Speeches

Premier Helen Zille's State of the Province Address 2016

19 February 2016

State of the Province Address by Premier Helen Zille at the Western Cape Provincial Legislature 

Honourable Speaker

Honourable Members of the Provincial Cabinet

Honourable Mayor of Cape Town

Honourable Leader of the Opposition

Members of the Diplomatic Corps

Honourable leaders of political parties, members of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces

Honourable members of the Provincial Legislature

Director General of the Western Cape (watching on the television screen) and all your colleagues  

Heads of Provincial Departments

Leaders of Local government

Religious leaders

Community leaders

Colleagues and friends and

Most important: all citizens of the Western Cape

It is an honour to open this parliamentary session in an extraordinary time for our country. It is a time of great risk for our economy, but also a time for optimism about the supremacy of our Constitution.

During our recess I read a profound two-volume work that made a major impact on me.  It is Francis Fukuyama’s masterpiece “the Origins of Political Order and Political Decay”.

Without going into unnecessary detail, let me summarise the book in a sentence.  Fukuyama identifies three essential elements for sustained progress and wellbeing in a democracy.  These are:  The rule of law, accountability, and the capable state.

Our own history has taught us many lessons about the importance of the rule of just law and accountability.  But analysts have neglected the third crucial component   -- a capable state.

Sir Michael Barber, who designed the methodology behind the game-changing programmes I will present today, said to us in conversation once, that building a capable state, is the great “moral imperative” of our time.  The more I think about it, the more I agree.

We can have any number of fine sounding intentions -- but if there is no capacity to turn them into reality, we are nothing but a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal, as Corinthians put it.  Or “sound and fury signifying nothing”, as Shakespeare said.

The past ten days have shown us that our Constitution and the Rule of Law are holding their own.  Now we need the third critical variable, the Capable State.   It is this government’s commitment to build this crucial component for a decent life in the province we govern.

We have come some way along this road, as I hope to reflect today.  But we still have a way to go.

The best proof of progress is that Cape Town has become a magnet for young people. It has gained a global reputation of being a city characterised by creativity and innovation, pulsating with youthful energy. Everywhere, there are young entrepreneurs and innovators, highly motivated to make a difference to our society.

Yet, in our midst, there are hundreds of thousands of young people marginalised from the modern economy, and disproportionately damaged by broken families, alcohol, drugs and violence. The positive vibrancy of Cape Town is not their experience. 

So, we asked ourselves, are there some key things we can do to inject hope into the lives of the youth in the Western Cape.

We set about our new term of office with this in mind – having a targeted approach to create conditions for a flourishing economy and creating a place of hope for all our youth. In the past year, we have honed 7 game changers to be place makers for the Western Cape. They are designed to ensure that our young people, in particular, are able to tap into the opportunities of a 21st century society and economy.

It is to them that I dedicate the remaining three years of my Premiership, and this State of the Province address today.

The reason I am confident of progress is the competence and dedication of the professionals who work in this government, led by our Director General and Heads of Departments

For evidence of their quality, one need only look at the outcome of the 2015 Public Service Awards, at a national ceremony held by the Department of Public Service and Administration.

Every Gold, Silver and Bronze award nationally for Departments and Heads of Department went to the Western Cape, evidence that we are building the capable state.

Every one of our 13 Departments received a financially unqualified audit outcome, with 12 receiving clean audits. Our Education Department became the first in the history of democratic South Africa to get a clean audit.

A clean audit is a uniquely South African invention.  It adds two factors to the normal requirement of being financially unqualified.  It requires achieving measurable predetermined outcomes, and complying with the complex regulatory maze of laws and regulations in all aspects of our work.

This is remarkably complex. But, not only do we go to great lengths to comply, we innovate. This year, our Red Tape Unit asked our public servants to propose ways of cutting red tape, and we received almost 700 suggestions.  700 people took the trouble to share ideas of how to make government more efficient and streamlined.  That reflects a mindset which is crucial to building a capable, efficient state.

Honourable Speaker, I will begin by focusing on the economy.  At a time of mass unemployment nationwide that is where our focus must be.   A capable state delivers the services and creates the confidence is a precondition for investment, which is a precondition for economic growth, which is a precondition for job creation. History has taught us that there are no short cuts to sustainable job creation in a democracy.  And interestingly, everyone in South Africa, across the ideological spectrum, now accepts this as a given.  This is a change from the past.

The Western Cape government’s job is to get this pipeline right so that our people can get jobs.  We are doing everything possible to make the Western Cape succeed, because we want South Africa to succeed. 

Business confidence in the provincial economy is an important indicator of whether the climate is right for investment and job creation.  In our province, we have seen an upward trend in confidence, despite declining levels nationally.

Business confidence in the Western Cape is currently at 57 index points, 13 points above the national figure.

Today, there are over 200 000 more jobs in the Western Cape than there were when we took office in 2009. We have managed to recover from, and grow jobs, since the global recession. The unemployment rate has gone down over the last 3 years, from 24.8% in 2012 to 20.6% as of September 2015, according to the quarterly labour force survey of Stats SA, which is truly remarkable given the rate of population growth.   Although our unemployment rate is still much too high, at least we are moving in the right direction.

We are seeing a significant uptake in infrastructure and real estate investment, a leading indicator that investors are confident and committed for the long term and are prepared to commit their capital to create jobs.

The number of square metres of building plans approved in the province showed a significant increase in 2014/15.

In a 12-month period ending August last year, 654 000 square meters of commercial and residential developments were approved for construction in the Western Cape, almost 9 times the 75 000 square meters approved in Gauteng for the same period, according to Statistics South Africa.  Construction projects not only reflect confidence, they create jobs.

Our economic growth rate may be higher than the national average, but it is not yet high enough.  And tough head-winds are buffeting South Africa’s economy, many of which are of our national government’s own making.

Economic growth is slowing nationally, and is now projected to be just 0.7% this year. All provinces will feel the impact. Credit institutions, whose opinions matter to investors, are close to downgrading our currency to junk status, and the Rand has depreciated dramatically against international currencies.

President Jacob Zuma recently informed Premiers that severe budget cuts will apply across the board for the next three years.  This is due, in the main, to the unmandated national wage increase of 7.2% (which actually amounts to a real increase of 10% if additional benefits are factored in).  This is significantly above inflation, and South Africa doesn’t have the money to pay for it.  

Faced with a budget cut running into hundreds of millions of Rands per year in this province alone, we are left with 3 choices. The first is to find ways of capping the wage increase at 5,5%, the amount for which we were told to budget. The second is to insist that National Treasury cover the shortfall. The third is to take the option presented to us by the Presidency and effect back-office rationalisations to fund frontline service delivery. Or a combination of the three. 

