Monday, February 28, 2011

Freedom Front Plus says Shabir Shaik’s medical parole is a double standard

By Lelethu Mquqo
28 February 2011

The Freedom Front Plus has asked that an investigation into Shabir Shaik's parole be conducted following delays in Clive Derby-Lewis's parole application.

Derby-Lewis is receiving chemotherapy for severe prostate cancer and apparently does not qualify to be on medical parole.

He is currently serving a life sentence in prison for his involvement in the assassination of South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani in 1993.

The FF Plus’ Pieter Mulder says that it seems Shaik seems to be fully recovered to an extent that he can even play golf.

Johannesburg Metrobus goes back to the negotiating table with drivers

By Khanyisa Tabata
28 February 2011

Johannesburg Metrobus says it will resume negotiations to end a three-week drivers’ strike. This after the drivers received no salary for February under the “no work, no pay” scenario.

Metrobus spokesperson Esther Dreyer says the 70 drivers have indicated that they want to speak to management.

Drivers have been angry since a new shift system was implemented at the company in December last year. Metrobus suspended all bus services two-weeks ago due to intimidation of non-striking workers.

On Tuesday last week, Metrobus appealed the ruling. Dreyer said the appeal was unsuccessful.

She said an update on the talks would be available this afternoon or Tuesday morning.

More pressure on Muammar Gaddafi to step down

Lusanda Bill
28 February 2011

Muammar Gaddafi has been asked to step down today by Libya’s ambassador to South Africa Dr Abdallah Alzubedi.

Addressing a media conference in Pretoria this morning Alzubedi said Gaddafi should do the right thing for the people of Libya and should take the decision to step down.

Meanwhile one hundred thousand people have fled Libya as Muammar Gaddafi holds on to power.

Members of the UN Security Council have meanwhile unanimously voted in favour of an arms ban on the country and sanctions against Gaddafi and his inner circle.

South Africa is supporting the sanctions made by the UN against Libya.

Police have no leads in the murder of Kraaifontein father

Lusanda Bill
28 February 2011

Western Cape police are asking the public to provide any information on the murder of a Kraaifontein father over the weekend.

Phillip van Zyl, 42, was found dead on a couch on Saturday. His hands were tied and he had a stab wound in the chest.

His children aged 8 and 11-years-old are being looked after by relatives.

Police spokesman Warrant Officer Gerhard Niemand said that police did not have any leads.

Zuma appeals to poor voters in Rustenberg

Lusanda Bill
28 February 2011

President Jacob Zuma has appealed to the country's poor to vote for the ruling party.

Zuma was speaking at the launch of the ANC’s local government election manifesto at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg yesterday.

Despite the ANC slow pace of delivery of improved services, Zuma says people should vote for the ANC.

The President said he would fight corruption in government ranks and would ensure they are accountable and able.

ANC says DA criminalise poverty

By Lelethu Mquqo
28 February 2011

The African National Congress in the Western Cape says it condemns the irregular arrests on about 40 vulnerable jobless people who were fined R100 each under the City of Cape Town’s Nuisance By-law.

In terms of this By-law a dog may not bark for more than six minutes per hour and also nobody may spit in public.

The ANC says the operation to act against people who allegedly “distract traffic” is merely a smoke screen to target and clean up certain areas of “unwanted” people.

The areas of operations were allegedly identified by Democratic Alliance City of Cape Town councillors as so-called hot spots.

At least 38 people were arrested and fined.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Man dies and son left injured

By Lelethu Mquqo
27 February 2011

A man died and his son has been seriously injured after their bakkie crashed down an embankment in Roodepoort, Gauteng.

Netcare 911's Jeffrey Wicks says it appears that the bakkie was towing a trailer with livestock on it when the driver lost control of the vehicle.

The bakkie rolled several times before it came to rest at the foot of the gully.

When paramedics arrived at the scene, the man had already died.

His 15-year-old son was stabilised and is receiving treatment in hospital.

DA calls for inquiry into Shaik assault incident

By Lelethu Mquqo
27 February 2011

The Democratic Alliance has called for a full inquiry into Shabir Shaik's alleged assault on journalists at a golf course in Durban.

It is reported that Shaik grabbed Sunday Tribune journalist Khoza by the throat and slapped her.

