Opinionista Pat Lekker 21 July 2019

Alan Winde hell-bent on an autonomous Western Cape

The ANC in the Western Cape legislature knows what DA premier Alan Winde has in mind for the province after he delivered his first state of the province address on Thursday 18 July 2019. He wants to overthrow the national government’s influence in this last outpost of a colonial province.

So far, the only lasting impression the ANC has of the successor to Helen Zille is that Alan Winde is a very weak imitation of Zille and the weakest political leader the DA fielded in its core area the Western Cape — the only province where the DA is in control and where it wants to preserve as much as possible the past privilege of its support base.

The ANC has seen how Winde modelled himself as a separatist, yearning for the Western Cape to cut itself off from the rest of the country for a confederal or another secessionist reason. This coup has been thought through by Winde and his cabinet team, he makes us believe.

Winde wants to break up the SAPS and establish his own provincial police force within this “Republic of Good Hope” to also expand neighbourhood watches from rogue vigilante groups into statutory policing units. He wants to take over public land for development (which has a different meaning in DA circles to the general meaning for social housing/human settlements), but does not surrender all the land he clings to; take over and expand capital-intensive water and sanitation infrastructure of the national government for “agriculture” and wishes to take over public transport — especially rail — to give routes to pals in order to “introduce competition”.

From the rapid bus transport system, MyCiTi, residents of the Western Cape know how DA “competition” negatively impacted on that service and that it regularly has industrial action and other problems popping up — mainly due to political interference.

On many functions where Winde has influence or competency where improvement is needed, he was silent. Deafeningly silent!

The state of the province address is an ideal platform to forge national unity and social cohesion as is entailed in the Constitution that Winde and his ilk swore/affirmed allegiance to. But did he make a stand in a province viewed as the most racist of all? Did he set the tone for a better footing to co-operate with other citizens and visitors alike — especially after a term where severe racist incidents marred the image of this province? No!

All Winde can think of is to wave a self-rule flag in his breakaway province.

But why is Winde so caught up in meddling politically in the appointment of a new provincial commissioner and taking control of the police?

Could it be the fact that he may be the subject of various police investigations?

During his term as tourism MEC, there were accusations raised that various private tourism enterprises — specifically Knysna Tourism — were illegally funded by public money (the Hawks are investigating claims of organised political crime relating to many instances of corruption and maladministration under case number CPT 0C 19/7/2018, involving Winde and others).

Knysna, where Winde hails from, saw the tourism entity get R4-million a year of taxpayers’ money with only a service-level agreement with the municipality of Knysna. Knysna Tourism posed as a government body, while it is merely a private company fulfilling the duties on behalf of the municipality.

Concerns have been raised about Knysna Tourism which allegedly disbursed money without contracts or tenders with the majority of its suppliers, which is against the municipal finance law. Alarming allegations of double-dipping and sale of liquor on a school property have also been made.

The illegal licence at the school premises was issued by advocate Thys Giliomee, who as CEO of the provincial liquor authority was found to have had a R9-million splurge of irregular expenditure of public money from his office and was later appointed by Zille as acting manager of Bitou municipality, and was also appointed at Mossel Bay municipality knowing that a sword was hanging over his head.

Bitou is also an area where it is alleged that certain DA politicians indulged in seditious actions to destabilise that municipality when the ANC was in charge.

Winde still has another cloud over his head, since he refused to submit on time the annual report of the provincial department to the legislature, as is required by law, for two years in a row. Winde, also agriculture MEC at the time, was not happy with finding(s) of the Auditor General. The matter is now in court.

Fighting in court has become a trademark of Winde, who on Thursday, on several points, threatened to contest matters in the courts.

Winde’s cabinet (he replaced the female premier) is now one woman fewer in numbers. He now has only four women in cabinet… this matters to many of us.

What is also disconcerting is the fact that Winde indicated he started a tender process for a private (sweetheart) service provider to conduct the lifestyle audit of public representatives, as envisaged by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Winde’s federal approach to usurp and outsource the process, instead of waiting for the president to initiate this in October, may render it as looking like an exercise to manipulate the outcomes. Why he wants a private provider is unknown (will it report to him and not publicly?) while investigating authorities like those in Chapter 9 of the Constitution, which include the Public Protector, Public Service Commission, Auditor-General and even SARS, would satisfy all. DM

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In other news...

South Africa is in a very real battle. A political fight where terms such as truth and democracy can seem more of a suggestion as opposed to a necessity.

On one side of the battle are those openly willing to undermine the sovereignty of a democratic society, completely disregarding the weight and power of the oaths declared when they took office. If their mission was to decrease society’s trust in government - mission accomplished.

And on the other side are those who believe in the ethos of a country whose constitution was once declared the most progressive in the world. The hope that truth, justice and accountability in politics, business and society is not simply fairy tale dust sprinkled in great electoral speeches; but rather a cause that needs to be intentionally acted upon every day.

However, it would be an offensive oversight not to acknowledge that right there on the front lines, alongside whistleblowers and civil society, stand the journalists. Armed with only their determination to inform society and defend the truth, caught in the crossfire of shots fired from both sides.

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