The cost of employment in our public service nationwide is close to R500-billion which is unsustainable. In the Western Cape, we are generally not over-staffed, as comparative statistics with other provinces show.

A further threat to growth is the severe drought and fires that have ravaged many parts of the province.

The drought has had a significant impact on agriculture, which is a central pillar of our provincial economy. Our early estimate is that there will be a 10% reduction in agricultural production. Food inflation is also likely to strain residents in many Western Cape towns.

We are seeking R88-million from national government contingencies for drought-relief and we are contributing our own resources.  Emerging farmers will receive an emergency support package from provincial funds to help them to survive this difficult period. The package includes subsidies for farmworker wages, and R6500 a month for 6 months to ensure food security.

Farmers are also rallying to help each other, and we were privileged to be involved in the generous donation of 100 tonnes of feed to farms in need. Izandla ziyahlambana. Ons hande was mekaar.

In this context, I want to say a few words about the attacks made on the Western Cape government by the ANC in parliament during the State of the Nation debate. There were many examples of disinformation about this province, in a context where we cannot reply.

Let me just take one particularly disingenuous example from this week’s debates. The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Bheki Cele, alleged the Western Cape had only spent 5% of flood relief funds provided to us by the national department.  That is not true. 

We have spent 99% of the amount, which will soon rise to 100%, on flood relief, and none found its way into any of our pockets. 

Deputy Minister Cele knows what the truth is; his department provided the money to us just 1 month before the end of the financial year. Anyone who understands public finance and major construction projects knows that it is impossible to rebuild roads and bridges that have been washed away, in 1 month. This is why we asked for a rollover of the funds to the next financial year, so that we could utilise them properly, and in full.

And when national ministers speak about allocating resources to the Western Cape as if they are doing us a favour, let me remind them that this province allocates considerably more to the national fiscus than we get in return.  We are happy to cross-subsidise poorer provinces, but in these circumstances, it is inappropriate to treat us like spongers in the system.

Honourable Speaker, this year’s fire season has been particularly bad, with scores of vineyards, citrus trees, rooibos tea, fynbos and timber plantations destroyed.

We estimate that over 30 000 hectares were lost in the Citrusdal region, 16 000 hectares in the Ceres region, 8000 in Villiersdorp and surrounds, and 4000 hectares in the Overberg district. It will take time for the industry to recover from these losses.

There is no doubt that thousands of hectares have been saved from destruction due to the exceptional institutional efficiency built up in our Disaster Management programme over the years.

In 2012 we decided on a Rapid Attack programme to fight wildfires. Back then there were just 8 fire-fighting aircraft servicing the entire province. Today there are 26 aircraft operating across 31 runways.

Over the last 4 years, 97% of fires have been brought under control within the first hour of being reported.   That is an extraordinary statistic.

On behalf of Western Cape residents, thank you to all the firefighters, professionals from all five District Municipalities, Local Municipalities and City of Cape Town, the staff from Cape Nature, SANPARKS and the Working-on-Fire Program.

We acknowledge the efforts of members of the Fire Protection Associations, Volunteer Wildfire Services and private contractor teams. Pilots from the South African Air Force and the private sector also contributed greatly, as did the South African Defence Force Joint Operations Centre, and the National Disaster Management Centre.

We are deeply thankful to have witnessed no firefighter fatalities this fire season, and we will never forget the bravery of those who lost their lives in the 2014 season: Andrew Jantjies, Nazeem Davies, Hendrik ‘Bees’ Marais, Darryl Rea and Jastun Visagie.

It is my pleasure today to extend a warm welcome to Etienne Du Toit, Deputy Director Fire Brigade services. Etienne is responsible for the planning and execution of all air operations and is on duty 24/7 every day between November and January every year. No Christmas or New Year for him and his team.  He goes to all major fires in the province at all hours where he provides invaluable support to the fire services on the ground. He is one of the real unsung heroes of our fire programme, and therefore of our province.  I ask you all to acknowledge him, as he represents this amazing service to our people here today.

Their service is an essential part of the capable state required for growth and job creation.  Because a capable state is an essential condition for attracting for investment. Let’s measure ourselves against that yardstick

Speaker, over the last 5 years, we secured over R11 billion in investments across 79 projects in the Western Cape, through our investment agency Wesgro. This investment has created 6849 jobs.

Over 3700 Western Cape companies were assisted with exports, and 960 exporters were taken on trade missions to secure markets.

More than 4300 jobs, servicing international clients, have been created by our Economic Development Department’s strategy to promote the Western Cape as a global location for offshore business and IT services. The Business Process Outsourcing industry now accounts for 16 000 jobs in the Province, up 37% from last year,

Our Red Tape Reduction Unit is increasingly proving to be a major enabler of investment. Their Business Helpline has resolved 4700 queries to date, an 85% success rate overall. They are now expanding their service to 13 municipalities, with the goal of streamlining the approval of building plans and programmes to attract investors.

Honourable Speaker, over the years we have institutionalised our commitment to an enabling environment for business. Supporting Small and Medium Enterprises has been central to this strategy.

We have invested R50 million in over 300 enterprises in the last 3 years via our Enterprise Development Unit in partnership with the National Empowerment Fund.

The enterprises who received our help are showing a 15-20% increase in turnover, and have added 700 new jobs between them.

This support is not restricted to urban business. Our Agriculture Department partners with the private sector to support emerging smallholder and commercial farmers to gain access to markets. Over 250 such smallholder and commercial farmers benefited from this support in the last 5 years, an investment of over R1 billion.

We also host an annual Funding Fair – a platform for small businesses to pitch to investors for funding, much like the popular television show Dragon’s Den.

This is a partnership we have with the accounting and consulting multi-national company, Deloitte. Over 1200 people attended last year’s funding fair, including investors and exhibitors. The next fair is on 25 May this year, and applications are closing soon for enterprises who want to get involved.

Training for entrepreneurs is the focus of our Emerging Business Support Programme. Over 2000 entrepreneurs have been trained in 2 years. High-quality mentorship is offered by business schools, successful business people and commercial enterprises.

It is now common knowledge that Cape Town is South Africa’s Tech start-up capital. We are doing our bit to support the growth of this innovative industry.

From the time we launched the Bandwidth Barn in Khayelitsha, this small business incubator has gone from strength to strength.  Khayelitsha is becoming a hub of innovation.