He allegedly shouted at her, saying: "Who sent you?" and "How do I know you are not a terrorist?"

Khoza's photographer was reportedly also assaulted and his camera was taken from him.

The DA's James Selfe says correctional officers need to investigate the incident and if it is found to be true, Shaik's parole could be revoked.

Gaddafi's son says protesters are being manipulated

By Lelethu Mquqo
27 February 2011

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's son says anti-regime protesters are being manipulated and protests have opened doors to a civil war in the country.

In a television interview yesterday, Seif al-Islam Kadhafi said three-quarters of the country is living in peace, although the uprising which started almost two weeks ago has resulted in chaos in the city of Benghazi and much of the east of the country.

He says protesters are being provoked by terrorists.

It is reported that thousands have been killed in violent attacks from Gaddafi's security forces.

Seif al-Islam Kadhafi has denied this and says those who have died, died while trying to ambush military areas.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama has called on Gaddafi to leave immediately.

Obama says the Libyan leader no longer has a right to rule his country since he has started using mass violence against his own people.

Avgas shortage at Wonderboom airport

By Lelethu Mquqo
27 February 2011

The Wonderboom Airport in Pretoria has reportedly run out of avgas.

Piston engines use avgas, while jet fuel is used for turbine and jet engine aircrafts.

Spokesperson for the City of Tshwane, Console Tleane says the shortage started yesterday morning when avgas ran out from the underground tanks at the airport.

Tleane says the shortage is due to an unexpected demand from aircraft operators.

He says there is still a good supply of jet fuel at the airport and aircrafts using it will not be affected.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Witness in the Dewani found

By Lelethu Mquqo
26 February 2011

Police have found an important witness in the Dewani honeymoon murder case and have taken a statement from him.

It is reported that police have obtained the sworn affidavit from a porter at the Cape Grace hotel.

The Cape Grace hotel is where Shrien Diwani allegedly met some of his four co-accused in the murder of his wife, Anni.

The couple were on honeymoon when Anni was murdered, allegedly after a fake hijacking which Shrien survived.

Police have been searching for the porter, from the Eastern Cape, since his disappearance shortly after the killing.

42 year old man found murdered in Kraaifontein

By Lelethu Mquqo
26 February 2011

A 42 year old man found murdered in Kraaifontein this morning.

a neighbourhood watch member was called by the neighbours alerting him that they suspected something wrong at a house in Waburg Street, Joostenberg Vlakte in Kraaifontein.

He then contacted the home owner’s brother, and on further investigation they found the owner’s body on a couch in the lounge, with his hands tied with electric cord and a stab wound to his chest.

He was later declared dead on the scene. During the incident the deceased’s two children were asleep inside the house unharmed.

Captain Gerhard Niemand of the Kraaifontein police says at this stage it is unknown what was taken out of the house during the robbery.

Meanwhile, the deceased’s car was found abandoned near Fisantekraal by the Durbanville police.

Police are urging anyone with information on the whereabouts of the suspects or the incident to contact Warrant Officer Dirkie van Reenen at Kraaifontein SAPS on 021-980 5500 or Crime Stop on 08600 1011.

AfriForum to use ANC's intervention to its advantage

By Lelethu Mquqo
26 February 2011

AfriForum says it will use the African National Congress’s intervention in its case involving ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, and the ’Shoot the Boer’ songs to its advantage.

This after the ANC put in an application to intervene in the case last week.

The Transvaal Agricultural Union says they will bring evidence that the songs were a feature of attacks on farms.

The case between Malema and Afriforum gets underway in April.

The ANC however says the phrase is part of its heritage, a statement that has been widely criticized by AfriForum.

Manyi apologises for his Western Cape's coloured comment

By Lelethu Mquqo
26 February 2011

The African National Congress's newly appointed spokesperson Jimmy Manyi has apologised for his comments about the Western Cape's coloured population.

Manyi, while still being the president of the Black Management Forum last year, said in a television interview that there are too many Coloured people in the Western Cape, and that they should spread to the rest of the country.

Manyi has apologised for his comments after the ANC distanced itself from the remarks.

South African Defence Force sent to help with evacuation in Libya

Lusanda Bill
26 February 2011

Members of the defence team have been sent to Libya to evacuate South Africans there.

