Media release by Premier Alan Winde on the State of the Province Address 2022
Note to editors: this is a media summary of the State of the Province Address. More information can be obtained from the prepared written speech. Please check against delivery.
“We must push back against going back to normal, and we must push forward so that we do even better”
Today, I had the great honour of delivering the annual State of the Province Address (SOPA) in Velddrif, marking the Official Opening of Parliament.
As we normalise our response to COVID-19, we must focus on the second pandemic of joblessness and our ‘north star’ priorities of safety and dignity.
I made a commitment during the speech that helping the private sector create jobs will be my government’s obsession. It will animate everything we do.
I also argued that we will not be able to do this by going back to the way things were before the pandemic. The gap between the resources that we have to recover, and the damage caused by the pandemic is too large.
That is why I instead argued that we must push back against going back to normal, and we must push forward, to do even better. To do so, we need to rethink, we need to focus and we need to innovate.
Some of the major announcements include:
A new department of infrastructure to be created in the Western Cape
- As part of our commitment to create jobs and to rethink, focus and innovate when doing so, I have decided that a new Department solely responsible for Infrastructure will be created in the Western Cape, through the merger of the Human Settlements Department, and specific components of the Transport and Public Works Department, including the Western Cape’s property portfolio and our road programmes.
- This Infrastructure Department will be tasked with leading the change, working together with local governments in the Western Cape, the National Government as well as the private sector to ensure that we collectively complete quality, catalytic infrastructure projects that will help inclusively create jobs. They will also take forward the establishment of a Schedule 3D Infrastructure Entity.
- As part of this change, we will create a Department responsible for Mobility, which will include our transport programmes, such as our financial support to bus and taxi services, including our Blue Dot Taxi pilot, our transport regulation mandate, and our extensive traffic management operations.
- This Mobility Department will also focus on finding specific, innovative strategies to improve mobility in the Western Cape, especially in the greater Cape Town area, given the very serious failings of the National rail network. They will be our lead department for working with and finding solutions with our local governments and, most importantly, PRASA.
- Following this policy announcement today, we will embark on a detailed consultation programme with all stakeholders and will provide regular updates both internally and to the public, so that this process is efficient, fair and transparent.
A first for South Africa: Violence Prevention Unit to be established in Western Cape Department of Health
- A dedicated Violence Prevention Unit is planned to be established in the Western Cape’s Department of Health. This will be the first violence prevention unit established by a government in South Africa.
- While this dedicated violence prevention unit will be responsible for identifying and designing interventions to reduce violence in communities across the province through an evidence-based public health strategy, they will leverage an all-of-society approach to implementing these initiatives, in conjunction with partners at the local and national levels.
- Our Health Department tracks data that can help us better understand violence, including alcohol-related harms, gender-based violence or children at risk of violence, to name a few.
- This analysis is possible because our health department was the first in the country to go digital, including 265 primary healthcare centres, 181 mobile posts, 51 acute and specialised hospitals, 28 intermediate care facilities, 49 EMS stations and 17 Forensic Pathology laboratories.
- The department has already adopted a public health approach to address many health problems. And, as the holder of one of our core competencies, this department has the size, reach and capacity to put real momentum behind this project.
We will ramp up police oversight, with the Department of Community Safety renamed Department of Police Oversight and Community Safety
- We will significantly expand our monitoring of police stations across the province, with a focus on GBV and domestic violence responses, police conduct, visible policing, and crime investigation efficiency. The Department of Community Safety will also accordingly be renamed the Department of Police Oversight and Community Safety in the Western Cape.
Premier to take responsibility for coordinating response to joblessness pandemic through extended jobs cabinet
- I will set up an extended jobs cabinet that will consist of our new Infrastructure and Mobility departments, as well as the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, the Department of Agriculture and the Provincial Treasury.
- I will also include private sector representatives so that we lead with interventions that will unlock growth and help businesses employ more people.
It’s time to end the National State of Disaster:
- We must normalise our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and look to the future. I am therefore disappointed that President Ramaphosa did not go all the way and end the state of disaster, which should have expired today.
- I have asked for a meeting with the President so that we can get the full roadmap for exiting the National State of Disaster, including exact timelines. To be clear: we want the date and the time, and not generalised commitments.
