Premier Alan Winde welcomes the announcement of President Ramaphosa’s new, smaller cabinet but has expressed some concern at appointments made in key ministries.
Premier Winde said the move to reduce the number of ministers from 36 to 28 was a step in the right direction when it comes to cutting down a bloated national cabinet that has already cost billions of taxpayers’ money.
“There are still too many deputy ministers in the executive. Having more politicians does not mean better service delivery. It is critical that we ensure that our public funds are spent on delivering services to citizens and not on government salaries, which is why I have also undertaken to conduct a review process with the aim of a reduced provincial government in the coming months.”
He also welcomes the renewed focus on job creation, with the addition of an employment focus in the Ministry of Employment and Labour.
However, the reappointment of Bheki Cele as Minister of Police is cause for concern.
The Western Cape declared a formal intergovernmental dispute with Cele in April due to the national police’s failure to address crime in the province.
“Minister Cele and his department failed to address the Policing Needs and Priorities in the Western Cape and simply ignored our numerous attempts to engage on critical resource shortages in the province. They also disregarded practical steps, which we proposed and agreed to fund, that would be beneficial to SAPS and free up critical police resources.”
These include an offer of R5 million to restart the SAPS reservist programme and an offer to make government employees available to serve as Commissioners of Oaths in police stations.
The Western Cape has made it clear that we want management of SAPS to be devolved to a provincial level so that we are better able to manage this essential service.
“Only through an professional and properly resourced police service, can we begin to tackle the crime issues that impact the lives of so many of our residents.”
Premier Winde said he would also request a meeting with the new Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, in order to discuss ongoing issues around public transport, and specifically, rail.
“I hope that Minister Mbalula will bring some of his trademark enthusiasm to this portfolio which will require energy and commitment and a willingness to work with other spheres of government in order to tackle serious issues of mismanagement and aging rail infrastructure facing South Africa.”
“The Western Cape has the highest percentage of citizens making use of rail services for commuting, and we need an effective, safe system that runs reliably, and on time. The recent spate of arson attacks on trains and safety incidents highlights the extreme need for interventions including an urgent need for new rolling stock in the province. Ultimately however, we believe that the management of the rail system should be a provincial competency, as we believe we are better equipped to provide this service, in an integrated manner with other transport modes,” he said.
“I also look forward to discussions with the new minister of Public Works, Patricia de Lille on transferring the large tracts of land owned by the national government, to be used for housing. When she was mayor of Cape Town, she led the call for national land to be freed up for housing and we trust that now that she is minister, she will immediately start the transfer process.”
There are 5 mega-properties owned by the national government at Culemborg, Ysterplaat, Wingfield, Youngsfield and Denel properties that could yield up to 100 000 housing units which would be enough to meet half of the affordable housing demand on Cape Town’s database.
South Africa is also currently facing an energy crisis that is causing serious harm to our economic prospects and our ability to create jobs. In his new role as Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe must take three actions immediately in order to solve the energy crisis:
1. Sign off the revised Integrated Resource Plan that was published in 2018, which will allow for the next round of bidding by independent power producers (IPPs) to supply power at an agreed price to take place;
2. Authorise municipalities to buy electricity directly from IPPs, which will encourage the diversification of our energy supply system and reduce our reliance on Eskom; and
3. Agree to the inclusion of the Saldanha Bay as a port that is licensed to import Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) so that natural gas is made available to industries in the province.
“I will therefore also be requesting an urgent meeting with Minister Mantashe to discuss these matters and to urge him to prioritise the diversification of our energy mix, so we can keep the lights on and get out of the current energy crisis we find ourselves in,” Premier Winde said.
“President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised to hold ministers to their performance agreements and take action should they not be meeting these. I hope that the President fulfils this promise to the nation and ensures that the new cabinet members uphold their oaths of office and always place the best interests of this country, and the people who live in it, first,” Premier Winde said.
“I would also like to encourage the President to conduct lifestyle audits for his executive, as we have implemented in the Western Cape, as there are questions that hang over the heads of some members of his new executive,” Premier Winde said.