Western Cape Premier Alan Winde delivered his State of the Province Address, committing his government to real action that delivers for all residents of the Western Cape (the full text is attached).
This year’s address was historic as it was held at the Rocklands Civic Centre in Mitchells Plain for the first time, with many local community members in attendance.
The SOPA was preceded by a procession of men and women who work every day to keep residents of the province safe. The procession included metro police, a platoon of the 500 newly appointed law enforcement officers, fire and rescue services, emergency services, Chrysalis graduates and neighbourhood watch members.
In his speech, Premier Winde said “It is an honour to be delivering my State of the Province Address in front of this community, and it is a special honour to be delivering it in this venue. The Rocklands Civic Centre is no stranger to historic events. It was here that the United Democratic Front rose up against the evils of Apartheid. It was here that people of all walks united behind the idea of a democratic South Africa in which everyone would be free. There is no better place than this place, a Provincial heritage site, for us to host this historic SOPA - the first SOPA outside of the Provincial Parliament, right here in one of our communities. “
The speech detailed the record of delivery of the Western Cape Government since the Premier was sworn into office in May last year.
Premier Winde said: “When I delivered my first SOPA in July last year, we vowed to “Get to Work”. Over the past seven months, we have certainly done just that. Since being elected, I have visited dozens of communities, I have met with thousands of citizens, and we have received tens of thousands of mails, texts and calls telling us what you want and need. We have heard you. You don’t want smart cities and bullet trains. You want working cities and normal trains that get you to where you need to be, on time. You want a government that focuses on getting the basics right, and actually delivers.”
The Premier’s Government of Action has delivered:
-Lifestyle audits for his entire cabinet have begun in response to residents expressing their concerns about corruption wasting their tax money.
-A second review of the provincial ministerial handbook so that residents’ taxes are spent on services, rather than on frills and fancy cars.
-Extending the clinic hours in Grabouw in response to complaints from the community who did not want to travel to Caledon late at night during an emergency. This clinic now operates 24/7 and its facilities are being upgraded.
-The roll-out of the Western Cape Safety Plan- a comprehensive, province wide safety strategy aimed at halving the murder rate to ensure that Western Cape residents do not have to live in fear of crime and gang violence which is tearing their communities apart.
-Building working relationships with the City of Cape Town, the national government and the South African Police Service in order to build a united response to crime in the province.
-The launch of Open Government First Thursday which allows citizens to meet with Premier Winde, cabinet members and senior officials every month. Since the first event in August last year, 1244 meetings have been held with residents, with 80% of these being resolved. The First Thursday event is also being taken further afield in the province. In March, it will be held in Cloetesville in Stellenbosch. Expertise are also being shared with other municipalities, and the Overstrand Municipality now hosts their own First Thursday event.
-An Economic War Room, aimed at cutting the red tape which impacts businesses, was established, and the pilot phase, looking at five areas of the economy, has been completed.
-The Western Cape continues to be the “jobs province”, with the lowest expanded unemployment rate in the country, helping to strengthen the economic climate that allows businesses to create jobs and opportunities for the people of the province.
-The Matric pass rate for the class of 2019 improved, showing increases in the number of bachelor’s passes, and the learner retention rate, so that more young people receive the best possible education to secure the brightest future.
-The Department of Education has also launched and rolled out the School Evaluation Authority, with a focus on the quality of education provided in schools in the province.
-The Department of Health has implemented cutting edge technology which allows patients’ details to be available at any Western Cape Government Health Facility-allowing medical professionals to track their adherence to treatment. They have done this while maintaining the country’s highest life expectancy, and providing services to 19 million people.
-The Department of Transport and Public Works has reduced festive season road deaths by 23% as part of a holistic focus on keeping the people of the province safe.
-Backyard dwellers have been included in the priority groupings for housing allocations to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society are able to access housing opportunities.
Premier Winde also made several announcements for the 2020/21 financial year including:
-The installation of 30 high-security fences at schools each year, for the next 30 years in order to keep learners and teachers safe.
-A feasibility study to be conducted on moving control of rail away from national government control.
- The Western Cape Government will introduce a game-changing minibus pilot project which will use technology to monitor and improve the behaviour of taxis drivers. There will also be increased investment in public transport infrastructure, including ranks, stops and shelters to improve the daily experience of taxi commuters.
-The already successful Red Tape Reduction Unit will be dramatically scaled up in order to better assist businesses encountering red tape related hurdles.
-The Economic War Room will be rolled out for the rest of the term. Going forward, the War Room will also investigate ways to improve the criminal conviction rate in the province to act as a deterrent to crime.
-The Western Cape Government has managed to source funding in excess of R250 million from the private sector, national government and the City of Cape Town that will ensure 1000 unemployed youth are trained and placed in jobs in the next financial year.
-Bolstering the forensic unit which looks into municipal matters to strengthen accountability at this level of government and to root out any risk for potential corruption.
The Premier concluded his address with a promise to not rest until this change is felt by everyone in the Western Cape:
He said: "We will not slow down until you as the residents of this province see and feel the progress of our delivery first hand -our success is your success, and your success is ours. Our job together is to build a better South Africa. We dare not fail, as our future depends on it.
And for me, success looks like this:
We are safe
We have personal opportunities to prosper
Our economy is back on track and growing
We are healthy
Our education opens doors for us
We can move about easily
We have homes that we are proud of
And we have a government that we trust and believe in
Most of all, we have hope for our future.
We will continue to work hard, every day, to deliver this vision, for you."