Rolling blackouts & safety top the agenda of Premier’s latest “Listening Tour”
Media release: Rolling blackouts & safety top the agenda of Premier’s latest “Listening Tour”
Premier Alan Winde’s “Listening Tour” took him and a delegation of ward councillors to numerous Cape Town suburbs this week, including Panorama, Bothasig, Richwood and Goodwood.
The initiative is for the Premier to see for himself how services are being delivered and what challenges are being experienced by residents.
Policing and crime
At the Bothasig police station, the Premier was briefed on a range of issues, including progress in the investigation into the murder of a young woman in Richwood last November which has seen the arrest of two accused individuals. With gender-based violence and femicide an issue close to his heart, he wanted an update on the case. The matter is currently before the courts. Resourcing shortfalls at the station were at the top of the list of grievances. The Premier was told:
- There are only 48 active members deployed in that policing precinct currently; and
- There are just 3 detectives at the station. One detective is tasked with investigating more than 270 cases.
In a meeting with Premier Winde and the councillors, Captain Anel Botes remarked, “All communities deserve good policing.” Despite the enormous challenges at the station, the captain still remarked, “We are privileged to have partnerships,” referring to the good working relationship the station has with local community crime-fighting groups and private security companies. Premier Winde applauded the dedication of Capt. Botes and her team to serve their communities even in the face of grave under-resourcing from national government.
The Premier was then shown a fence that has been erected along the N7 in the vicinity of Richwood. Community members had long called for it to be put up in a bid to combat crime. “Communities must work with their ward councillors,” said the Premier. He added, “And councillors should listen to their constituents and form constructive partnerships as we have seen with the erection of this fence.”
At the N1 City Mall, the Premier met with a group of business owners. What was the most burning issue they raised? Relentless rolling blackouts. He outlined the Western Cape Government’s (WCG) Energy Resilience Plan, which he emphasised requires considerable buy-in from the private sector. He told the group, “We are willing to facilitate private sector development in the energy-generation space in our province, in large part through our measures to eradicate red tape.”
The WCG is going all out with infrastructure investment, critical to the province’s economic growth and job creation. “I always ask the question: by 2030, will the Western Cape have more informal settlements than housing projects or vice versa?” he asked of contractors at the site of the Goodwood Station Social Housing Development project. “I want to see a hundred of these kinds of projects across our province,” said Premier Winde. Once fully complete, the initiative will offer 1055 rental housing opportunities, next to the Goodwood train station. While touring the site, the Premier pointed out the importance of developing housing project models in conjunction with public transport.
The WCG is listening
Premier Winded concluded this leg of his “Listening Tour” with a robust public meeting in Goodwood where he unpacked his State of the Province Address. Community members raised a host of issues, such as:
- Loadshedding; and
- Crime and safety.
On the issue of homeless people, he told attendees that it is a delicate and complex matter, which requires a balanced and humane response. He, however, pointed out that, “We will not tolerate illegal occupations and land invasions. The WCG respects and works hard to uphold the rule of law. Where there are illegal occupations and the like, we must act as such activities infringe on the rights of others and often impede housing development.” On the issue of crime, he explained safety is an apex priority of the provincial government, evident in the allocation of R4.76 billion over the next 3 years. “But once again partnerships are needed to build a united front against criminals,” he said and for all of us to “step in where national government has failed.”