- We are planning 5 mega health infrastructure projects over the medium-to-long term that will significantly modernise this platform to ensure that we have a pipeline right into the future.
- These include the Belhar, Klipfontein and Helderberg Regional Hospitals, the Tygerberg Central Hospital development and the Swartland District Hospital.
- Preparation is commencing for the Belhar and Klipfontein Regional hospitals, and detailed planning to enable a Public-Private Partnership for the Tygerberg Central Hospital development has also begun, working in collaboration with the World Bank.
- The replacement schools of Chatsworth Primary School here in the West Coast, Panorama Primary School in Vredenburg, also in the West Coast, and Umyezo Wama Apile Primary School in Grabouw are all under construction.
- We also have six new mobile schools anticipated for completion in 2022/2023, in Bothasig, Fisantekraal, Nomzamo, Klapmuts (which includes one high school and one primary school), and Silversands.
- This is in addition to 10 schools that were successfully completed in the last financial year.
- This focus will include employing around 1100 new teachers this year to ensure we have the required capacity.
- We will also complete security fencing of another 30 schools this financial year and will increase this number to 60 over the next financial year, as part of our Provincial Safety Plan.
- We intend to continue to invest in road infrastructure, launching 3 new road upgrade projects this financial year. This is in addition to 91 road projects currently in progress in various phases, worth approximately R3 billion.
- The Atlantis Special Economic Zone (SEZ) which was recently gazetted by National Treasury as a Schedule 3D public enterprise, has now completed the last milestone required to become fully operational. This approval now enables the SEZ to transact with Investors, tenants and partners towards creating jobs, increasing business revenue and stimulating the Western Cape economy.
- A successful Request for Information for the Municipal Energy Resilience (MER) initiative has been issued, which has solicited information from more than 100 potential energy generation projects. This information has informed five potential pioneering projects based on Solar PV and wind energy. And a roadmap to implement these projects has been extensively defined through technical, financial and legal analysis.
Social Housing Infrastructure:
- We have numerous social housing projects under construction including the Conradie Park development, and the Belhar CBD development, in partnership with the University of the Western Cape.
- We will soon be adding another social housing development to this mix through the Founders Garden Artscape Precinct development, which is smack-middle in the Cape Town CBD. To get this project off the ground, we have so far determined the project feasibility on a financial, legal and technical level, which are critical first steps. We have also designed the development procurement documentation that includes a Request for Proposal and a draft Sale & Development Agreement.
- We have also now received public comment on the Western Cape’s new Inclusionary Housing Framework, which will soon come before the provincial cabinet for consideration. This framework, which leverages our development planning powers, will see many other mixed-use developments in the future.
Social services infrastructure and sustainable development
- The Brandwag modular library in Mosselbay has been completed and is operational, and I will join the launch of the Noordhoek Public library upgrade today.
- We will commence with infrastructure upgrades including new living units and classrooms at the Outeniekwa Child and Youth Centre, which will become operational this month.
- Our broadband roll-out project is currently in phase 2 and we aim to upgrade all 1910 sites to a minimum of 100Mbps by 30 September 2022. Phase 3 will upgrade minimum speeds to 1 Gbps from 1 October 2022.
- The municipalities of Swellendam and Hessequa will benefit this coming financial year from the continued roll-out of the Regional Socio-Economic Projects Programme, which has already resulted in over 100 projects across 12 municipalities in poor communities.
- I have signed the Western Cape Biodiversity Bill into law, and the Western Cape Climate Change Response Strategy: Vision 2050 is out for public comment.
We will step up our response to GBV in the Western Cape:
- I am happy to confirm that the Provincial Cabinet has now adopted our GBV implementation plan, as promised in my last SOPA, and that key interventions have been identified and agreed upon to be prioritised by all 13 Heads of Departments. The transversal nature of this plan is fundamental because GBV is not just the responsibility of the Department of Social Development. Every department has a role to play.
- We are fully committed to implementing this plan and will constantly review it so that it is improved. But fighting the scourge of GBV cannot be the responsibility of the government alone. The pervasive nature of this violence means that every single organisation, be it private or public, needs its own GBV implementation plan.
