13 February 2009
This speech does not contain extravagant promises. Nor does it suggest miracle cures for the difficult challenges we continue to face.
What it does contain is a pragmatic assessment of five years of progress as a province and a people; a report-back on our commitment to good governance; and a vision of a society with the capacity to embrace its diversity, to harness its collective energy for common good.
This speech asks: What kind of world did you dream of when we celebrated the birth of our nation’s freedom 15 years ago? To what extent have we succeeded in creating the just and integrated society that Archbishop Desmond Tutu called the Rainbow Nation?
Honourable Speaker, it is entirely fitting for us to reflect on the progress we have made.
We are proud of the number of houses we have built; the new schools and clinics; the water, electricity and sewerage connections; the nutrition programmes and the welfare net we have knitted.
But our pride does not blind us to the reality of the lives of our people. Our pride cannot blind us to the sprawling shack lands, or the fact that many of our children require nutrition programmes to avoid malnourishment – that babies born in the City of Cape Town die of diarrhoea.
Yes, our unemployment figure is the lowest in the country. But that fact is cold comfort to those without jobs, those without skills, those without hope.
We pride ourselves on the scenic splendour of our region, our biodiversity and the tourist numbers we attract. Who would not be proud of our wine industry, our sports prowess, our economic development, and our educational institutions?
But our pride cannot mask the fact that there is much more to be done – that we cannot work in silos and that together we can do more.
This is not political rhetoric, but a practical necessity. The City of Cape Town is not an island; nor is the Western Cape. Take the taxi unrest that unfolded in Cape Town this week. We could have played politics and referred the problem to the City. But we realised that the Province, not the City, had the capacity to bring all the differences of opinion together. We took the lead in arranging mediation. We invited the City to join these talks, so that we could reach sustainable solutions, together.
Indeed, this co-operative approach to governance has been a key pillar of all Western Cape Provincial Government operations since I was sworn in as Premier more than six months ago.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me give you some background.
In September last year, my team of MECs and I met to plot a new way forward. We emerged from our meeting with renewed vigour – and a four-pronged plan.
We said it made sense to exchange views and share ideas with other levels of government (local and national), and with people and organisations outside government. Engaging in social dialogue was the first leg of our plan.
We said we must intensify the war on poverty, because the gap between rich and poor was unsustainably high – this was the second leg of the plan.
We said that our people were justifiably upset about the high levels of crime. Intensifying the war on crime became the third leg of the plan – and the results of our efforts to create a safer Summer Season are there for all to see.
Finally, we agreed on the need to hasten the process of broad-based black economic empowerment, to find ways to extend the benefits of economic opportunities to more of our people.
Many people will point out that the "devil is in the detail." And they would be quite right, of course. Others will yawn and say:
"They’ve promised all this before." We understand the scepticism.
But we’re quite prepared that we should be ju dged on what we we’ve achieved.
Honourable Speaker, this government has not paid lip service to good governance. More than anything, what the people expect of their elected leadership is honesty and integrity. We have not been afraid to remedy those problems that were negatively affecting our capacity to govern effectively.
One of the first steps we took was to stop the Somerset Hospital Development Precinct proposal – deciding instead to start a completely new and transparent tender process. We believe we made the right decision. The original process was mired in controversy. The value of the land to the citizens of the Western Cape was too high to allow the development to proceed on those terms.
We’ve also had to deal with another difficult issue – the Erasmus Commission that was initiated to investigate allegations of illegal political activities in the City of Cape Town. In October last year, I ordered an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the appointment of that commission, and its consequences. The investigation has been completed and I’ve been presented with a report. I am presently considering it.
Decisions on the findings in the report and government’s response to these will be made known in due course.
Speaker, this government believes the best people to articulate the aspirations of the youth are the youth themselves. But when issues relating to governance of the Western Cape Youth Commission came to light, we were duty bound to step in and investigate.
Also, towards the end of last year, after considering representations from a range of interested parties, I stopped a tender process that would have seen the Sea Point Pavilion being redeveloped.
And then there is Chapman’s Peak – the source of controversy among the people of the region since its development at the staggering cost of 40000 pounds about 90 years ago.
Over the past few weeks, much has been written and said about the general management of this spectacular mountain route, as well as the public-private partnership between the government and Entilini Concession (Pty) Ltd.