The Barn has launched an AgriTech initiative that helps 76 Urban Growers to bolster technology for agriculture.  They are also assisting the informal retail sector to boost competitiveness by using technology. We currently have 300 Spaza shops participating in that programme, with a focus on the Mitchells Plain-Khayelitsha corridor.

The Barn in Woodstock is running a programme called “Rise”, a partnership with Barclays Africa offering R30 million for IT start-ups to develop financial technology.

I am pleased to welcome today, a guest who symbolizes the success of our local fintech industry. Mr Katlego Maphai is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Yoco, an enterprise that aims to reduce the complexity of processing payments for small and medium-sized businesses in South Africa.

YOCO has developed an integrated card payment and point-of-sale solution that includes their mobile app and either a Plug-in Card reader or Wireless card reader.

They officially launched in October 2015, after a year-long beta programme with over 500 merchants. They now have over 700 merchants on their platform, processing over 1.3 million US Dollars monthly in card payments, and counting.

Our investment agency Wesgro has been helping along the way to link YOCO to potential partners and provide access to networking forums.

We celebrate the success of YOCO, and the many other enterprises that have chosen Cape Town as their home. May you go from strength to strength.

Recognising successful entrepreneurs now has a special place in this government’s annual calendar. The Premier’s Entrepreneurship Recognition Awards is expanding each year, and now includes 12 categories, with prize money totalling R1.8 million.

Madam Speaker, through Project Khulisa, we have identified a set of priority economic sectors with the potential for accelerated growth and job creation. These are: Tourism, Oil and Gas, and Agri-processing.

The Tourism Sector today employs 200 000 people, with a Gross Value Add (GVA) of R17 billion to the provincial economy. Project Khulisa aims to add (up to) a further 120 000 jobs by 2019 under a high-growth scenario, increasing GVA by 65% to R28 billion.

The conference industry is essential to this growth. In the past 5 years, over 120 conference bids with an economic impact of R25.4 billion have been secured in the Western Cape. We are aiming to increase these figures through a dedicated programme to attract new conferences, and boost the numbers of delegates who attend. The second phase of the Cape Town International Convention Centre, a major infrastructure project currently under construction, is a key lever for achieving this.

We fought tooth and nail for sensible Visa regulations and we are happy to see progress being made, although implementation has been far too slow.

Despite this, December 2015 was Cape Town International airport’s busiest month in history.  International arrivals increased by over 20 000 year-on-year for the last 3 months of 2015, and Domestic arrivals increased by 40 000 in December alone.

Our Agri-processing target is to create up to an additional 100 000 formal jobs by 2019, with a 126% increase in GVA to R26 billion per year.  The el Nino drought cycle is a major challenge, but we are still pursuing these stretch targets.

Cabinet has approved three main focus areas for this sector:

  • Becoming a major player in the global Halaal market
  • Increasing exports of wine and brandy with a focus on China and Angola
  • Improve local production capacity for domestic and key strategic markets, especially on the African sub-continent.

Minister Winde will announce more details of these plans in his upcoming budget speech, but I will mention just one today.

A vital resource for the success of agri-processing is water. The Greater Brandvlei Irrigation Project is a mega rural development that aims to irrigate another 4 400 hectares of land in the Breede River and Langeberg Municipalities.

It is estimated that this project will create 8000 primary and 6500 secondary rural jobs. We are working in partnership with ten other organs of state. The key objective is to increase the height of the Brandvlei Dam’s inlet canal so that more water flows into the dam, which means that more water rights can be allocated. We are committed to ensuring that these rights create opportunities for emerging farmers to get a foothold in the agriculture economy.

The third Khulisa sector, Oil and Gas, is going through a period of oil price volatility.  For this sector, this is comparable to the drought we are experiencing in agriculture.

Companies need to be cost efficient in their operations during this time. It is important that we ensure that it is easy and cost-effective for investors to do business in the Saldanha Industrial Development Zone.

So our Red Tape Unit is undertaking its most important project to date: determining the cost to the economy of red tape in Project Khulisa sectors, including Oil and Gas.

The ease of doing business must improve for this industry to reach its full potential, and of course the national government has a key role to play through the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill. We foresee that a further 60 000 jobs can be created in this industry by 2019, provided we follow a high growth scenario, which requires that we create the right conditions for investment.  We have to work with national government to achieve this.

Over R200 million has been committed to the IDZ until the end of this financial year. Progress there includes the construction of Bulk services and completed port development designs. We are working in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry, the Saldanha Municipality and the Industrial Development Corporation in what we hope will become a model of co-operative governance.

Honourable Speaker, up until this point, I have outlined how our investment vehicles, enterprise support programme, and Project Khulisa have become central to our economic strategy.

It is on this foundation, developed over the years since taking in office in 2009, that we are now building our “Game Changers”.  We have identified the key levers that we believe will accelerate delivery of our long term vision, which is to foster a “highly skilled, innovation driven, resource efficient, connected, high opportunity society for all”.

Game changers focus either on our greatest challenges, or our best opportunities -- and sometimes both come together.

In the last year we have made progress in the design and execution of each of these game changers, through which we hope to accelerate economic growth, job creation and social inclusion.

Let me start with Skills.

To support the growth targets of our priority economic sectors, Skills Development in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (or TVET) sector, has been identified as a game changer.

Over the next 3 years, at least R534 million will be committed to this game changer by the Western Cape Government and its partners, the Sector Education and Training Authorities, as well as the Department of Higher Education and Training through public TVET Colleges . Our aim is to grow intermediate level skills, increase apprenticeships and promote Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) qualifications.

Collectively, more than R120 million will be allocated to supporting young people in Work Placement opportunities in 2016/17, with the biggest investment coming from our provincial government, in close partnership with the private sector through the SETAs.  The big challenge is to ensure that economic growth supports the requirement of job placement for these young aspiring artisans.

We have set ourselves ambitious targets. We realise they are highly susceptible to economic conditions, but we are putting in extensive effort and expertise to achieve them by 2019.

Provisionally, our targets are:

20 000 TVET learners available for priority jobs in priority sectors, close to treble the estimated 7 500 graduates this year

16 000 TVET learners achieving 80% positive assessments from their TVET learning programmes, which amounts to over two-and-a-half times the estimated 6000 this year

12 800 graduates (or 80%) employed or self-employed as entrepreneurs, up more than three times from an estimated baseline of 4800 this year

Critical to the success of this game changer is the private sector. If learners cannot find apprenticeships, they cannot qualify as artisans or other qualified TVET occupational graduates. We therefore call on business to work in partnership with us to increase the apprenticeship opportunities available in the province.  And we thank them for their commitment to our partnership programme in the past.

