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STATE OF THE PROVINCE ADDRESS

Alan Winde decries ‘catastrophic’ budget cuts and says health workers ‘real heroes’

Alan Winde decries ‘catastrophic’ budget cuts and says health workers ‘real heroes’
Western Cape Premier Cape Alan Winde delivers the State Of The Province Address at Huguenot Community Hall in Paarl on 19 February 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images / Ziyaad Douglas)

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde used his State of the Province Address to highlight some government successes and touch on the Provincial Powers Bill, while pointing towards the upcoming elections.

Elections, provincial powers and heckling featured during Western Cape Premier Alan Winde’s State of the Province Address (Sopa) on Monday at the Huguenot Community Hall in Paarl. 

Winde, who was composed during heckling by opposition members, pointed towards the upcoming elections. “This year,” he said, “we will return to the polls… Our citizens will exercise their sacrosanct and hard-fought right to vote.

“But as important as the right to vote is, it is as critical that we carefully consider the consequences of how we vote.”

He referred to the municipality in Knysna, his home town, which has been making headlines for its poor service delivery, governance problems and sustained problems with water supply. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: ActionSA calls for Knysna to be placed under administration over service delivery challenges

“Those citizens in Knysna need to consider the consequences of their vote,” Winde said.

This was Winde’s last Sopa before the elections. Winde is the Democratic Alliance (DA) candidate for premier and is widely expected to retain his premiership.

Middle East conflict 

During his speech, Winde addressed the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, saying, “Many Western Cape residents and citizens across the world are understandably and rightly deeply affected and concerned by the unfolding crisis in the Middle East. I too am horrified at the violence.”

Winde said his heart broke for children, hostages and innocent casualties of the war.

“Violence against children is completely unacceptable, in any context… Whether they are in the Middle East, Ukraine, or Cape Town, our children must be protected at all costs.”

He referred to a pro-Palestine protest outside the venue, saying the protesters had provided documents and information which his government would study, because “we listen”.

However, as Daily Maverick’s Rebecca Davis reported, the DA faces internal and external contestation because of its stance on the war.

Read more in Daily Maverick: How the Israel-Hamas war is stirring up Western Cape politics  

Winde spoke on the Western Cape Provincial Powers Bill, for which public hearings were recently held. If pushed through, the Bill would “actively seek the assignment or delegation of further powers to the Western Cape in all areas of provincial and local autonomy”.

The province intends to assert its existing provincial and local powers to seek the delegation or assignment of powers in areas such as policing, public transport, energy, trade and harbours.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ANC accused of disrupting public hearings on Western Cape Provincial Powers Bill

Winde was repeatedly heckled by opposition members when he spoke of powers he said needed to be delegated to the province, while DA members applauded him.

He described budget cuts to the healthcare system as “catastrophic”. He said he had read the open letter written by healthcare workers about the looming cuts. He said the healthcare workers were the “real heroes”.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Western Cape health professionals make united appeal for ‘catastrophic budget cuts’ to be halted 

Read Winde’s full State of the Province Address here.

On Tuesday morning, Winde’s speech will be debated at the same venue. Winde will deliver a response to the debate in the afternoon. DM

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