Yesterday, we announced the composition of a high-level team to investigate all matters (and I stress the word "all") pertaining to the long-term future of Chapman’s Peak Drive.
Some of these issues have caused us great pain. But I would like to assure the people of this province that this government will do the right thing.
If, at the conclusion of any of the investigations that are currently being carried out, we are required to take strong action we will not hesitate to do so.
Speaker, ladies and gentlemen – this administration is proud of what it has achieved in a very short time.
● I would like to begin with the new liquor legislation that was
signed into law in December last year. In our view, this piece of legislation, properly managed, will revolutionise our communities. We are convinced that the vast majority of our people agree with us – that laws relating to the sale of alcohol from illegal outlets are long overdue.
When police started cracking down on illegal outlets, we expected a cacophony of protests and threats from the owners of shebeens and taverns. We weren’t wrong. But we will not back down.
There is evidence that some of the worst crimes originate in the abuse of alcohol. Many women and children are the targets of savage attacks by drunken louts. Teenage binge drinkers undermine their school careers and life prospects. A disturbing number of parents spend far too great a portion of their weekly wages at shebeens, while their children go hungry. And the number of babies born with foetal alcohol syndrome is cause for grave concern.
We have faced the protesters, listened to their arguments, noted their issues – and shared their concerns relating to shebeen employees losing their jobs. The matter of alternative employment opportunities is presently being addressed.
● Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, the Western Cape’s 400,000 unit housing shortage is a cause for concern to us all.
But the massive backlog should not mask the fact that the Government of South Africa has built and given away more free houses than any other country on this earth, including China and India.
We are mindful that we will always have to find ways to work smarter, quicker and more economically – without forsaking quality. We are doing just that on the N2 Gateway.
The Western Cape was indeed fortunate to be able to host the N2 Gateway Pilot Project – a pioneering project to build integrated human settlements with improved housing options to the people. No longer does our housing policy say: One size fits all. We now build homes for different sized families, and families of different subsistence means.
In Delft, Auntie Katie Hoffman became the country’s first recipient of a new specification, two bed-roomed Breaking New Ground Home in June 2007.
In Delft, we are presently busy with the biggest single site housing development in South Africa – delivering homes, schools, food gardens, economic opportunities, access to public transport and jobs.
We have come up with an innovation known as the Vulnerability Index.
Our housing experts have drawn up a database of areas within informal settlements that are particularly prone to fires or floods – or, in many cases, both.
Our intentions initially have been to give priority to moving people living in these areas to new houses. We believe it is a great idea, but we are also very mindful of the need to refine it over the next few months.
People catch onto government’s intentions quite quickly – and we’ve come across instances where some families have deliberately built their houses on, say, a flood plain – in the hope of jumping the housing queue.
In addition to this, our Department of Local Government and Housing has formulated plans to build 20,000 houses on land that it currently owns.
Kuils River, Blue Downs, Eerste River, Kensington, Grassy Park and Woodstock – among other areas – have been earmarked for medium to high-density settlements, which will also include social and commercial facilities.
● Many people who lived through the 1970s and 1980s have painful
memories of riot police, with quirts, teargas and shotguns in hand, quelling anti-apartheid protests with brutality.
I’m pleased to report today that we’ve found a new role for many of the veterans of those turbulent times who are still employed by the SA Police Services.
They are currently being trained in the much more charming area of crowd control for the Cape Town arm of FIFA’s 2010 football World Cup extravaganza.
I mention this development because it is yet another reminder of how much we’ve changed as a province and as a country since the advent of democracy in 1994.
● Ladies and gentlemen, we’re moving ever closer to the start of the world’s greatest sporting extravaganza – the 2010 version of the FIFA World Cup.
Today, I would like to give the assurance that the Western Cape is on track. Infrastructure is being improved and roads are being built.
An intricate, beautifully designed roof of the stadium at Green Point is now being placed with absolute precision. Our stadium, which will host eight matches during the tournament, including a quarterfinal and a semi-final, will be completed by the end of October this year.
We’re busy upgrading the Philippi Stadium at a cost of R54-million as a "venue-specific" training site, in other words, as a practice venue for teams that will participate in the World Cup.
When it’s all over, we want the youth of the Cape Flats to enjoy the legacy of the World Cup, so we’re looking for partners to whom the stadium can be leased.
