Western Cape Government: Overview
Premier of the Western Cape
The Premier, Helen Zille, is the executive authority in the Western Cape, mandated by the Constitution to be the head of the Western Cape Government. The Premier also appoints the Provincial Cabinet, who jointly form the executive branch of the Provincial Government. Visit the Premier's page for more information on her work and vision for the province.
The Western Cape Government (WCG) consists of 13 departments, namely:
- Department of Agriculture
- Department of Community Safety
- Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport
- Department of Economic Development and Tourism
- Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning
- Department of Health
- Department of Human Settlements
- Department of Local Government
- Department of Social Development
- Department of Transport and Public Works
- Department of the Premier
- Provincial Treasury
- Western Cape Education Department
Working with a budget of R153.826 billion over next three years (2014 -2017), these departments are responsible for implementing laws and providing services to the people of the Western Cape.
The Western Cape is situated on the south western tip of the African continent and is one of the 9 provinces of South Africa. The province is also home to South Africa's oldest city, Cape Town. The Western Cape's natural beauty, complemented by its hospitality, cultural diversity, excellent wine and colourful cuisine, makes the province one of the world's greatest tourist attractions.
With 11.3% of the national population, more than 6.29 million people live in the Western Cape on 129 370 km² of land (PGWC: Provincial Treasury - Provincial Economic Review & Outlook - PERO 2016). Afrikaans is spoken by the majority, with isiXhosa and English being the other main languages.
In South Africa, the official narrow unemployment rate is estimated at 26.5% in the fourth quarter of 2016 (Stats SA). Including the non-searching unemployed raises the unemployment rate to 35.6% about 9 percentage points higher than the narrow unemployment rate. In the Western Cape, the unemployment rate is estimated at 20.5% and 23.6% using the narrow and expanded definitions, respectively (Stats SA). The small gap between these 2 unemployment rates means that there are very few individuals in the Province who are not actively seeking employment.
The biggest driver of economic growth and job creation in the Province is the services sector. The Western Cape has managed to maintain its significant comparative trade advantage in the agri-processing value chain and several services sectors. Agri-processing and tourism are suitable sectors to support inclusive growth, as both are very labour intensive with rising productivity and allow for the creation of sustained jobs for all skill levels in both urban and rural areas. Both sectors can also be important earners of foreign exchange. The development of the gas sector allows for a transformation of the energy mix in the Western Cape to include more sustainable, affordable and environmentally friendly solutions.
The clothing sector is benefiting from increased demand from local retailers and there are tentative signs of a turnaround in the industry. The construction sector is one of the key sectors to benefit from sustained growth in other sectors as it results in an increased need for infrastructure development. Due to these links to fast growing sectors, infrastructure and construction growth in the Province is expected to continue to outpace growth in the rest of South Africa.
The National Constitution permits each provincial legislature to adopt a constitution for its province. The Provincial Constitution must correspond with the National Constitution.
The Western Cape Provincial Parliament is responsible for creating laws for the province within its realm of responsibilities as set out in the Constitution of South Africa. These responsibilities include creating provincial legislation dealing with:
- Health services
- Language policy
- Nature conservation
- Police services
- Provincial public media
- Public transport
- Regional planning and development
- Road traffic regulation
- Trade and industrial promotion
- Traditional authorities
- Urban and rural development
- Vehicle licensing
- Welfare services
- Ambulance services
- Liquor licences
- Museums other than national museums
- Provincial planning
- Provincial cultural matters
- Provincial recreation and activities
- Provincial roads and traffic
Provincial parliament is housed in Wale Street, Cape Town and consisits of 42 members of which:
- 26 seats are currently held by the Democratic Alliance,
- 14 by the African National Congress,
- 1 by the African Christian Democratic Party and,
- 1 by the Economic Freedom Fighters.
An open opportunity society for all.
The Western Cape Government will promote freedom and opportunity for all the people of the province through:
- Policies and practices that strengthen the Constitution.
- Creating the conditions for sustainable economic and employment growth.
- Alleviating poverty by providing a welfare safety net for those unable to provide for themselves.
- Ensuring the safety of every person.
- Capital and skills.
- Delivering clean, efficient, cost-effective, transparent and responsive public administration.
1. Increase economic empowerment for all the people of the Western Cape.
2. Reduce poverty through promoting opportunities for all.
3. Promote rural development.
4. Efficient and effective infrastructure.
5. Sustainable human settlements.
6. Improve individual and household capacity to respond to opportunity.
7. Improve efficiency and effectiveness in health, education, well-being and safety.
8. Sustainable resource use through greater spatial integration.
9. Effective public and non-motorised transport.
10. Responsive and effective governance.
The Provincial Coat of Arms
The coat of arms is the result of several months of research and consultation with important role-players (especially representatives of the political parties represented in the Provincial Parliament). The elements encapsulated in the design were chosen because of their wide support and because they reflect the uniqueness of the Western Cape. The predominant colours, red and gold, have a long association with heraldry in the Province.