serving tourists, but also providing catering services.
In 2019, she moved on to a permanent position with the South African National Biodiversity Institute, but remains a Mooiuitsig trustee and continues to assist the new manager, Hester Frowein.
“Covid-19 and the lockdown dealt us a blow,” says Jordaan, “But what saved us is that our TERS applications on behalf of the staff were successful – so everybody at least got something.”
On The Edge now has six permanent staff members – five from the Mooiuitsig community, and one from Kleinmond nearby. All have been provided with training. The restaurant also gives local students opportunities to help out over school holidays as part of community development efforts.
From its proceeds, the business annually gives each of the 42 households in the Mooiuitsig community vouchers for R500. Where it can, it also assists with donations for children’s education.
“This project has taught me to make the most of what we have, and to think out of the box,” says Jordaan, adding that her time as manager taught her much about customer service, and about relevant legislation and regulations in the hospitality business.
“In the end, it’s not only about oneself – it’s about the community. One always has to think about how the business can benefit others. And the support of CapeNature has been crucial.”