The flight left yesterday night and is expected to come back later today.

The South African humanitarian relief organisation Gift of the Givers is also expected to send an advance team to Libya soon.

Head of Gift of the Givers, Imtiaaz Suleiman, has called on volunteer medical personnel to contact the organisation if they wish to be involved in helping the people of Libya.

Up to forty South Africans are trapped in anti-government protests in Libya.

Meanwhile Tom Wheeler, from the Institute for International Affairs says there is little the government can do to intervene in the declining situation in Libya.

A possibility of a makeover in the pipelines for the V&A

Lusanda Bill
26 February 2011

The Cape Town Victoria & Alfred Waterfront could be getting a possible makeover soon.

Growthpoint’s Etienne de Klerk said while it is still early days, they are in the planning stages for new developments.

The V&A Waterfront was sold for nearly ten thousand Rands to a group of investors.

Etienne de Klerk added that “There’s also a potential three star hotel development which we are considering in the area close to the shopping centre”.

Friday, February 25, 2011

One of the suspects accused of Dewani’s murder was denied bail

Lusanda Bill
25 February 2011

Mziwamadoda Qwabe, one of the men accused of carrying out a hit on Shrien Dewani’s wife Anni in Cape Town last year has been denied bail.

The Wynberg Regional Court in Cape Town turned down Qwabe’s application.

Magistrate Gavin du Plessis said Mziwamadoda Qwabe, had failed to convince the court that there were exceptional circumstances that rendered his release on bail in the interests of justice.

Meanwhile Shrien Dewani’s extradition hearing has been schedule for May the 3rd to the 5th, but at the moment Dewani is recovering from an alleged overdose of tablets.

Fuel price hike expected next Wednesday

Lusanda Bill
25 February 2011

Fuel price will be increasing next week Wednesday.

Consumers will have to dig deep as 41-cents-a-litre petrol price hike kicks in.

The price of diesel will shoot up by between 61- and 62-cents a litre, and the price of illuminating paraffin will increase by 68 cents-a-litre.

The petrol price increase has been blamed by the sharp increase in international crude oil prices.

Efficient Group economist Freddie Mitchell says the spike in international oil prices will definitely play a role.

ANC allowed to intervene in Julius Malema’s hate speech case

Lusanda Bill
25 February 2011

Today Judge Colin Lamont has ruled that the African National Congress and the Transvaal Agricultural Union may intervene in the hate speech case against Julius Malema.

Transvaal Agricultural Union has been allowed to join as the second intervening party.

AfriForum and the Transvaal Agricultural Union want Julius Malema to stop singing the Shoot the Boer song.

AfriForum and TAU believe that by the song being sung it contributes towards farm murders.

On the other hand the ANC is arguing that it is part of its struggle history.

One person dies in head on collision on N1

By Khanyisa Tabata
25 February 2011

One people have died in a vehicle collision occurred on the N1 highway in the direction of Paarl.

ER24 spokesperson Andre Visser says a vehicle traveling in the direction of Cape Town allegedly lost control and crossed trough the dividing bushes separating the ingoing and out going traffic.

“The vehicle then collided head on with a vehicle traveling in the direction of Paarl before overturning and landing on its roof.

“When ER24 paramedics arrived at the scene they found two occupants still trapped, upside down, in the vehicle. The passenger sustained significant injuries to her upper body and was later declared dead at the scene,” said Visser.

Visser added that the driver of the vehicle needed to be extricated by Metro rescue and was removed from the vehicle in an upside down position. She sustained only minor injuries to her extremities.

“There were two occupants in the vehicle traveling in the direction of Paarl. Fortunately they sustained only minor injuries. Both of them received treatment at the scene before being transported to a nearby hospital. The appropriate authorities will be investigating the incident, said Visser.

Body found in Gordon’s Bay

By Khanyisa Tabata
25 February 2011

A body of a 27 year old man has been discovered in Gordon’s Bay.

Police spokesperson Constable Suzan Jantjies says the body of was discovered at the Whales lookout point in Gordon’s Bay.

“The body was discovered by workers that worked along the beach road in Gordons Bay.