The Final Draw on 4 December this year at the Cape Town International Convention Centre is expected to attract a worldwide TV viewership of 700-million people.
Such global coverage, as well as small and m edium business opportunities, will prove a useful ally in our efforts to weather the financial turbulence in an uncertain world.
● Speaking of financial turbulence, I would now like to turn to our provincial economy – and the vexing question of whether we will be dragged into a deep recession by the economic meltdown in other parts of the world.
The consensus is that our economy won’t be bludgeoned to the same extent as economies in the USA, the UK, Japan, France, Germany and many other countries.
But we will not escape unscathed. The Western Cape will shed jobs – and its economic growth will drastically be curtailed.
We would like to assure the people of the province that this government would not sit on its hands – and watch as events unfold. Together with the Congress of SA Trade Unions, we have already formulated a plan that we will implement should our economy drift into recession.
We intend to save as many jobs as we can.
Ladies and gentlemen, I believe there is a lot about which we – and the people of this province – should feel good.
Speaker, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, on your arrival here this morning you would have been struck by the prominence of a single word that greeted you: Activist.
I hope you took up the offer of wearing one of the t-shirts on which the word appears. But beware; it comes with some responsibility. My call is for a new spirit of activism to permeate our society – an activism that says: I will work with government and the people to create a better world.
If we agree there remains much to be done, the obvious question is how do we do it? I think one of the mistakes we have made – as government, over the years – is to keep calling on the people to work with us, without necessarily creating easy and accessible platforms.
Yes, important Public Private Partnerships have been forged. Companies have developed social responsibility programmes. And we have a vibrant non-profit organisation sector in our province. But I suspect there are a whole lot of civic-minded individuals out there who would work with us if we made it simple for them to do so.
The reason that the people in mid-western towns of America come together to construct barns when they are needed is because the people are organised and accustomed to working together. I have no doubt that our people would help us build barns in the Western Cape, if we asked them to and were organised.
It is to this community spirit that I appeal today in my call for a Western Cape of activists. Let us identify worthy projects in our communities, across government departments, and fast track their implementation with the people.
The Housing Department has already experimented with so-called community builds; our national Minister of Housing is on record saying where communities are willing to help build their own homes government will organise expertise and materials to enable it.
The Public Works Department maintains our schools and clinics. Where communities are willing to assist in the upkeep of their facilities, this assistance should be harnessed and enabled. The same applies to landscaping, to planting of trees and grass and food gardens. There is so much we could do if we worked together.
Let us start today!
Instead of inviting you all to a gala dinner tonight, and instead of spending money on pageantry for this Opening of the Provincial Legislature, I am going to invite you to work with us on an activist project.
Provincial Departments have been challenged to come up with meaningful projects that are already in the pipeline, that we can fast track them together.
Certainly, as I stand here before you, I can see (in my mind’s eye) the faces of dozens of potential activists.
For instance, I know that there are thousands of boys and girls throughout the Western Cape, who would be thrilled beyond words, were they to be given a motivational talk – and perhaps even a few minutes of impromptu coa ching – by some of the Stormers rugby players.
As patron of the Western Province Rugby Union, I want to direct a sincere appeal to our stars: "Get involved, more often. Become activists."
Frankly, I would rather have Luke Watson acting as a real, live, "standing-right-next-to-you" role model for a promising young flanker from Manenberg or Gugulethu than vomiting on his Springbok jersey.
I know that players such as Jean de Villiers, Gcobani Bobo, Schalk Burger and Conrad Jantjies have the profiles to do the world of good in our townships.
Far too many boys and girls from poor communities turn to drugs and gangsterism as vehicles to escape horrendous home life. Others have had their lives turned around – and here former Springbok wing Ashwin Willemse comes to mind.
This is what I would like to see happen in our communities – someone who got the breaks and is sitting somewhere near the top offering a helping hand - or even a kick up the backside- to a fellow citizen in need of rescuing.
JP Duminy and Graeme Smith: You have made us so proud. Andre Petim, Brett Evans: Walk with us.
Ladies and gentlemen, there are also other types of activism initiated by government – that have worked very well.
I’m speaking about the Service Delivery Jamborees that we started rolling out about two years ago.
These are a one-stop-shop type of operation, where citizens access a range of services made available by government close to where they live.
