A decade ago, the Western Cape was on the same road to ruin as the rest of South Africa’s provinces. Corruption ran rampant. The ANC’s premier, Ebrahim Rasool – the same man currently heading the party’s election campaign in the province – was handing brown envelopes stuffed with cash to journalists in return for favourable coverage.
Rasool was not alone: In 2009, not a single provincial government department obtained a clean audit from the Auditor-General, indicative of the kind of shambolic financial mismanagement that the ANC uses to grease the wheels of corruption wherever it governs. The province was also failing in its oversight role. In 2009, only one out of the province’s 30 municipalities obtained a clean audit.
As a result, the people of the Western Cape suffered under ANC misrule. Business confidence in the province tanked in the ANC’s final year of government. With the ANC at the helm, business confidence in the province was even lower than the national average. With the ANC’s corrupt hand around the province’s throat, there was a palpable sense of decline in the Western Cape. Confidence in the economy declined, roads fell into disrepair and basic service delivery deteriorated.
But this all changed in 2009 when the people of the Western Cape elected the DA to clean up and fix this beautiful province. In the same year that the rest of South Africa’s provinces opted for the ruinous rule of Jacob Zuma’s party, the Western Cape chose DA delivery. And we have never looked back.
Today, the Western Cape vastly outperforms any other province in the country. Compared to zero clean audits in 2009/2010, Western Cape government departments in 2018/19 obtained 83% clean audits, leaving other provinces in the dust. As DA governments took over ever more municipalities and in close cooperation with the provincial government, we also increased the number of municipalities with clean audits from one to 21 out of 30. For six years running, the presidency’s Performance Management Assessment Tool has ranked the Western Cape as the top province for good governance.
Using clean and effective government as a springboard, the DA has also supercharged an economy that suffered a crisis of confidence by the end of the ANC’s term in 2009. Our efforts to reduce red tape have generated over R1-billion in additional savings for businesses. With new enterprises flocking to the Western Cape, employment in the province grew by over 508,000 jobs, or 24.8% in the past decade – well ahead of second-placed Gauteng (18.6%) and KwaZulu-Natal (8.8%).
As a result, our provincial unemployment rate is now a full 14% lower than the national average on the expanded definition that includes discouraged work seekers. And it is not only urban areas that have benefited. In an illustration of the province’s inclusive approach to growth, the Western Cape’s rural unemployment rate of 15.7% is also the lowest in the country.
This growth is under-girded by the best education and healthcare systems in South Africa. We have increased the matric pass rate to 81.5% in 2018 from 75.7% in 2009, including vast improvements in the rates of maths and science passes. The highest retention rate in the country means that more learners also make it to matric in the Western Cape than anywhere else. With the recently established Schools Evaluation Authority, which will independently evaluate every school in the province, we aim to ensure that every single learner in the Western Cape receives the best quality education at all times.
Thanks to the improvements made in our public healthcare system, we now have the highest life expectancy in the country. Life expectancy increased to 72 years from 64 years for women and to 66 years from 59 years for men since 2009. Not only are Western Cape residents living longer, but they also have better access to quality care. Nine out of 10 people in the province live within 30 minutes of a health facility, while our unique HealthNet patient transport system transports 150,000 patients in rural areas to healthcare facilities every year.
Through our embrace of modern technology, the Western Cape is also the only province with a digital patient-record system, which ensures that caregivers tailor treatment to each patient’s unique needs. The system spans 54 hospitals, 300 primary healthcare facilities, and includes three-million patient records spanning 25 years.
With your vote, the DA will bring the same honest, professional and efficient government to our police, trains and electricity supply that we have implemented in all other areas under our control.
A vote for the DA is a vote for clean government and for service delivery. We will never stop fighting for residents to receive the services they deserve. Vote DA today to keep corruption out of the Western Cape, to keep the ANC and EFF out of the Western Cape and to keep making progress together. DM
Alan Winde is the DA’s candidate for Premier of the Western Cape.