“An Inquest is being investigated. A post-mortem will be done today to determine the cause of death, said Jantjies.

Manyi in hot water over coloured remark

By Khanyisa Tabata
25 February 2011

Newly-appointed government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi faces strong criticism for saying that the Western Cape has too many Coloured people.

Manyi made the comments last year in a television interview. He was still the director-general of Labour then.

Solidarity posted Manyi’s remarks after they were criticised for pointing out that about one-million Coloured people could lose their jobs should changes be made to the Employment Equity Act.

Solidarity says that unless the government renounces Manyi’s statements and withdraws the proposed amendment to labour legislation, Manyi’s remarks will be seen as the government's official view.

The trade union’s Dirk Herman says the national demographics need to be taken into account.

Johannesburg teacher accused of assaulting pupil

By Khanyisa Tabata
25 February

The Gauteng department of education has served a precautionary suspension letter on a Johannesburg school principal.

Moss Senye, the head of Meadowlands High School, appeared in court last week Thursday on charges of assaulting a learner. The department stresses that Semye remains innocent until proven otherwise.

No comment will be made on the merits of the case, as the matter is sub judice at the moment.

Judgement expected today on hate speech claim

Lusanda Bill
25 February 2011

Today a ruling will be made whether the African National Congress can intervene in ANC Youth League president Julius Malema hate speech case.

The ANC had argued that the struggle song shoot the boer was their own.

Judge Colin Lamont is expected to make his decision today.

AfriForum laid a case against Malema for using the words "shoot the boer". AfriForum are also suggesting that struggle songs should be banned.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Western Cape first to implement free clinic services

Lusanda Bill
24 February 2011

The Western Cape has become the first province to take up and implement free clinic services.

These free clinic services are for mother whose babies are born in state hospitals.

The services will be at Clicks pharmacies and selected clinics in the provinces.

Western Cape health MEC Theuns Botha says it forms part of the province’s commitment, to contributing to the National Department of Health’s effort in reaching the Millennium Development Goals.

The free clinic services will offer mothers a free baby education and healthcare advice at selected clinics.

Drugs worth R10 000 seized in Woodstock

By Khanyisa Tabata
24 February 2011

A 25 year old has been arrested for being possession of drugs worth R 10 000 in Woodstock.

Police spokesperson sergeant Hilton Malila says the arrest follows after police members followed up information received from the public, in connection with possible illegal drug activities at a house in Frere Street.

“We executed a search warrant and during the searching we confiscated 28 bank bags filled with compressed dagga , 74 stompies of dagga, a shopping bag filled with loose dagga and nine packets of tik with an estimated street value of R10 000-00.

“The 25 year old suspect is currently in police custody and will appear in the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court on Friday chargers of dealing in drugs, said Malila.

Bheki Cele to challenge Public Protector’s investigation

Lusanda Bill
24 February 2011

National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele has again said he is innocent.

A finding by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela this week accused Cele of improper conduct and maladministration.

This comes after Madonsela investigated a controversial half-a-billion-Rands deal for new police headquarters in Pretoria.

In a press conference in Pretoria today Cele said only a court of law could find him guilty.

Bheki Cele is planning to challenge the public protector’s report.

A fire leaves 100 people displaced in Khayelitsha

Lusanda Bill
24 February 2011

One hundred Khayelitsha residents have been left without homes, after a fire destroyed their shacks.

The fire happened at the Endlovini informal settlement this morning.

Disaster Management spokesperson Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said “Disaster Management is currently on the scene assisting the victims affected by the fire. We are not sure how the fire occurred and we will investigate”.

The fire is under control and no one was injured.

Illegal shebeens issued with fines in Wallacedene

24 February 2011
Khanyisa Tabata

The City of Cape Town’s Liquor Enforcement Unit issued spot fines to the value of R27 000,00 during a joint operation with the South African Police Services focusing on illegal shebeens in the Wallacedene area.

During the past week, the Liquor Enforcement Unit inspected 41 shebeens and issued 27 spot fines to owners for various by-law infringements.

The operation follows a series of raids in the area last month, after which 14 shebeens permanently closed their doors. Members of the public have been providing the unit with valuable information which has assisted them in focusing their operations.