A major skills component is also a feature of our Expanded Public Works Programme.

Over 400 000 job opportunities were created through our EPWP programme between 2009 and 2015, exceeding targets by 135% according to the latest national government figures.

We have for some years now also been running a Work and Skills programme. To date, over 5100 youth have been trained, and a further 2200 will be trained, and 1400 placed in industry to gain workplace experience in the coming financial year.

Over 3600 young people have benefitted from internships in the public service since we began the Premier’s Advancement of Youth project in 2012. We will spend over R26 million in the coming year to advance this project because giving the young people of our province opportunities in life is our top priority.

Honourable Speaker, I now turn to another vital enabler for a growing economy, electricity supply.

We are all well aware of the energy shortage our country is facing.  The respite from load shedding is just that – a respite and not the end of it.  We also know what rolling blackouts have done to our economy.  The first question any investor asks when considering South Africa is:  will I have a secure electricity supply.  Energy security is thus a crucial game-changer, which we are driving in partnership with the City of Cape Town.

Other municipalities in the province have now also come on board. 

Already, the City of Cape Town’s Steenbras dam hydro-electric system has helped to avoid Stage 1 load-shedding in the Cape metro. This requires generating a significant amount of power, given that a single load-shedding zone in the Cape metro is equivalent to the total supply needed to power the rest of the province.

But the hydro-electric programme is just a start. We need to diversify our energy mix so that we can create enough power for growth that is both sustainable and low carbon.

To be successful, we will need to sign Power Purchase Agreements with Independent Power Producers (IPPs), focusing on solar and wind energy, and import Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) into the Province on a large scale. The City of Cape Town has applied for permission from the Department of Energy to procure power from IPPs. This approval is the key that unlocks the full potential of this game changer, and we trust that the Department of Energy will act in the public interest by making it easier to purchase independently-produced power.

Rooftop solar PV is currently generating 10MegaWatts of power in the Cape metro, out of the total 82MW this form of embedded generation produces nationally. Our game changer target is to add a further 120MW over the next 3 years in the Province from this power source.

It is already possible for users of rooftop PV to feed power back into the electricity grid in Cape Town, as part of a pilot approved by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa.

It is also possible for PV users in Drakenstein municipality to feed power into the grid from PV and we are making progress in partnership with other big municipalities to achieve the same outcome.  These municipalities include George, Mossel Bay, Stellenbosch, Saldanha Bay, and a further 10 municipalities where we are preparing by-laws to enable this 2-way reticulation.

In the interim we are keenly awaiting the national Department of Energy’s publication of the guidelines that will formalise this system. We understand that the Department intends to release these guidelines next month.  We hope it proves to be a major milestone in achieving energy security for the whole country.

Besides a diversified energy mix, our ability to avoid load-shedding will depend heavily on how energy efficient we can be.

As a provincial government we are taking the lead with a 30% reduction target in energy usage in government buildings by 2019. This project is being led by the Department of Transport and Public Works.

We challenge householders and businesses to do the same.

The success of our energy game-changer is integral to the Western Cape’s journey to becoming the green-economy hub of Africa.

This province is now undeniably South Africa’s headquarters of the renewable energy and technical services companies. 

Two thirds of South Africa’s manufacturing investment in renewables is located in this Province – that is, 8 out of the country’s 12 manufacturers. In 2011, we launched our vision for Atlantis to become a centre of this green hub. Working together with the City of Cape Town, a portion of Atlantis was established as a Green Manufacturing Hub, with some incentives offered.

As a result, we have a significant investment in the manufacture of wind turbine towers by Spanish investor Gestamp. It initially invested R300m and recently completed an expansion of R75m to add 30% more capacity to their plant. Gestamp have also attracted to Atlantis one of their suppliers, Resolux, a Danish company that manufactures wind turbine tower internals. They have partnered with Ms Zama Mkwanazi in this venture. Siyavuyisana nawe, Mama.

On the basis of this strong foundation, we are seeking the designation of Atlantis as a Special Economic Zone for “Greentech”. We have made this submission to DTI and their determination is expected in April.

Our West Coast Industrial Plan is also forging ahead. This is a partnership between three of our  Departments - Economic Development; Environmental Affairs and Development Planning; and Public Works – together with the Saldanha Municipality, and Green Cape, our special purpose vehicle. 

Honourable Speaker, we have discussed skills and energy security. Our next enabling game changer is Broadband.

In July 2014 we signed a R2.89bn 10-year contract with the State Information and Technology Agency (SITA) and Neotel to connect over 1900 public buildings to high-speed broadband. It is my pleasure today to welcome our key partners – Neotel, represented by their CEO, Mr Kennedy Memani, and the SITA, represented by Deputy CEO Mr Mboneli Ndlangisa.

We are working together very well in partnership to roll out a public private partnership that will have a catalytic impact on the growth of our economy.

Infrastructure at over 1000 sites has been completed to date, consisting of either wireless or fibre optic cable. The broadband service has been activated at over 900 of these sites.

We have prioritised schools in particular. A total of 692 schools have been connected to date, as well as 92 libraries and 169 corporate sites.

The service consists of connections ranging from 10 Megabytes per second to 1 Gigabyte per second, backed by a corporate-grade service level agreement to keep the systems running optimally.

Further key milestones include the establishment of a separate and distinct Schools Network as well as a Libraries Network. The uptake of the Internet capability within schools has been nothing short of astounding as is evidenced by the following statistics since the establishment of the Schools Network.  We have had

  • Over 438 million hits
  • Over 377 million page views
  • Over 17 terabytes of information

An interesting phenomenon has been the extent to which the Internet capability at Schools has been complemented by the Internet capability at Libraries. Usage at libraries increases dramatically once learners leave the school premises and presumably utilise the Internet at the local Library. The statistics at libraries are as follows:

  • Over 70 million hits
  • Over 59 million page views
  • Over 2,5 terabytes of information.

This just re-emphasises the need for school computer centres to remain open in the afternoon, and for children to have safe spaces to work on school premises, which is part of another game changer I will address shortly.

Leveraging off the broadband capability is a managed email and calendaring solution for schools which will be fully established and operational within the next 3 months.

In March we are launching the first 50 of over 380 public Wi-fi hotspots where citizens can access limited free Wi-fi. This is also in partnership with Neotel.

To date, SITA has invested approximately R315-million in our broadband programme and Neotel has invested R186-million.

The Economic Development Department also opened the doors of their first I-CAN centre in Elsies River last year, which is a public access facility providing citizens with free internet and digital skills training.