Citizens gather in a central space, where they are able to have blood pressure and cholesterol checks, apply for identity documents or passports, access information on bursaries or starting a business, certify documents and apply for grants and pensions.
At last count, 16 Western Cape couples have used the services of Home Affairs at these jamborees to get married.
The jamboree project is aimed at expanding access to services and is underpinned by the principles of Batho Pele: We care. We serve. We belong.
Over the past two years, 98,231 citizens have accessed services at 31 service delivery jamborees. Nineteen more will be held at various locations over the next few weeks.
Still on the subject of activism, the Cape Access Project brings together a dedicated team of public servants with e-Community Forums, comprising community members.
The project consists of 13 Information Communication Technology (ICT) centres in places such as Elim, George, Oudtshoorn, Vanrhynsdorp and Genadendal.
These centres provide residents access to government information and are places where people get to know more about government tenders and bursary and training opportunities, among other things.
Protecting our legacy of 1994
As we close in on the 15th anniversary of democracy, it is opportune to recall the words of Nelson Mandela in his first State of the Nation address.
He said: "Our single most important challenge was to help establish a social order in which the freedom of the individual will truly mean the freedom of the individual.
"Our definition of the freedom of the individual must be instructed by the fundamental objective to restore the human dignity of … every South African.
"This requires that we speak not only of political freedoms.
"My government’s commitment to create a people-centred society of liberty binds us to the pursuit of the goals of freedom from want, freedom from hunger, freedom from deprivation, freedom from ignorance, freedom from suppression and freedom from fear."
Honourable Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, we still have work to do.
Yes, we are widely regarded as one of the world’s top tourism destinations.
Yes, over the past five years, our provincial economy has consistently outperformed the national average.
Yes, our Grade 12 learners achieved a pass rate of 78.6 percent in 2008 – the highest in the country – and all our schools offering Grades 10 to 12 have computer laboratories.
Yes, we have the lowest unemployment rate in the country – 19.7 percent (as of September 2008), compared with the national average of
Yes, under the capable leadership of former Premier Ebrahim Rasool, we pioneered the rollout of anti-retroviral treatment and the introduction of the highly active ARVs from 2004. Consequently, in 2007/08, an estimated 62 percent of those who required ARVs were already receiving the treatment.
These are admirable achievements, but still some way off from where we really want to be. What these figures tell us is that we have laid a strong foundation on which to continue building.
We cannot – and will not – allow the rewards of democracy to pass our people by. It is imperative that we continue working to create hope and opportunities for those who currently have little or none.
Our message to those who have been pushed to the fringes of our society are: "For the sake of your children – and their children – do not give up now."
Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, this government is a strong supporter of partnerships – between different levels of government … between government and business … between government and communities … and between government and individuals.
Many of my colleagues have (like me) lived in townships. We know what it’s like to be on a housing waiting list. We know what it’s like to live in overcrowded conditions. We’ve witnessed the effects of poverty and unemployment on family life. And we know what it’s like to agonize over the future of sons or daughters in areas ravaged by the activities of gangsters and the ready availability of drugs such as tik, heroin and cocaine.
We can identify with young families who, day after day, cling to the hope that, perhaps, tomorrow they will be able to move from their backyard structure or their shack in an informal settlement to a house they can call their own.
The possibility of owning a home, having a job or simply living a "normal" life sits at the heart of the existence of tens of thousands of residents of the Western Cape.
It is our job to bring these possibilities that they yearn for closer to reality.
And we will. And we are!
One of the vehicles that we’ve devised and implemented to foster growth is the Social Transformation Programme (STP), an intervention rooted in our Provincial Growth and Development Strategy.
Key to the success of the programme is the concept of a "partnership" between government and representatives of the vulnerable communities.
The STP seeks to address poverty, social ills and the marginalisation of 27 of our most vulnerable communities by helping them to organise themselves.
We believe that communities themselves must play a leading role in determining the type of service delivery they get – and how this is implemented.
Reports from our monitoring and evaluation experts indicate that interaction between government and poor communities is already beginning to pay dividends.
Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to stress here today that the ideal of this government is to go beyond the act of just supplying a family with a house or a grant.
We want to change the mindset of communities under threat.
We know that this may be asking a lot, but we want parents and their children to help break the spiral of poverty that has crushed the spirits of so many families.
What we can least afford as a province is to see, over a period of many years, generations of the same family – mother, father, son or daughter, grandson or granddaughter – joining a housing waiting list.
