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Opinionista

Take note, Ebrahim Rasool, the Western Cape is the best-run province in the country

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Alan Winde is Western Cape Premier.

The DA is not satisfied with resting on the success of the past 10 years; we know that there is still so much work to do for the people of the Western Cape. We will fight to grow our economy, fight for the right to have provincial rail service and fight for a professional and honest provincial police service.

In his latest column, the only response Ebrahim Rasool can muster is to hurl bizarre and petty insults, because the ANC has no plan for the future of the Western Cape. No policy, no provincial manifesto, no premier candidate. The ANC in the Western Cape is in tatters and its entire campaign relies on Cyril Ramaphosa, demonstrating their complete lack of concern for the lives of the people of the Western Cape. One-trick pony indeed.

The ANC finds itself in an uncomfortable position: It simply cannot compete with the DA’s record of service delivery. No matter which way you slice it, the Western Cape is the best-run province in the country.

But we are not satisfied with resting on the success of the past 10 years; we know that there is still so much work to do for the people of the Western Cape. We have a clear plan of action — we will fight to grow our economy, fight for the right to have provincial rail service and fight for a professional and honest provincial police service.

While the national unemployment rate skyrocketed during the “nine wasted years” of Jacob Zuma’s presidency, the Western Cape created half a million jobs. We now have the lowest unemployment rate in the country, and importantly, the lowest youth and rural unemployment rates.

We will fight to keep growing our economy by making it easier for our people to build businesses and find jobs. We will reduce the barriers to access for small businesses, informal traders, small-scale farmers and land reform beneficiaries. We will expand our support for young people as job seekers and entrepreneurs, including introducing a young job-seekers transport voucher so they can travel to interviews and opportunities.

Eskom has all but collapsed and the ANC national government still won’t agree on a plan to deal with the crisis. They actively sabotage Western Cape residents and businesses with continued blackouts, while looting continues at the entity.

The DA will fight to procure our energy directly from the independent power producers the ANC demonises, so that our energy supply is stable to support a growing economy. The DA-run City of Cape Town has already gone to court to fight for this right, and we have legalised domestic solar power production in 22 municipalities.

Few things epitomise ANC failure quite like the state of our trains. Residents spend hours in unsafe queues, and lose jobs and education opportunities when so many trains are late or cancelled. Murders and assaults plague the railways, because the money supposed to cover security was instead funnelled to connected cadres.

As the DA, we will fight for the management of trains to be moved to the provincial level, so that the Western Cape can deliver a railway service that works and runs on time. We will make sure that this system is integrated with other forms of transport through single ticketing, and safe, following the success of the Rail Enforcement Unit (REU).

But we know that the ANC national government won’t give this up easily. Prasa is one of its favourite vehicles for looting, with billions disappearing into shady contracts with Gupta-linked companies. We know it will be a fight, but it is one we will take up gladly because the people of the Western Cape cannot continue to suffer the ANC’s abuse.

Not only are we unsafe on our trains, we are unsafe where we live. In the Western Cape, one police officer must keep 506 people safe — far more than the national average of 375. In Nyanga, the worst police station for murder in the country, the ratio is even worse: One police officer must keep 628 people safe.

The fact is that the ANC national government has deliberately under-resourced Western Cape SAPS. We fought for years to have specialist units to fight gang violence, and the ANC refused all the way up until just before elections.

We simply cannot rely on the ANC to deal with crime in our communities all the way from Pretoria. This is why the DA will fight to have a provincial police service to keep our people safe.

Sadly, the real challenges in this province are born of the ANC: The crime that plagues our cities due to the ANC deliberately withholding police resources, the collapsed railway system due to ANC State Capture and the struggling economy wrought by finance ministers’ musical chairs. This is what patronage politics looks like.

The ANC has no plan for the future of the Western Cape. It flails about for a response, settling on hysterical shrieks of “secession” — seemingly forgetting that major competencies are already successfully run by our province. The national Department of Basic Education admits that our province has the best education system in the country, which continues to improve, while we are building quality and caring health care service. We will continue to improve in these crucial areas, because we place the needs of the people of the Western Cape first — not ANC politicians.

The DA is the only party with a plan of action for the future, and a commitment to keep making progress like we have in the past 10 years. DM

Alan Winde is the DA’s premier candidate.

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