We understand the importance of connectivity in creating opportunity and opening up a world of knowledge for more young people. We also know that the way in which young people interact, engage and learn is changing. That is why we are putting major resources behind eLearning as a game changer. Specifically, we are working to enhance the teaching and learning experience, predominantly in Maths & Languages, of all Western Cape learners through the use of technology.

Given the rate of increase in the Western Cape’s pupil numbers, we are never going to be able to afford the number of teachers we need, which means that e-Learning will have to play an increasingly important complementary role to supplement the teachers in our schools.

We aim to have free High Speed Internet available in all schools by the end of 2016. We delivered over 3300 smart classrooms in the 2014/15 financial year and will have delivered a great deal more by the end of this financial year in April.

We have also launched an ePortal to open a treasure chest of free and relevant education resources, from tutorial videos to eBooks to apps.

This game changer requires a combination of the following factors:  the creation of an e-Culture in schools, backed by e-Infrastructure, an e-Admin system to run the school, and well-trained e-Teachers using e-Technology and e-Content in their lessons.  We have a plan for each of these components.

We are already seeing the results as we speak.

It is my pleasure to welcome Joelene Juries, the Foundation Phase Head of Department at Eros Special School, who joins us today.

Based in Athlone, Eros Special School caters for learners who have specific learning difficulties or are physically challenged by cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or genetic conditions.

Ms Juries has been using our Learning Management System (LMS) for her learners for more than a year. She has become adept at applying our Smart Classroom technologies to teach, and is training her staff to do the same.

eLearning opens up opportunities that never existed before for learners with special needs to engage with educational content. We thank Ms Juries and all teachers in our public schools who are pioneering innovative ways of using technology to prepare all our learners for the world of work in the 21st Century.

The 2015 National Senior Certificate results are evidence that the foundation we have laid over the years to improve the quality of education in our schools is starting to pay dividends. This is thanks to the hard work and dedication of our officials, teachers, learners, principals and parents.

Together you achieved an 84.7% matric pass rate, the highest in South Africa!  But frankly, the pass rate on its own is not the most important indicator of improvement.   Let’s look at a range of others indicators, which tell us about quality, and not only quantity.

Apart from the fact that a record number of 45 500 candidates passed their matric, the Western Cape achieved the highest retention rate in South Africa: 66.8% in 2015, up from 63.8% in 2014.  That is crucial because it shows we are managing to keep more children in school for longer.

The Bachelor pass rate has increased to 41.7%, a national record, with an unprecedented 100% of learners qualifying to access some form of higher education. 

Our pass rates for critical subjects were also the highest of all provinces: 74.9%, of learners passed maths and 73.3% passed physical science.

The improvements are particularly evident in schools serving disadvantaged communities. Since 2009 there has been a 10 – 15% increase in pass rates across Quintile 1 – 3 schools. Pass rates now average over 70% in schools attended by learners who come from the poorest backgrounds.

We attribute this to a range of pro-poor programmes that we continue to protect in the face of budget cuts. In the last year we spent R43.6 million to cover the claims submitted by qualifying parents seeking financial assistance with school fees.

An extensive food nutrition programme is in place for no-fee schools in Quintiles 1-3, and in Quintile 4 schools that meet the criteria. Daily transport is provided for more than 50 000 rural learners who live more than 5 kilometres from their nearest school. An alternative to subsidised transport is subsidized hostel accommodation where this is preferable.

Besides the Annual National Assessments, we conduct our own Systemic Tests based on international benchmarks for standards in maths and languages.

These tests provide invaluable data which we incorporate into the improvement plans that all schools are required to have. We have seen steady improvement over the last 5 years.

To date, Grade 3 maths results have improved from 47% to over 57%, Grade 6 from 23% to over 37%, and Grade 9 from 10% to more than 22% measured against competitive, international standards.   This is not nearly good enough, but it is significant movement in the right direction.

Language results are following the same trend: Grade 3 results are up by 12 percentage points, Grade 6 results by 5.3 percentage points, and Grade 9 results by 8.8%.

This year we will continue to advance the public-private operating partnerships known as “Collaboration Schools”. This is a new model of schooling that brings additional education management skills and innovation into the public school system. We believe these non-profit partnerships have the potential to improve the quality of teaching and learning in no-fee public schools. Minister Schafer has released extensive details on this project and will continue to drive it.  This initiative has the potential to become the greatest game changer of all.

Which brings me to what happens after school.  This is another game changer.

In order to have responsible, working young adults, we recognise the importance of extramural activities such as sport, cultural activities, and the benefits of positive adult role models.

Many parents are working, many are absent, and our children leave the school day to enter unsafe, violent neighbourhoods and empty homes. This Province has therefore focused on the provision of quality After-Schools Programmes in safe spaces and this project has been prioritised as one of our game changers.

We are aiming to provide over 112 000 learners in no-fee schools with access to safe, quality after school programmes by 2019. This is more than double the 50 000 learners who currently enjoy access to these programmes. Achieving scale is only possible through a whole-of-society approach, and will succeed if government partners with the host of NGOs already working throughout the Province.

An advantage we have is the extensive infrastructure already in place to support this programme.  There are 180 Mass Opportunity and Development (MOD) centres operated on school property by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, 5 Youth Cafés and 93 partial care centres run by the Social Development Department and partners, as well as scores of libraries and hubs run by the City of Cape Town.

Our aim is to turn this advantage into an opportunity for more young people to advance themselves in a safe, connected, high-quality learning environment.

The four pillars of our after schools programme are: Academic support (including eLearning), Life Skills, Arts & Culture, and Sport.

This year we will be expanding our infrastructure by building 5 MOD Clusters – education precincts that will form new centres of positive social activity in communities. The clusters will include safe walkways and cycle lanes, which will link several schools to a hub of sports facilities, security, and quality educational programming.

We will develop these clusters in five areas where childrens’ safety is a major concern:  Nyanga junction, Manenberg, Scottsdene, Paarl East, and Atlantis.

It is my pleasure to welcome one of the stalwarts of our after-schools’ programme, Xolile Mlungu as one of my special guests today. Mr Mlungu is a Programme Officer managing 24 MOD Centres in the Metro South district.

He is an example of a public servant who makes a difference because he is doing what he loves well. He is a manager, and also a coach at club level for Athletics teams competing in provincial league structures.

Because of public servants like Mr Mlungu, young people at our MOD’s are recognised nationally for their achievements in a diverse range of sports, from softball to chess. We thank Xolile and all our MOD Programme Officers for the excellent work they are doing.

Honourable Speaker, the game changing programmes we are discussing today are as much about owning the future as they are about fixing the past.

