State of Province Address to take place at the Velddrif Town Hall on 15 February
I welcome the announcement by the Speaker of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament, Masizole Mnqasela, that the State of Province Address (SOPA) this year will be held at the Velddrif Town Hall, in Velddrif in the West Coast District of our province. It will take place on Tuesday, 15 February 2022.
I am excited that my third SOPA in a row will take place in one of our communities, bringing Parliament closer to our people. Parliament belongs to every citizen of this province, and so this important session, where I set out this government’s plans for the year ahead, should be accessible to more residents across our province.
In last year’s SOPA, I set out how the Western Cape Government will lead from the front in the fight against COVID-19, to deliver life-saving vaccinations, and to ensure a recovery that delivers the jobs, the safety and the wellbeing our province needs to move forward.
In focussing on these priorities, we have again had to face major challenges. The devastating third wave last year caused more loss, pain and heartache. Our economy also continued to suffer as restrictions cost livelihoods, hurt small businesses, and exacerbated poverty and inequality.
On the other hand, we saw great courage and innovation across our province, in our government, and amongst our residents and our businesses. We again led from the front to deliver a clean, accountable government. We delivered a corruption-free, well-run COVID-19 response, including one of the most successful vaccination outreaches in the country, saving many lives. We continue to deliver quality public education, with improved retention rates and the best bachelor pass rate. Our public health system is, by far, the best in the country. And we continued to execute our extensive Provincial Safety Plan, seeing successes in the fight against crime, with the soon to be 1000 additional law enforcement officers deployed to our crime hotspots
We also have hope on the horizon. The fourth wave, which commenced at the end of last year, showed us that we can now normalise our response to COVID-19 in the year ahead and that vaccinations are working to protect those most at risk.
That is why our focus must now turn to fight the second pandemic of unemployment, which continues unabated. It needs to be fought with the same passion, courage and innovation so that we roll back poverty, hunger and crime in the Western Cape. This will be my top priority in the year ahead, and I look forward to reflecting on this in my speech.
I would like to thank the community of Velddrif in the Bergrivier Municipality for hosting us this year, and I look forward to engaging with you around the speech so that your views and your expectations for the year ahead are incorporated into our government’s plans.
I also look forward to engaging with the opposition during the debate on the State of the Province Address, which will take place on 16 February. I hope to hear new and fresh ideas that will help move our province forward.
My office will be sharing more details on the SOPA programme with the public and the media in the coming weeks and we promise to keep you informed every step of the way.