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STATE OF THE PROVINCE ADDRESS

Alan Winde highlights three key themes – energy, mobility, and policing – in between the heckling

Alan Winde highlights three key themes – energy, mobility, and policing – in between the heckling
Western Cape premier Alan Winde delivers his State of the Province Address on Thursday. (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach)

‘This is the Western Cape, not a circus’ – interjected Freedom Front Plus member Peter Marais amid heckling as Western Cape premier Alan Winde delivered his State of the Province address on Thursday.

Heckling – and heated responses to it – marked Alan Winde’s State of the Province Address (Sopa) in the provincial legislature’s chambers, where he said he had instructed the provincial treasury to allocate R1-billion over the next three years to respond to the energy crisis. 

The heckling came from both the DA and ANC caucuses. 

At the start of the sitting, Cameron Dugmore, leader of the official opposition ANC, asked members of the legislature not to repeat the scenes from last week’s State of the Nation Address, where the EFF disrupted proceedings and were removed.

Read in Daily Maverick: “The first 45 minutes — High drama as EFF members booted out after trying to storm the City Hall stage

But it appeared Dugmore’s plea had fallen of deaf ears as both sides raised points of order and comments, which prompted Freedom Front Plus member Peter Marais to interject. “I want to appeal for sanity,” he said, urging that there should not be a repeat of what happened at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address. 

Leader of the official opposition ANC Cameron Dugmore at the State of the Province Address. (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach)

“This is the Western Cape, not a circus,” exclaimed Marais, who threatened that if he could not hear the Sopa, he would not take part in the Sopa debate, which will take place on Friday. 

After things calmed down, Winde talked extensively about his plans for the province. 

Energy crisis

The premier announced he had requested the provincial treasury to allocate R1-billion to respond to the energy crisis in the upcoming three-year budget cycle. This would be to respond to the short-term impact of rolling blackouts on government services, and secure diesel to keep essential public services running during load shedding. The allocation would also help to buffer schools from power cuts as “our children’s education must come first”. 

Winde also announced the start of his weekly digital briefings – which took place at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic – where energy will be the main focus. “We will tackle the energy crisis like we tackled the Covid crisis,” he said. 

He also referred to an injection of R89-million to help local municipalities procure generators to help tackle water and sewage supply problems as a result of higher stages of power cuts. 

Read in Daily Maverick: “Western Cape pumps R89m into generators as backup for municipal water supplies

SAPS

Winde said that “given the severe underresourcing of the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the province, the Western Cape government has stepped in”.

He praised the Law Enforcement Advancement Plan officers, who work alongside the SAPS, pointing to Western Cape police commissioner Lieutenant-General Thembisile Patekile, who was listening in. 

At this point the heckling resumed, with Dugmore saying: “You welcome him, but you attack the police.”

Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis at the State of the Province Address. (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach)

Premier Alan Winde is ready to deliver his Sopa in the Western Cape legislature. (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach )

Winde retorted: “It is not General Patekile… It is the minister and management that gets it wrong.” 

Winde touched on the case before Judge Daniel Thulare, which outlined the links between police and gangs. 

Read in Daily Maverick: “Cops and Mobsters — the many murky claims of Western Cape police officers cosying up to gangsters

Winde said the police ombud’s report on the matter had been finalised, and announced that a panel of “eminent persons” would make specific recommendations for how the province should respond to “this cancer which has infected so much of our policing”. 

The province would also fund lifestyle audits of the top brass involved in fighting crime in the Western Cape. 

Premier Alan Winde arrives for his State of the Province Address. (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach)

Mobility

Winde said a new mobility MEC would be announced early next week. The department, which Winde announced at his 2022 Sopa, does not have a political head after the departure of Daylin Mitchell in December to become the legislature speaker. The department would find ways to improve and enhance mobility, to connect communities to employment and opportunities, added Winde. 

“People need to get to and from work, school and amenities safely and reliably,” he said. “With public transport, specifically the passenger rail network, in ruins, the Mobility Department has an immense challenge ahead of it to find solutions to getting public transport back on track.” 

This year would also see the launch of phase 4 of the Go George project in the Southern Cape. 

“We must and will strive to do better as a government, to bring more economic opportunities to our residents and make our province a place of prosperity,” the premier concluded. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Auke Van Der Meulen Van Der Meulen says:

    The Western Cape is such a thorn for the ANC. It highlights all their inadequacies and clueless leadership.
    Disrupting progress is all they do well.

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