- If we are to really bring an end to this crisis in our communities, this impunity has to end. And we need to do much more, not only as a government, but as civil society, as the private sector, as families and as private individuals. We all have a role to play.
We will focus on recovering lost learning time:
- Our Education Department has been working with the national Department of Basic Education to concentrate the curriculum into the critical skills our learners need to succeed in further grades.
- We will expand learning opportunities in STEAMAC subjects so that our learners have the skills they need to access opportunities when they leave their school.
- We will leverage lessons learnt from the pandemic to strengthen eLearning so that more learners in the Western Cape can access new resources. We have invested over R1.6 billion in e-Learning over the last 5 years already.
- We will leverage technology, with 1290 schools now having broadband connectivity, 1316 with computer labs, and 9 992 smart classrooms, with 1162 additional smart classrooms across 160 schools added in 2021/22.
- We will continue to adopt a pro-poor budgeting approach, through fee-exemption support to learners in disadvantaged communities to attend fee-paying schools.
- We will continue with our focus on quality education through school oversight and accountability. The Schools Evaluation Authority, which has already completed 111 evaluations, will continue to provide this function.
- And we will also focus on providing additional psycho-social support in schools, given the impact of COVID-19 on the mental well-being of learners.
- We are also currently overseeing the Early Childhood Development function shift from the Department of Social Development to our Department of Education, and as I announced in my SOPA last year, we successfully hosted our ECD Summit last October.
We will focus on recovering our comprehensive health services in the Western Cape:
- We plan to not de-escalate important health services for COVID-19 again.
- We will invest additional resources to ensure a catch-up in surgeries.
- We will use new technology, such as the da Vinci Xi fourth generation robot at Groote Schuur and Tygerberg Hospitals for minimally invasive surgery, to help reduce the backlog.
- We will invest in our mental health facilities to ensure they can respond to the increased demand.
- We will expand our telehealth call centre services to include TB contact tracing, and increase our awareness campaigns to ensure improved TB testing rates.
- And we will focus on our policy approach of leveraging private-public partnerships for the achievement of Universal Healthcare Coverage, and we will explore a pilot project to showcase how it works.
We will focus on supporting the vulnerable with improved social services, using an all-of-society approach
- We plan to fund a new homeless shelter in the Cape Town CBD, at the former Robbie Nurock Clinic, which will provide support to an additional 120 homeless adults. This is in addition to increasing the number of homeless shelter beds to 2500 by March this year.
- We will also provide funding for the operation of a new safe space in Drakenstein, in partnership with the municipality. And we have ensured that funded shelters provide psycho-social support and reunification services.
- We will strengthen the Probation Case Management electronic system for children in conflict with the law, which was piloted in the Metro.
- Once fully implemented, it will constitute a fully electronic case management system, replacing paper-based processes, and enable work to be done from home visits, at courts, and during visits to prisons.
We will inculcate a culture of listening more
- We must always be a government that speaks less and listens to you more. That is why, going forward, we will make it a permanent feature for our cabinet and our senior management team to spend less time deliberating amongst ourselves and to go out and work in communities. Let me be clear here: not speak to the communities, but to listen to them.
- This will not be a campaign, or an event. It will be a new way of working in the Western Cape Government, built into the systems and processes of our government, and I will personally oversee it happening. To facilitate this we will reduce all meeting lengths in the Western Cape Government by 50%. If you do not need to meet, send an email.
- We will also benchmark ourselves against the best in the private sector as one of the best places to work. It might be that we currently finish low when compared to the Googles of the world, but we will take the plunge and offer ourselves up for assessment and critique so we can start making the changes, team by team, that will allow us to attract the best talent in the Western Cape and South Africa.
In conclusion, I highlighted that while the challenges that face our province are serious and, at times, can seem overwhelming, we must never forget what a truly special place we live in. There are so many reasons to hope, and we have all the ingredients we need to succeed.
We will try new ideas, and if they fail, we will learn, and we will try again. We will keep on finding new ways to be the government that the people of the Western Cape deserve, so you can live a long and happy life.
- To read the full speech, please visit: http://www.westerncape.gov.za/assets/departments/premier/state_of_the_province_address_by_premier_alan_winde.pdf
- To view the State of the Province Address, please visit: https://www.wcpp.gov.za/node/11293