South Africa


Pay attention to Western Cape housing crisis, Premier Winde urged

Pay attention to Western Cape housing crisis, Premier Winde urged
Alan Winde, DA candidate for Western Cape premier in Cape Town, 19 September 2018. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

While much of the focus in the Western Cape government has been over the ‘Safety Plan’, opposition parties within the provincial legislature say Premier Alan Winde has slipped up on housing in his drive to combat violent crime in the Western Cape. 

Opposition parties within the Western Cape provincial legislature don’t believe premier Alan Winde fulfilled some of the promises he made during his 2019 State of Province Address. But while there have been efforts to make the province safer, there are gaps that need to be filled — and the opposition hopes these get attention on Thursday morning. 

“No, the Premier did not achieve the goals he set himself in the 2019 Western Cape State of the Province address,” said Economic Freedom Fighters provincial chairperson Melikhaya Xego. The party, the third-largest in the Western Cape legislature with two seats, is not shy about criticising the province’s leadership under Winde, who took over as premier in May 2019 after the national and provincial elections. 

Xego pointed out that one of the broad priorities Winde had failed at was housing, specifically housing within the Cape Town CBD.

“On the issue of housing, the premier promised that the provincial government will create spaces for people to live close to economic opportunities and also address the issue of apartheid spatial planning. All this has not taken place — the provincial government is only paying lip service to this as it is a well-known fact that they do not want poor black people to reside near the CBD close to the middle-class white people.”

The perception of unkept promises is shared by the ANC’s Cameron Dugmore, leader of the official opposition in the Western Cape.

“He (Winde) made a number of promises and we believe that he has not made adequate progress in regard to the commitments that he made to the legislature,” said Dugmore. 

But as Winde prepares his speech for Thursday morning, the opposition parties in the province point out several issues that need to be addressed.

Xego told Daily Maverick that “the agenda for SOPA this year will be more or less the same as last year and addressing the same issues of unemployment, creation of small businesses, health, transport and crime”.

GOOD secretary and sole member of the legislature, Brett Herron, predicted that there will once again be a focus on the Safety Plan.

“I have no doubt that we will hear more about the Western Cape Safety Plan. The Premier and the DA have decided that this is their winning issue. SOPA will include a parade or demonstration of various policing and safety entities. The Premier believes he must demonstrate some sort of police force that he has created.

“The Safety Plan has some money behind it and there is no turning back. It would be good to hear that there is an actual plan – not just a working document – and for the detail of the plan to be announced.”

Herron has been a critic of spending on the plan — at one point asking Winde in the provincial legislature if there actually was a plan

Herron said that over the next year there should be a focus on the following areas: the climate change emergency, the public transport crisis, urban integration, new energy and the green economy.

Dugmore told Daily Maverick there are five key issues that need to be addressed:

“It’s the issue of safety, it’s the issue of public transport, it’s the issue of the economy, jobs, but also it is also the issue of ownership patterns in the economy — doing much more to support black-owned, women-owned businesses. Education is in decline in the Western Cape — there is a serious crisis of leadership both in the MEC (Debbie Schäfer) and the department. 

“Human Settlements — we will be raising firm examples of how the DA has promised integrated human settlements, but for the last 10 years, there hasn’t been one development close to the city (of Cape Town) and that has actually broken down apartheid spatial planning.”

 Read in Daily Maverick: Crime, rail and inner-city housing take centre stage at Alan Winde’s first State of the Province Address

The DA Chief Whip in the legislature Mirielle Wegner told Daily Maverick the premier is a man of action and integrity:

“In his maiden SOPA last year, he promised to make safety one of his main priorities in office. In less than a year he has already delivered 500 additional law enforcement officers to make this province safer… We expect that in this SOPA, he will reaffirm his commitment to safety and we expect he will focus on economic growth, jobs and energy resilience.”

Winde’s SOPA takes place on Thursday 20 February at the Rocklands Civic Centre in Mitchells Plain. This will be the first time the address and its subsequent debates and replies have been held outside the legislature building in Wale Street, Cape Town. DM


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