The operations form part of the City’s ongoing clamp-down on illegal shebeens and nightclubs to ensure compliance with existing City by-laws. They are not related to the pending implementation of the new Liquor By-Law.

Matric disclosure welcomed

By Khanyisa Tabata
24 February 2011

The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union has welcomed quality assurer Umalusi’s disclosure of the adjustments to the 2010 matric exams.

Umalusi yesterday denied that it had cooked the books to achieve a seven-percent improvement in last year’s pass rate.

Bowing to pressure months after the results were released, chairperson Sizwe Mabizela lashed out at those who attacked the standardisation process.

He says it has been standard practice since 1918.

“We welcome the information and thank all our teachers and learners again for doing well in the 2010 matric results.

“We call upon all our teachers, parents and learners to focus on the work facing us and continue to improve the learner achievement, said Mabizela.

ANC dismisses calls for Bheki Cele’s head

By Khanyisa Tabata
24 February 2011

The African National Congress says it is opportunistic for opposition parties to call for the axing of National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele.

This follows the findings of a probe into a half-a-billion-Rands lease agreement for new police headquarters in Pretoria.

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu says the Public Protector’s finding of a violation of public administration laws does not necessarily amount to a criminal finding.

DA welcomes courageous implementation of youth wage subsidy

By Khanyisa Tabata
24 February 2011

The Democratic Alliance says they warmly welcome the inclusion of a youth wage subsidy in Minister Gordhan’s budget speech yesterday.

DA Shadow Minister of Finance Dion George says they look forward in studying the relevant discussion document and will be liaising with the minister to ensure its eventual implementation.

“South Africa’s most pressing concern is the creation of jobs for unemployed young South Africans, and we believe this to be the most effective solution to start addressing this challenge.

“The inclusion of this policy, and a R9 billion jobs fund, is a crucial step in the right direction towards the adoption of growth-oriented economic policies,” said George.

Youth wage subsidies and tax incentives for job growth are growth-oriented DA proposals that vehemently contradict the state-driven approach espoused in the New Growth Path added George.

George added that the DA supports the various initiatives by Minister Gordhan that would help strengthen the productive capacity of our economy.

“There are, however, also some proposals with which we are concerned. The DA disagrees with a R1.2 billion appropriation for the National Youth Development Agency over the next three years.

“This is unproductive spending. We disagree with increasing spending on SETAs,” said George.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

ACDP welcomes budget speech

By Lelethu Mquqo
23 February 2011

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has announced various initiatives to boost job creation, including a jobs fund, increasing funding for small businesses and spending on skills and rural development.

Presenting his budget speech in parliament, Gordhan says the R9 billion jobs fund would co-finance innovative public and private sector employment projects.

He also announced a R189 billion allocation for education, an increase of nearly ten percent compared with last year.

The finance minister also focused on the police, with more than R2 billion rands set aside to increase police personnel.

Meanwhile, the African Christian Democratic Party says the budget provides limited personal tax relief and increases in indirect taxation.

In response to finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s budget speech, ACDP MP and finance spokesperson Steve Swart said the party broadly supported the budget.

He welcomes the focus on economic growth, job creation and poverty alleviation.

He also supports increased expenditure on infrastructure development, health, education as well as fighting crime and corruption.

Finance minister delivers the budget speech

By Lelethu Mquqo
23 February 2011

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan says the country has embarked on the long walk to economic freedom.

Delivering the second budget of the Zuma administration in Parliament this afternoon, Gordhan warned that it would not be an easy journey, but said it would be worthwhile.

The Finance Minister says the budget provides for all sectors of society.

Gordhan announced that government would consider and consult on whether a payroll tax - payable by employers, an increase in the VAT rate and a surcharge on individual’s taxable income are suitable options to fund the National Health Insurance scheme.

An announcement on the funding instruments for the NHI will be made in next year’s budget.

Overloading may have caused the accident which injured 21 children

By Lelethu Mquqo
23 February 2011

Overloading may have played a role in this morning’s taxi accident in Johannesburg.

21 children from a school for the mentally handicapped were injured when the taxi crashed into a car.

The children are between the ages of five and 13 years and have been taken to various hospitals.

The accident happened on the N1-highway near Nasrec.

Traffic authorities say the driver allegedly failed to stop at a traffic light.

