Premier Alan Winde on changes to the Western Cape Provincial Cabinet
Media release by Premier Alan Winde on changes to the Western Cape Provincial Cabinet
When I was elected as Premier in 2019, it was unthinkable that within less than a year, we would all face a challenge the size and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has caused so much loss – of life, of livelihoods, but also in the resources that we have at our disposal to respond to the escalating set of challenges that our residents face. Indeed, the demands on government across the board are now greater than ever before.
As a Cabinet, we have been determined to stand up and step up.
That is why in my State of the Province Address, earlier this year, I said that we can’t just go back to the way things were done before Covid-19, now that the threat of the virus has diminished. We rather need to be bold and push forward to do even better. And to do so, we must be agile, we must constantly rethink and we must innovate.
I also said that we must be courageous, and unafraid to try new things. We must tackle the obstacles in our way head on and with tenacity, just as families and residents across our country and in the Western Cape do, each and every day.
We are unconditionally motivated to succeed because we know that if we do – that if we deliver our “north star” priorities of jobs, safety and dignity for our people – the quality of life across our province will radically improve. And we know that to succeed under the circumstances facing us, in our changing world, we need to set a new course.
This process of “refresh” means that certain changes are needed in the composition of our government. That’s why I announced that we would create dedicated departments for infrastructure, and for mobility, to place singular focus on both the challenges we face, and of equal importance, the major opportunities we can garner, within these portfolios to drive jobs and dignity.
It is also why I announced that we would create a Violence Prevention Unit in the newly named Department of Health and Wellness, and prioritise police oversight, to an even greater extent, in our refocused Department of Community Safety and Police Oversight, so that every person can say that they live in a safer community.
At the same time as these important changes are required, we are also filling two vacancies in our Provincial Cabinet - in Education and in Community Safety.
On this note, I want to again say that I am sincerely grateful for everything Debbie Schäfer has done for our province, and especially the children of our province. We run South Africa’s best quality education system, and her dedication to this cause over the last 8 years is undoubtedly one of the main reasons why. Thank you, Debbie – we are very sad to see you go, and wish you well on your future path.
A moment therefore presents itself which I believe must be taken up now so that we achieve these important objectives that I have set out, while inserting new energy and expertise into our government.
I am excited by these changes, and by the momentum I believe that they will create so that we keep on making sure that, here in the Western Cape, action speaks louder than words.
The changes are as follows:
- Tertuis Simmers is appointed Provincial Minister of Infrastructure
- Daylin Mitchell is appointed Provincial Minister of Mobility
- David Maynier will be appointed Provincial Minister of Education from 15 May
- Mireille Wenger will be appointed Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities from 15 May
- Reagan Allen is appointed Provincial Minister of Community Safety and Police Oversight
Tertuis Simmers appointed Provincial Minister of Infrastructure
In line with my commitments in SOPA, I will immediately appoint Tertuis Simmers as the Provincial Minister of Infrastructure. This will happen ahead of the establishment of the Department of Infrastructure, expected to be in place by the start of the next financial year. It will consist of the Department of Human Settlements, and components of the Department of Transport and Public Works, including our road programmes and our public works portfolio.
Tertuis has served as the Provincial Minister of Human Settlements since 2019, and therefore has a strong understanding of the importance of enabling infrastructure in our province. Our focus will be on leveraging our infrastructure to enable private-sector led growth, while also addressing the painful legacy of our Apartheid past so that our people live with dignity.
He will work with all levels of government on a common strategy to ensure that there is job-creating, dignity-enhancing and world-class infrastructure in the Western Cape, which drives our economic growth. Our ports, our rail, our municipal infrastructure and our roads must work - no matter who is in charge of them.
Daylin Mitchell appointed Provincial Minister of Mobility
I will immediately appoint Daylin Mitchell as the Provincial Minister of Mobility to give focused attention to this important priority of my government. Similarly, this will be done ahead of the new Department of Mobility being established, ensuring that we already take the first bold steps toward tackling the challenge of a failing transport system that hurts our economy, undermines our safety, and which prevents the realisation of the dignity our residents deserve.