We want to say to heads of households in our poorest communities (and we know that the majority of these are single-parent mothers): Make sure that your children go to school. Encourage them to study hard. Encourage them to dream big. And then help them to turn these dreams into reality – even if the only help that you can provide is a reassuring hug or the offer of a shoulder on which to cry.
Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, like all developing countries, South Africa – including the region of the Western Cape province – has an abundance of unskilled workers, and an acute shortage of skilled workers.
In order to grow, in order to create jobs, in order to provide decent housing, the Western Cape needs engineers, doctors, teachers, quantity surveyors and artisans, among others.
In other words, it needs skilled people to help build a province of which we can all be proud.
We want to say to the children of Delft, Khayelitsha, Lavender Hill, Gugulethu and Philippi … to the children of Imizamo Yethu, Tafelsig, Bonteheuwel, Bridgetown and Masiphumelele … to the children of Zoar, Ladismith, Vanwyksdorp, Calitzdorp and Riversdale … to the children of Pacaltsdorp, Mossel Bay, George, Knysna and Oudtshoorn … to the children of Vredenburg, Vredendal, Hopefield, Malmesbury, Saldanha Bay and Riebeek-Kasteel … to the children of every town and village of our province.
We know your circumstances are difficult. We know that obstacles always appear to block your way.
But we believe that perseverance is always rewarded.
Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, many years ago, the German pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, wrote: "The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children." I agree.
For our Children
The question I would like to pose is: "Are we doing enough for our children?"
Not enough, I would suggest.
In December, we hosted a Christmas Party at Leeuwenhof for the old and the young of our province.
There, the tragedy of the AIDS pandemic was (again) driven home in a manner that beggared belief. A community activist from Langa spoke about the growing number of children running households in the township – because both parents had died of AIDS.
What she had to say was heart wrenching.
It’s not right that children who are barely in their teens should have to take the responsibility of being mother and father to younger siblings.
Even in an imperfect world, children should be allowed to be children.
They should have the freedom to enjoy the things that children have always enjoyed – such as the freedom to laugh and to play, and to be hugged and to hug.
In many instances, grandmothers have put up their hands and agreed to become mothers again – to their AIDS-orphaned grandchildren.
And I salute them for this.
But more needs to be done – and that is why I’m agitating so strongly for a spirit of activism to take root in the Western Cape. And that is why I will always listen closely and sympathetically to calls for the formation of partnerships between government and civil society.
Intensifying the fight against poverty
Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to highlight some of the initiatives undertaken over the past five years – beginning with the fight against poverty.
This government has always believed that a good education is the key to breaking the shackles of poverty in countless downtrodden communities throughout the Western Cape.
There’s unanimity among us that it would be unforgivable for any government authority to allow even one child to drop out of school "because there was no money for fees".
In 2004, this province didn’t have a single "no-fee" school. In 2007/08, we had 653 schools (out of 1,452), with 346,139 learners benefiting from this new dispensation. In 2009, the figure had risen to 655 (also out of 1,452), with 344,481 beneficiaries. The Department’s projection for 2009/10 is 651 (out of 1,448) "no fee" schools, with 347,582 beneficiaries goes beyond the national target.
In 2004, the Department of Education’s School Nutrition Programme had fed 152,839 learners; by 2007, this figure had risen to 204,000 learners and last year, the programme had fed 293,534 learners.
In 2004, the Department of Education’s School Nutrition Programme fed 152,839 learners; by 2007, this figure had risen to 204,000 learners and last year, the progra mme had fed 293,534 learners.
In an excellent example of social dialogue (between our education, health and agriculture departments), a project to establish food gardens at schools throughout the province was launched – and quickly gathered momentum. By 2009, the total number of school food gardens had reached 278.
Between 2004 to January 2009, we built 50 schools, many of them in poor areas.
Ladies and gentlemen, during the apartheid era, black people were forced to live in townships without even the most basic of facilities.
The Western Cape Government has long expressed the view that facilities should be built in close proximity to the people. But it has only been in recent times that we’ve been able to give expression to this intention.
Two hospitals totalling close to R1-billion – in Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain – were recently given the go-ahead. Construction of the Khayelitsha Hospital has already started; tenders were recently evaluated for the building of the Mitchell’s Plain Hospital. Both hospitals are scheduled for completion in 2012.