I have said that our long-term vision is a “highly skilled, innovation driven, resource efficient, connected, high opportunity society for all”.

There are two very important words in this vision. They are “for all”.

The planners of the past had exclusion and discrimination as a priority, and their legacy is the extent of the social problems we have today.

Cape Town is a city that is trying hard to overcome the spatial planning model that apartheid entrenched so deeply.  Thanks to our partnership with the private sector, the Cape Town inner city has regenerated at an accelerated pace compared to any other South African city.  This has had one negative consequence  --  the escalation of property prices beyond the reach of most people.

Demand for affordable housing closer to the city bowl is an important priority for a functional city, and this can be achieved more effectively if the state complements the market mechanism appropriately.

We have to create a much more inclusive city at a time of resource scarcity.  This requires innovation.

Despite years of delay, the redevelopment of District 6 is now well underway and into its third phase.

District 6 is one of the best located pieces of vacant land in the country, and is earmarked for restitution. We have the opportunity to ensure District 6 becomes a symbol of the integrated society apartheid sought to destroy.

Perhaps because it is such a jewel, the development has attracted vested interests and political gate-keeping.  But, since Minister Gugile Nkwinti took over the portfolio of restitution nationally, things have worked far better, and now that claimants are engaging in the detail of redevelopment, progress is being made at last.

Besides finding the funds needed to build an integrated and multi-storey suburb on the slopes of Table Mountain, our next challenge is to accommodate the late claimants who have until 30 June 2019 to lodge their claims.  This means District 6 will continue to be developed precinct by precinct until all those who should rightfully return are accommodated. 

Over the last year there has been major progress in our plans to redevelop the well located urban site where Conradie Hospital once was. The site is 22 hectares in size, and is adjacent to the suburbs of Pinelands and Thornton, and surrounded by access to public transport.  A total of 22 hectares of well-located urban land is a fantastic space in which to launch this game changer.

We have called it the “Better Living” model because of its potential to pioneer a new approach to inclusive urban development, not just for Cape Town, but for all South African cities that have similar apartheid-era spatial challenges.

The scoping phase is complete and recommendations were signed off by cabinet in December 2015 for the Conradie site to be transformed into a mixed-use, mixed-income, mixed tenure, residentially led development.

It will be an innovative partnership between the provincial government and City of Cape Town, social housing institutions and private developers.

We are proposing the construction of more than 3000 residential units, as well as business premises, schools, and safe, green public spaces on this site  --  all with access to efficient public transport.

In line with our “Live Work Play” philosophy, this site is large enough to accommodate an integrated living community of people right on the doorstep of the city bowl.

This will be a multi-billion rand investment that will stimulate economic growth and jobs – we estimate that at least one job will be created for every million Rand spent on this development.

Another key objective is the provision of housing for a variety of income groups, from bonded properties, to more affordable state-subsidised housing options. There are thousands of people living in the province who earn too much to receive a free house but yet do not qualify for a bank bond to buy one. We hope to show through this development that state subsidies in partnership with the private sector, can offer meaningful housing opportunities to these citizens.  If we get this right, we can make a major contribution towards addressing the country’s housing backlog.

The Better Living Model game changer has the potential to be attractive to a diverse community that chooses to live on this well-located site, as opposed to a community that is obliged to live there. This is an important principle for the sustainability of the development as residents will share responsibility for the success of this new model.

Ministers Madikizela and Grant will hold a press conference next week to elaborate on the details of how the development process will unfold.

There are many different ways we can apply this model.  I listened to the President’s State of the Nation address and was particularly interested to hear him say it would make a lot of sense to have one city as the seat of government in order to save money for the fiscus.

I was amused that many people immediately assumed that this would mean moving Parliament from Cape Town.  But if the President’s motive is genuinely to save money, it should be the other way around.  The administrative capital should move to Cape Town.

I have tasked Ministers Winde, Grant and Bredell to build on existing work in relation to inner city regeneration plans to make concrete proposals for a public private partnership to locate major government administrative buildings and high density parliamentary residential accommodation in the approximately 3-hectares available for development in close proximity to our current Parliament.

This would combine the live and work philosophy in increased urban densities, enabling government to set the example of the new urban form we require.

It would even make it possible for the government to sell the costly range of Ministerial houses, and accommodate Ministers in pleasant apartments on the upper floors of these high rise buildings, which would offer unparalleled 360 degree views of the City, the Mountain and the Sea. 

As Premier of the Province, I would be the first to move there. This would release much valuable real estate for sale and defray the costs of building the government precinct, which could also be subverted by a Build Operate and Transfer model undertaken by the private sector. 

We would also save a fortune in security costs.

I would like to propose to the President that he asks the Gauteng government to submit comparable proposals for Tshwane and compare the cost-effectiveness of locating South Africa’s seat of Government in Cape Town or Pretoria, if this is indeed the primary motivation.  We are up to the challenge, Mr President.

Honourable Speaker, we are also driving several other catalytic projects in the province, in partnership with municipalities.

We have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Kingdom of the Netherlands for expert support to be provided to the Two Rivers Urban Park project. This is another mixed-use development of residential and commercial opportunities situated on 120 hectares of land at the confluence of the Liesbeek and Black rivers.

The provincial Human Settlements Department has several more projects in the planning and implementation phase to deliver large numbers of housing opportunities.  These are enormous stretch targets and there are many factors that could derail them  --  such as ongoing internal community conflict.

Southern Corridor N2 Phase 2: over 50 000

North-eastern corridor City of Cape Town: over 20 000

Thembalethu, George: 15 000

Trans Hex, Worcester: 7300

Vlakkeland, Paarl: 3200

Louis Fourie corridor, Mossel Bay: over 3000

De Novo, Stellenbosch: 2300

Vredenburg urban regeneration, Saldanha Bay: over 1100

The Department has an overall delivery target of over 104 000 housing opportunities by 2019.

Honourable Speaker, last year I highlighted sanitation as a significant, sensitive issue that needed specific attention. The City of Cape Town is taking up this issue as part of its Integrated Human Settlements Framework, developed in collaboration with the provincial government.

The Framework aims to address, by 2032, the metro’s overall projected housing backlog of 652 000 households.

A key feature of this framework is the Upgrading of Informal Settlements programme. By 2032, over 143 000 households are expected to be reached at an estimated total cost of over R30 billion – the current number of households in informal settlements in the metro is just under 150 000.  This must be led by the City.

Honourable Speaker, community development goes beyond putting basic infrastructure in place. To bring about meaningful change to the social problems in our communities, we need a whole-of-society approach.