Daylin has served as the Provincial Minister of Transport and Public Works since 2021, and has already adopted a courageous, hands-on approach to addressing some of the challenges that we face in this sector. Our focus on mobility will go much further, however, by establishing the partnerships and strategies that are needed to fix what is broken, so that people can get to work, to school, and to family safely, through an affordable, and reliable public transport system. It will also oversee our Provincial Traffic operations, using new technology to keep our road users safe.
David Maynier appointed Provincial Minister of Education
I am pleased to appoint David Maynier as the new Provincial Minister of Education. He will assume this position on 15 May 2022.
David has been the Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, overseeing both the Provincial Treasury and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT) since 2019. He has championed efforts to remove barriers to growth, as well as supported small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He therefore has a first-hand understanding of the major unemployment challenge that our country faces, especially amongst our youth, as well as the very serious fiscal challenges that impact our core mandates, including Education.
We believe strongly that skills development through a quality education system is a fundamental way to solve our country’s youth unemployment problem, and so David’s passion for job creation, skills development, and innovation, as well as his commitment to excellence, and his ability to work with partners outside of government, will add new momentum to this important core mandate.
Mireille Wenger appointed Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities
I am excited to welcome Mireille Wenger as the new Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities. Mireille will be joining our Cabinet on 15 May 2022, and will be responsible for both DEDAT and the Provincial Treasury.
Mireille has served with distinction in the Western Cape’s Provincial Parliament, as a standing committee chairperson, including of the Parliamentary Oversight committee, as a previous member of the budget committee, and as the Chief Whip of the Majority Party.
She has an excellent grasp of policy, and as Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on COVID-19, understands clearly the impact that the pandemic has had on the economy. She has the energy, the integrity and the passion for innovation that is needed to lead a jobs recovery in the Western Cape, while ensuring that we maintain our excellent record of good governance, and sound financial management.
Mireille will look to facilitate private sector-led growth by focusing on the ease of doing business and through cutting red-tape, ensuring energy resilience and unlocking barriers to trade and investment in the province.
Reagan Allen appointed Provincial Minister of Community Safety and Police Oversight
Like Mireille, Reagan also joins our cabinet for the first time, as the newly appointed Provincial Minister of Community Safety and Police Oversight. He will begin in this role imminently.
Reagan is currently the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Community Safety, Cultural Affairs and Sport in the WCPP, and so, through his oversight of the Department of Community Safety, has developed detailed knowledge of this portfolio, and the challenges faced in improving safety.
Reagan has demonstrated through this role that he has the energy required to take the police oversight function of this portfolio to the next level, especially the lack of policing resources in our poorest communities. He also has the personality and approach that will maintain and build on partnerships with important stakeholders including communities and the SAPS.
In addition to our ramped up focus on constructive police oversight, we will continue to land the Western Cape’s Safety Plan, which aims to halve the murder rate by 2029. With over 1000 LEAP officers already launched, and the imminent establishment of the Violence Prevention Unit in our Department of Health and Wellness, Reagan will play a key role in taking this plan to the next level.
I would like to extend a big thank you to Anroux Marais, our Provincial Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, for taking responsibility for this portfolio over the last few months, and under very trying circumstances. Despite these challenges, she has managed two important portfolios with vigour, ensuring much needed stability.
In closing, I want to also thank all my cabinet colleagues. It is a great privilege to serve the people of our province with you by my side, and I thank you for your hard work and dedication over the last two and a half years. It has not been easy, but it would have been much harder if it had not been for this group, who have dedicated their lives to serving our people.
As we now move forward with new energy and expertise, it is important that we never forget the values of the Western Cape Government. They must guide everything we do. I repeat them again as our commitment to you, the people of this province:
We must be caring, competent and accountable. We must innovate, and be responsive to the needs of our people. We must treat those around us with respect. And we must always act with integrity so that we deliver the government that each resident in the Western Cape deserves.