I also have exciting news about Early Childhood Development (ECD). In 2004, there were 568 ECD sites; in 2008/09, this figure rose to 1,624.
The outbreak of xenophobia-related violence last year had displaced 19,500 people. The Department of Social Development provided humanitarian aid or emergency relief for the victims, at a cost of R21-million.
Between 2004/05 and 2008/09, the Department of Transport and Public Works had invested R3.4-billion on 34,233km of roads – for upgrading, rehabilitation, resealing, regravelling, and routine maintenance of roads.
The Department’s Expanded Public Works programme created 172,000 work opportunities by the end of December 2008.
The Department also runs a very successful bursary programme known as the Masakh’ iSizwe Centre of Excellence. In 2009, the Department increased this bursary awards programme for individuals studying scarce skills to 300. This is a bursary collaboration venture with the private sector and the higher education sector.
Since 1994, the Farmworkers Development Programme of the Department of Agriculture funded 68 projects at a cost of R12.3-million. More than 150,000 farm workers benefited from these projects.
In addition to this, over the past 12 months or so, the Department implemented 100 food security projects – and also developed a plan to upgrade and maintain existing food gardens.
The Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning is working with Cape Nature to implement a Poverty Alleviation programme that currently operates on three pillars – Working for Water, Working for Fire and Alien Vegetation eradication.
In 2008/09, the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning installed 270 solar water geysers in Elsies River (100), Atlantis (160), and Nyanga (10). The Department also launched a Climate Change Strategy for the Western Cape.
In 2004/05, the Department of Local Government and Housing spent just over R590-million on housing; in 2008, this figure had shot up to R1.3-billion. Over the past five years, the Department built 72,729 houses at a cost of just over R3.95-billion. Over the same period, we serviced 84,526 sites.
Intensifying the fight against crime
Speaker, this government is determined to stamp out criminal activity in the Western Cape. Here are some of the anti-crime initiatives that have been launched by the Departments of Community Safety, Education, and the SA Police Services.
In a bid to stamp our vandalism, we installed CCTV in 60 high- risk schools.
In 2008, a campaign initiated by the Department of Education saw burglary and vandalism reduced by half during the end of the year holidays.
Between 2004 and 2008, incidents of contact crime decreased by 39,976 cases – from 131,217 in 2003/04 to 91,241 in 2007/08.
In 2004/05, there were 107 community policing forums and 16 sub-forums; in 2008/09, there were 192 community policing forum s and 45 sub-forums.
Before 2003, there were two Child Protection Units – in Goodwood and Mitchell’s Plain. Currently, there are 13 Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units serving all communities in the province.
The number of SAPS employees has increased by almost a thousand – from 19,434 to 20,244. Police Service points (police stations, satellite stations and contact points) had increased from 171 in 2004 to 181 in January 2009.
The police’s vehicle fleet had increased from 4,368 in 2004 to 5,839 in December 2008.
I would now like to touch on the issue of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment.
Speeding up Broad-based black economic empowerment The Western Cape Government, through the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, is establishing mutually beneficial relationships between Departments and medium-sized and large firms. The purpose of these relationships is to generate crossover opportunities for small suppliers, and skills development opportunities for workers.
This methodology will assist medium and large businesses meet their BBBEE scorecard requirements.
Between 2004 and 2008, the Department of Agriculture instituted a comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme. The programme consisted of 450 projects, had 20,701 beneficiaries and cost R120-million.
The Department supported 93,461 emerging farmers; of these, 11,815 were women, 37,408 were youth and 266 were people with disabilities. Many of these people were involved in the export market.
When the Department of Economic Development and Tourism started a new project in 2003, it was known as the Red Initiative, with "RED" being an acronym for "Real Enterprise Development". It has now become the RED Door programme.
Presently, we have 12 RED Door offices and 6 mobile RED Door vehicles spread across the province offering small businesses and cooperatives loans, skills training, business advice and financial help for them to obtain specialised advice.
We have spent R78-million on the RED Door and the mobile RED Door operation, with a focus on survivalist, micro and small businesses employing between one and 15 people.
In addition we have provided R23-million of direct financial support and R38-million of non-financial support to small business and cooperatives since 2004, bringing the total package of direct support to small businesses to close to R140-million.