Over the last year we have worked on refining our approach toward the problem of alcohol abuse in the Western Cape. The scale of human tragedy caused by excessive drinking and the cost to the economy makes Alcohol Harms Reduction an essential game changer for us.  It is also the most challenging and intractable social problem we face.

Alcohol is the common denominator in the majority of trauma cases in our hospitals. And no fewer than 80% of emergency incidents during the 2015 festive season were a result of injuries caused by interpersonal violence, usually alcohol or drug related.

Alcohol is also a driver behind 4 of the 5 major burdens of disease on our health system.

There is an enormous social benefit waiting to be realized for any community where the sale of alcohol is properly regulated, and residents actively encourage each other to drink less.

Our goal is specifically focused on reducing alcohol-related harms through the creation of strong communities and safer neighbourhoods, starting with 3 pilots in Lingelethu West (Khayelitsha), Gunya (Gugulethu and Nyanga) and Drakenstein (Smartie Town, Fairyland and Groenheuwel).

We are approaching this from three angles:  one is to reduce access to alcohol;  another is to increase the diversity of recreational and economic activity that is not alcohol dependent; and the third is directed at treatment.

Signalling our seriousness to reduce access to alcohol, the Cabinet has resolved that from April this year, the Western Cape Liquor Authority will be located with the Department of Community Safety, rather than the Department of Economic Development and Tourism.

In addition, we have already activated a new approach to Neighbourhood Watches, premised on a strengthened partnership to support law enforcement and better cohesion within communities around initiatives to reduce access to alcohol and related harms.

A strong partnership with SAPs is critical to our success, and we are confident that our new provincial police Commissioner Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula, is committed to this.   He is here today and we warmly congratulate him on his appointment.

An important element to our alcohol harms reduction strategy is to promote access to economic alternatives for traders who would otherwise be selling liquor.

If we want people to drink less, they need to have recreation and entertainment alternatives.  These must be attractive to our youth, who are most at risk of alcohol abuse. We intend to crowd in community-based organisations, NGOs, entrepreneurs and local government to develop a new platform of opportunities, together with a campaign to mobilise resources to support them. 

We have a good foundation on which to build. Over the past five years, we have been developing some key programmes to support the youth – a major target group of the alcohol game changer.

To name just a few: The Department of Community Safety’s “Youth Safety Religious Partnership” now includes over 140 religious institutions from over 50 geographical areas across the Province, reaching 24 135 youth during school holidays last year. This year we will train a further 1200 youth through the Chrysalis and Wolwekloof academies, before placing them in community-safety related employment for 9 months of work experience.

We have a long way to go in this game changer, and as we know, it is very difficult to deal with an entrenched culture.  But we have to give it our best shot to ensure that the young people of this province can make use of their opportunities, and respect the bodily integrity and rights of others. 

Honourable Speaker, I now turn to another major front in the battle to reduce alcohol harms: our roads. Alcohol continues to be a leading factor in road fatalities..

Provincial traffic officers have been issued with hand-held devices that are fast, information-verifying tools that support enforcement on the road. The devices allow traffic officers real-time access to the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera system, which is linked to the eNaTIS database where all vehicle and driver information is stored. The devices and cameras also serve as information gathering tools for deploying resources to areas where the need is greatest.

The speed over distance cameras went live on major routes including the N1, N2, R27 and R101 in the last quarter of 2015.

It is likely that Evidentiary Breath Alcohol Testing (commonly known as the Drager Breathalyser device) will soon return to our roads following a due diligence assessment by our legal services.

While a recent study shows that the majority of patients accessing treatment centres in the province are seeking help with alcohol abuse, this is just one part of the substance abuse problem in the Western Cape.

Over the last five years we have more than doubled our budget for substance abuse, with funding exceeding R92 million in the coming year going to our Substance Abuse, Prevention and Rehabilitation sub-programme.

The Social Development Department has more than trebled substance abuse treatment sites from seven in 2009, to 25 today. In June last year the Kensington Treatment Centre became the province’s first women only rehabilitation centre

Our treatment programmes can only succeed in partnership with law enforcement. The Western Cape accounts for 33.2% of all drug related crimes in South Africa, according to the latest crime statistics. Drug crime is deeply associated with gang activity, with close to 50% of all violent contact crime cases in the metro being concentrated in a handful of precincts.

There is a major deficit in policing resources in the Western Cape, with police to population ratios in excess of 1 police officer to 700 residents in some of the precincts hardest hit by crime. To put this in perspective, the national average police to population ratio is 1 officer to 328 people.  That is twice as many policemen in relation to population, compared to some of our most crime ridden areas.

The mandate for policing falls with national government, and we welcome Commissioner Jula’s stated commitment to fighting crime, and gang violence in particular, in communities that are worst affected.  We welcome President Zuma’s reported announcement, in his reply to the State of the Nation Address, on the reintroduction of the specialised drug and gun units.  This is an enormous step forward, ironically to get back to the point we were 10 years ago.

The City of Cape Town has, with very limited resources, shown how effective specialised units can be in combatting flare ups in gang violence. The stabilisation unit introduced in Manenberg in July 2015 and has had an impact on reducing periods of gang-related violence.

Between July and November 2015, the unit’s presence resulted in a reduction of gang shootings in Manenberg from up to 3 shootings per day, to just one shooting in 4 months.

As a provincial government we have stretched our oversight powers over policing to limits not tested before in the history of our democracy.

The Office of the Police Ombudsman, Advocate Vusi Pikoli, is now fully operational. We encourage the public to make use of this office for complaints relating to policing inefficiency or the possible breakdown in the relationship between communities and the police.

In the coming year we will also step up our monitoring of police conduct at prosecution stage by expanding our Watching Briefs programme to 25 courts.  This is a most innovative programme and has increased the rate of criminal convictions by acting as a catalyst towards effective policing and production of the evidence that will stand up in court. 

In the first quarter of 2015/16 alone our Watching Briefs unit successfully observed 28 court cases, including cases of possession of fire arms, aggravated robbery, murder, and attempted murder, where policing inefficiencies were present, such as:

9 cases of dockets not being available at court; and

19 cases of failure of the investigating officer to timeously complete the investigation.

SAPS has indicated that at least an additional 8 internal disciplinary cases were opened as a result of the Court Watching Briefs.   This is a crucial form of oversight.

Honourable Speaker, I have spoken about the budget cuts by national government that will place immense pressure on frontline service delivery. This brings me to our biggest budget item of all:  Health.

Our health facilities are experiencing a steady rise in patient numbers, with a 2% year-on-year rise in Emergency Centres.

