Western Cape SoPA: Premier’s Address Falls Short of Providing Actionable Plans to Address Challenges Faced by Residents

Last night, Premier Alan Winde’s State of the Province Address fell short of outlining a clear plan to critically address the decline in local governance and service delivery in the Western Cape.

In the absence of a clear and actionable plan to intervene in collapsing municipalities, such as Knysna, these municipalities continue their downward spiral.

The reality across the Western Cape is that, coupled with the collapse of service delivery in various municipalities, rampant criminality and violence present a clear threat to every resident of our province.

In an environment where criminals dictate terms, and where infrastructure development projects are lucrative extortion opportunities for organised gangs in collusion with government officials, residents are left at a disadvantage while criminals and corrupt officials thrive.  This is why ActionSA is committed to fighting for the restoration of the rule of law.Top of Form

The Premier also presented no clear plan to address inequality in the province. ActionSA recognises the urgent need to empower our communities to confront the socio-economic realities directly linked to the risk factors that push many individuals into a life of crime.

ActionSA has adopted a tough-on-crime and zero-tolerance approach, but we also recognise that solely bolstering policing and implementing harsher penalties for criminals is not enough, considering that many resort to crime out of desperation.  That is precisely why ActionSA intends to couple our relentless efforts in defeating criminals, gangs and drug dealers with providing a network of social support to drug and substance addicts.

Ultimately, ActionSA will create an environment conducive to economic prosperity in every community, thereby offering every resident the opportunity to lead a life that contributes positively to our province, rather than destroying it.

We believe that a critical area of concern is healthcare, as we are inundated with reports from residents detailing exhaustive wait times, ambulances not arriving and clinics that are overrun and understaffed, and stories of healthcare practitioners that are overworked in shocking conditions.

While National Treasury’s budget cuts will impact healthcare spending in the Western Cape, challenges in the system predate this development, highlighting the longstanding issues stemming from a critical disparity between the supply and demand for quality, affordable healthcare. This reality has created significant inequality in access to healthcare across our province.

Critically, an ActionSA government, through the creation of the Opportunity Fund, will facilitate increased infrastructure investment to expand access to economic opportunities and improve access to quality healthcare, particularly through the development of more clinics.

Furthermore, while the Premier failed to address the crisis of housing in the Western Cape, ActionSA recognises that the current approach to housing provision and land reform is outdated, costly and has been poorly implemented. Particularly in a city like Cape Town, current approaches do little to address spatial injustice.

Low-density RDP housing on the outskirts of the city has proven ineffective, and the reality remains unchanged over the past three decades where the vast majority of working-class residents still reside tens of kilometres away from the economic hub.

Therefore, ActionSA’s approach to housing provision will be to expand access to affordable housing opportunities that are closer to economic opportunities. We will also reform the Department of Human Settlement’s public housing delivery framework and include more ambitious targets to address the significant housing backlog.  We will also ensure that housing benefits promised to Military Veterans in legislation becomes a reality.

To further enable government to respond to the housing crisis, ActionSA will identify and expropriate hi-jacked and abandoned properties, factories and land, and under-utilised land owned by the state that is suitable for affordable housing and release it to the private sector for the development of mixed-use buildings that include affordable housing.

ActionSA reiterates its commitment to ensuring that every resident, regardless of their postal code, the opportunity to live in a province where criminals do not dictate the terms, and where the government only serves the needs and interests of every resident of the Western Cape.