Premier Helen Zille to Cycle from Plettenberg Bay to Khayelitsha
Media Statement by Premier Helen Zille
From Sunday, 17 June, to Thursday, 21 June, I will be cycling with a group including provincial Cabinet Ministers, the Bicycle Empowerment Network, Cycling SA and some of our staff who work on projects like Shova Kalula and Safely Home, in stages, from Plettenberg Bay to Cape Town.
The aim of the cycle tour is to promote healthier life choices and to take our "Better Together" message out to residents of the province. "Better Together" is about opportunities and responsibility. We, as the government, have the duty to provide opportunities for citizens to improve their circumstances and empower themselves so they can live lives they value while citizens have the responsibility to make use of those opportunities and make the effort to improve their lives and those of others.
During the cycle tour, we will stop in Knysna, George, Mossel Bay, Albertinia, Riversdale, Swellendam, Hermanus, Strand and Khayelitsha to take part in events where we will hand over more than a hundred bicycles to people to enable them to fulfil their responsibilities better.
The bicycles and other equipment will be handed over to neighbourhood watches, chronic medication dispensing units, farmworker development programmes and schools. People will use their bikes to improve their own and their communities' lives. The neighbourhood watches will use the bikes for patrols, the chronic medication dispensing units for making community care workers mobile, farmworker development programmes for children on farms to get to extramural activities and schools to assist with learner transport.
It is noteworthy and fortuitous that the second day of the Better Together Cycle Tour, Monday, 18 June, is International Ride to Work Day, when people around the world are encouraged to commute to work on scooters, motorcycles and, ideally, bicycles. The day aims to highlight the benefits of using non-motor vehicle personal transportation such as:
- Saving time - by avoiding traffic congestion that often characterises daily commutes by car.
- Saving money - by reducing, or eliminating, fuel consumption.
- Saving the environment - by contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions and thus minimising personal carbon footprint.
I therefore encourage commuters in Cape Town and around the province to ride (instead of driving) to work on 18 June and, in this way, symbolically take part in the Better Together Cycle Tour in their own small way.
The Western Cape Government spends more than R1 billion each year on diseases that could be significantly reduced if everyone made healthier choices about their lives and sexual behaviour. This cycle tour not only demonstrates our active commitment to those lifestyle choices, it is an opportunity for me to take this important "Better Together" message out to the people themselves. We will continue providing excellent health services to the Western Cape, but it is everyone's responsibility to keep themselves as healthy as possible.
Then we could potentially save R1 billion we currently spend on preventable diseases to spend on other things like education, unpreventable health conditions and job creation.
This will be the first of several Better Together cycle tours that I will undertake. My aim is to have cycled throughout the Western Cape by the end of my term as Premier in 2014, spreading the message of active citizenship and co-responsibility to make things better together to all our residents.