Our provincial population is increasing annually in the face of shrinking budgets in real terms.   It is quite an incredible statistic to consider but it is a fact:  between the census of 1996 and that of 2011, the City of Cape Town grew by 45%.  The resources available in real terms have not kept pace.

To give you an idea of the volume of services delivered, over 103 000 babies were born in our facilities last year, and over 170 000 operations were conducted.  Every single baby and every single patient is equally important to us.

As it stands we are committing over R800 million towards health infrastructure over the next 3 years. Almost 40% of this budget will go towards maintaining our existing facilities to the highest possible standard.

Given our budget limitations, we understand how vital it is to strengthen Primary Health Care, and to use our limited resources as efficiently as possible.

Higher patient loads at our facilities can cause patient dissatisfaction in some cases, most commonly because of waiting times, and in some cases unrealistic expectations.

There is a Hotline for queries and complaints. Provincial legislation also now provides for an Independent Health Complaints Committee as a means for more serious complaints to be dealt with transparently and credibly.

The truth is that our facilities would be under far less pressure if residents began taking greater responsibility for their personal well-being. Over 54% of patients in the provincial public health system have more than 2 preventable chronic diseases each.  The inescapable conclusion is that if they looked after their own health, they would not have to be patients at all.

We are increasingly placing an emphasis on preventing disease, and this means people must take responsibility for their lifestyles. Our initiatives include the Western Cape on Wellness (WoW) project to encourage healthy lifestyles, and the “First 1000 days” campaign to create awareness of child healthcare essentials.

We have a vital resource in our 3500 Community Healthcare Workers, contracted primarily through our non-profit partners. They will increasingly play a bigger role in working with communities to prevent illness. We will support them with training and ensure a greater presence of workers in each geographic area.

Our healthcare system is only as good as the people who staff it. They are the ones working day in day out to provide a quality service to 75% of the provincial population.

There is a long history of innovation in Western Cape health facilities, after all the world’s first heart transplant took place here, and the CAT scan was invented by a scientist from Cape Town.

In the past year our doctors have achieved more world firsts using cutting edge technology.

Little Masslino Franke from Manenberg was born prematurely and suffered extensive bleeding in his brain. In a first for neurosurgery, doctors at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital performed a Lazer-assisted procedure which allowed them to operate on Masslino using camera and video technology that does not require major cuts to access delicate parts of the brain.

A team of doctors from Tygerberg Hospital and Stellenbosch University also performed the world’s first successful, life-saving and cost-effective skin culture transplant.

Groote Schuur hospital now hosts the “Access to Care” programme, the leading edge of radiotherapy training globally. Advanced computer technology is used to create a virtual environment where students can use software to practice complex treatment plans.

These are just some of the success stories coming out of our health facilities, and all praise must go to the healthcare professionals who are performing miracles and saving lives.

But Speaker, innovation is not just about world firsts, it is also about offering quality care under high pressure circumstances. For that reason I want to thank all the healthcare professionals doing the best they can every day.

It is my pleasure today to welcome Helene Human, Manager of the Alan Blyth hospital in Ladismith. The quality of rural healthcare in many parts of the country remains a major risk for patients. But Helene and her staff are showing that it is possible to achieve a world-class rural health facility in the poorest circumstances.

Many people labour unseen in their daily commitment to serve all the citizens of our province, and we rarely get to hear about them.  In the case of the Alan Blyth Hospital I am grateful to Jack Lewis, for taking the time to write up his personal experience of taking a farm worker to this hospital on a Sunday.

In Jack’s words: “I chatted to a nurse who told me how in the past there were often medicine stock-outs, but no more. Now, what the staff needed was always at hand. The hospital itself was clean, freshly painted and the beds and equipment had recently been modernised. Everything appeared to be in working order … The Western Cape is showing that with proper management a huge difference can be made in the quality of service delivery.”

Years ago Alan Blyth was a run-down facility that was rarely frequented by a doctor. Today it is a well-maintained institution, with doctors regularly on duty, a full time radiographer and caring staff who run efficient patient management systems.

In a time of limited resources and great demand for our services, Helene and her team are showing how genuinely caring about patient well-being can make an immense difference. Thank you on behalf of the public you serve.

As a final topic today, I would like to share with you some of the important nation-building initiatives that our Cultural Affairs and Sport Department is undertaking.

In a time of social volatility and racially charged debate in South Africa, we must not forget the good work that is quietly being done to advance social cohesion and celebrate diversity in our society.

During Heritage Month we officially launched the new Cape Town museum in Adderley Street.

The museum is a new-generation institution that offers innovative ways for local residents and tourists to interact with collections show-casing our unique heritage and diversity.

It will become a key access point for people to obtain an overview of the history and development of their city, the good and the bad.

The approach to exhibitions is entirely demand-driven, and we are inviting submissions from the public on what they would most like to see on display.

We have also launched our Oral history Programme – a project aimed at documenting the stories of Western Cape residents for future generations.

Much of the history of our communities is preserved only in the minds of their storytellers. To truly understand our past from a unique perspective, we felt it important to run a formal programme to capture the valuable stories beneath our social tapestry.

Language is the foundation of all human understanding. We create our existence and give it meaning through words, which change and develop all the time.

In the past year our Language Unit launched the official isiXhosa terminology for chess. By standardising these terms, we are capturing the colour of this beautiful language and promoting its popular use amongst all South Africans.

We now know that the official isiXhosa word for checkmate -- skaakmat -- is “uthinjiwe”. Soon we will be launching the official terminology for the game of cricket.

In the meantime, I can tell you that the isiXhosa term for Been voor Paaltjie is “Ukusitha uthinti”, and the phrase that every player loves screaming at an umpire, “Howzat!”, is “Kunjani!”.   

Honourable Speaker, today I have presented our strategy for economic growth and job creation. Our strategy is under-pinned by game-changing programmes focused on vital economic levers from skills, energy security and broadband, to eLearning, after school programmes, better living models and alcohol harms reduction.

We have covered a lot of ground since taking office in 2009, and we are now in a phase of delivering on the stretch targets we have set for ourselves in line with our long-term vision.

And let me stress again:  we are working for the Western Cape to succeed, so that South Africa can succeed.  I am more optimistic about our future than I have ever been before.

2016 is another election year Speaker.  Let us use this opportunity to build, not break down.  Let us show the world we are a functional democracy that plays by the rules and takes nation building seriously.  It is our responsibility to put our country first.

I thank you.

Media Enquiries: 
Michael Mpofu
Spokesperson for Premier Helen Zille

Tel: 021 483 4584
Cell: 071 564 5427
Email: michael.mpofu@westerncape.gov.za