At present, even after five years of existence, demand is so great that more than 1,100 citizens are coming through a RED Door every month.
Ladies and gentlemen, the biggest single achievement in the tourism industry has been the establishment of a single destination marketing organization that we market to the world as "Cape Town & The Western Cape".
Cape Town Routes Unlimited [CTRU] is the vehicle through which the Joint Marketing Initiative concept was realised. This was supported by all municipalities, all political parties, and many business and marketing organizations in 2003.
As you are aware, the concept of a single destination-marketing organisation has now come under threat. In mid-2008, the City of Cape Town took away half of the funding of CTRU.
This would have meant CRTU having to severely cut back its marketing activities in the year before the FIFA World Cup tickets were due to go on sale. We cut other programmes to make available an additional grant of R3.5-million in November to help it finance additional 2010 marketing programmes.
Since 2004, when CTRU opened its doors, the Western Cape Government has invested more than R90-million in the vehicle. It has a long list of achievements, the most notable of which is the fact that its conventions bureau submitted 83 detailed bids to host conferences in the Western Cape.
Collectively, the 41 successful bids had a combined impact of about R950-million on the Western Cape economy.
CTRU represented the Western Cape at 48 international shows, where it engaged directly with about 8,500 tour operators and supported 367 provincial events. It also tried (and by and large succeeding) to make the destination attractive to visitors and to support local economic development.
I have some good news – and puzzling news – about our trade and investment vehicle, Wesgro. Since 2004, it has facilitated and recruited R9.3-billion worth of investments into the Western Cape, exceeding the target it was set by more than R4.8-billion.
The newly established firms created more than 22,000 jobs in our economy. More than 85 percent of the business is within the jurisdiction of the City of Cape Town, making the City Council’s 2008 decision to cease funding Wesgro baffling, to say the least.
Nevertheless, in November, the Provincial Government put together an R5-million rescue package to keep the wheels of the organization turning.
I have been told that the latest investment facilitated by Wesgro in the last quarter of 2008 is worth an astounding R3-billion. The investor has asked us to keep details under wraps for another few weeks.
It was a relief that sanity prevailed this week; the City announced that it would continue to fund Wesgro.
Speaker, local economic development is hard and slow work. To create economic opportunity in rural and peri-urban areas, we have put in place an initiative called Die Plek Plan. Plek is a contraction of the words "Plaaslike" and "Ekonomiese."
Die Plek Plan works with B and C municipalities and communities to identify projects that can create economic opportunity.
These are then put through a rigorous evaluation process. And if they are found to be viable, we fund their development through the Rural Economic Assistance Fund [REAF] that has been capitalised to the tune of R20-million.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to tell you about our Micro-economic Development Strategy, - or MEDS as it is known in the Department of Economic Development and Tourism.
It is one of the crowning achievements of this government. It has given Government and the taxpayer the comfort of knowing that our interventions in the economy are always informed by quality and comprehensive evidence and analysis.
Based on this research and analysis, we have identified the oil and gas industry services and support, tourism, ICT, BPO and call centres, HRD and small business development as our highest priority sectors for development.
Increasing Social Dialogue
The Department of Local Government and Housing describes its Built Environment Support Programme as "perhaps the most critical lever for restructuring our urban areas".
Key to its Isidima Strategy is community participation in the development of human settlements.
Through this programme, the Department is providing intensive support to six leader municipalities – Knysna, George, Overstrand, Drakenstein, Stellenbosch and Saldanha Bay – to help them put credible plans in place for human settlements, sustainable economic development and housing delivery.
The six were chosen on grounds of economic potential and growth, and the extent of poverty in each of the respective areas. The programme came into existence via a partnership with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning.
The Provincial Developmental Council is a forum in which government enters into dialogue with our social partners on issues of strategic importance for the province. Business, civil society and labour are represented on the Council.
The province also holds imbizos to interact with communities and listen to their problems and try to resolve them together.
Cabinet also interacts with business, labour and the higher education sector to discuss the development of the province.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport established a Western Cape Sports Forum consisting of 99 sports federations. It invested R61.884-million in a schools’ mass participation programme.
It also backed the "Stars in their Eyes" programme in which 80 football coaches w ere trained, and a "Legends in Sport" programme.
The Department has supported 654 cultural organizations during the past five years, from the established classical arts and cultural organizations, such as the Cape Town Opera, the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra, Jazzart Dance Company and Cape Town Ballet to new organizations, in both the Cape Metro and other districts.
The Department has also made a major contribution towards cultural tourism and arts and culture festivals by contributing towards events such as Cape Town Jazz Festival, the KKNK, the Suidoosterfees, the Hermanus Whale Festival and the UDF celebrations in 2008, among others.
To provide communities in deep rural communities and farm communities that are currently deprived of an established library service, the Department developed a model by which two movable book trolleys (wheelie
wagons) are provided to these communities. At present, 34 communities make use of this facility.
Finally, Honourable Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, and perhaps most importantly, we acknowledged that the tit-for-tatting that characterised the relationship between the Provincial Government and the City of Cape Town for more than two years served no useful purpose. It diverted our attention from other, really important matters.
We committed ourselves to cooperation with municipalities, particularly those run by other political parties … to serious dialogue with the various communities of this province … and to an urgent resolution of those issues that were festering away and (let’s be honest about this) bedevilling the workings of our administration.
Rather than squabble, we said to politicians, councillors, communities and ordinary men- and women-in-the-street: "If we can work together, brick-by-brick and step-by-step, we will build a Western Cape that offers comfort, security and opportunities to all who live here."
The way forward
Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, this administration is about to complete its current term of office on the eve of an interesting period in the history of the Western Cape.
The countdown to what we all are referring to simply as "2010" is being chalked off at unbelievable speed. And all the time, predictions of a World Cup bonanza for South Africa’s top tourist destination abound.
Key to the Western Cape’s future prospects, though, is the period that will become known as "post-2010" – five … 10 years after the World Cup. It is then that the new face of the province will be defined – and, make no mistake, it will be a new face.
Many developments that will run its course during this period will be the progression of a process that started a long time ago.
Old challenges are likely to grow bigger post-2010, with just one example being an increased demand for decent housing, the consequence of a maturing population and a continuing influx of mainly poor people from other parts of the country.
Those who ignore the aspirations of the poor do so at their peril.
Matters such as climate change (and accompanying concerns relating to food security and possible job losses) will tax the resolve of the decision-makers.
The Western Cape remains a water-scarce province despite the good winter rains that the province has had for the last few years.
Municipalities in the Eden District in the South Cape were in the past few weeks considering proclaiming a drought disaster.
The more than 100 veld fires in and around Cape Town last week put enormous pressure on the city’s water resources, highlighting the need for great care in how we use water as a province.
And there will be mounting pressure to close the gap between the very poor and the very rich – or even between the very poor and the moderately well off.
This government believes that the programme of integrated human settlements should be stepped up and, indeed, expanded. Outstanding land restitution matters must be finalized as a matter of urgency.
Poor families must be given opportunities to live closer to essential facilities. Our cities and towns must be integrated – not only racially, but socially and functionally – people must be able to live close to public transport and places of economic opportunity and recreation; schools, clinics, libraries and playing fields must be within easy reach.
By its actions, government must convince the poor that they are part of South Africa. At the same time, it must be made clear that the Western Cape is not a last chance saloon for South Africans who have fundamental political difficulties about living in other parts of the country.
It would probably be an understatement to say that we live in interesting times.
But we wouldn’t want to have it any other way.
Speaker, I’ve come to the part where I have to say thank you – and I have a long list of people to acknowledge.
Firstly, I want to thank my family, who are always there for me and believe me, it is not always easy being the family of the Premier.
I want to give special thanks to my dad, who some of you may know is ill and therefore not present today.
I also want to thank:
● The ANC for giving me the opportunity to lead this magnificent province;
● My Cabinet colleagues;
● The DG and my entire team in the Department of the Premier;
● The staff in my office;
● All Heads of Departments and the entire staff of the Provincial Government;
● The People of the Western Cape for helping us to help them;
● The Speaker and his team for their hard work, and
● The little people in my life who make it all worthwhile – Chandre, Keshia, Lyle, Mathew, Laylah, Taariq and Caitlyn;
I would like to end this address with a quote from our first President, Nelson Mandela.
"We are at the beginning of an arduous and protracted struggle for a better quality of life. In the course of this struggle, we shall have immediate successes; we shall have setbacks; but we shall certainly progress inch by inch towards our goal."
Our goal is to create a Western Cape united in a noble quest to provide a better life for all its citizens.