Family denies Dewani’s suicide attempt

By Lelethu Mquqo
23 February 2011

Family members of murder accused Shrien Dewani have denied rumors that he tried to commit suicide.

This follows recent reports that he was taken to hospital after an apparent suicide attempt.

His publicist, Max Clifford, says Dewani was in hospital because of the stress which affected his mental and physical health.

Clifford says it was his family’s decision to hospitalise him.

Dewani is fighting his extradition to South Africa to stand trial for allegedly orchestrating his wife’s murder in Gugulethu, Cape Town last year.

Vandals cause R1 million damage to City’s electricity infrastructure

By Khanyisa Tabata
23 February 2011

Vandals have caused one-million-Rands worth of damage to the City of Cape Town’s electricity infrastructure in Steenberg. Two substations were set alight.

The Metals Theft Unit spokesperson Neil Arendse the motive appears to be malicious damage as the affected equipment was left untouched.

“Sugarbird Crescent, Sea Winds, were set alight when vandals made fires with tyres next to the transformers. The motive at this stage appears to be malicious damage as the affected equipment was left untouched.

“We need communities to take ownership of the electricity infrastructure that supplies their neighborhood and to report any suspicious looking persons or actions to the Copperheads or SAPS as soon as possible,” said Arendse.

Bheki Cele found guilty by the Public Protector

Lusanda Bill
23 February 2011

Police Commissioner Bheki Cele has been found guilty of improper conduct and maladministration.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found the general guilty after police entered into a 500 million rand lease for the Sanlam building in Pretoria.

It was found that the lease between police department and property tycoon Roux Shabangu’s property fund invalid.

Madonsela has asked the National Treasury to review the lease.

Father found guilty of murdering his 13-year-old daughter

Lusanda Bill
23 February 2011

Rashaad Kruger a Cape Town father has been found guilty by the Western Cape High Court yesterday for murdering his daughter.

Kruger slit his 13-year-old daughter’s throat a month after she witnessed him trying to rape her friend.

The mother of Moneeba Kruger found her in her bedroom in a pool of blood.

Acting judge in the Western Cape High Court described the father as an actor of note as said his evidence was full of lies.

Sentencing for Rashaad Kruger will begin today

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cape Town residents urged to comment on liquor regulations

By Lelethu Mquqo
22 February 2011

The City of Cape Town is calling on members of the public to comment on the draft provincial regulations.

This as means of increasing the opportunity for public participation in the consideration, granting and possible cancellation of liquor licenses throughout the Western Cape.

Chairperson of the Liquor Policy Task Team Councillor Taki Amira says according to the draft regulations, the application procedures for liquor licenses have been made stricter, and the public will be given 28 days to provide input on each application.

The regulations, which were made public on 11 February 2011, are opened for public comment until the 7th of March 2011.

Mother of 7 month old baby who was allegedly kidnapped in Macassar is arrested

By Khanyisa Tabata
22 February 2011

The 20 year old mother of the 7 month old baby boy, who was reported as being kidnapped on Tuesday the 16th of February 2011in Macassar, has been arrested and detained as a suspect in the case.

Police spokesperson Anneke van der Vyver further questioning and investigation could shed more light on the circumstances of the case, as well as the whereabouts of the child, who is yet to be found. The search is continuing.

Once charged, the suspect will make a court appearance in Somerset West.

AfriForum shocked at ANC’s intervention in hate speech case

By Lelethu Mquqo
22 February 2011

AfriForum says it is surprised by the African National Congress’s decision to apply for leave to intervene in the hate speech issue between AfriForum and ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.

The matter is due to start on 11 April 2011 in the Johannesburg High Court.

The ANC's application will be heard today before Judge Colin Lamont at the South Gauteng High Court.

ANC Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe stated that the controversial song "Dubula iBhulu" forms part of the “history of liberating South Africa from apartheid”.

AfriForum's lawyer, Willie Spies said in his reaction it was shocking that the ANC chose the same week in which high profile farm murders drew wide anger, to file their papers in support of the hate song.

Spies says with hate songs as heritage, it is no surprise that the ANC's only legacy is disorder, maladministration, corruption and violence.

Abalone valued at R3 million seized in Table View

By Khanyisa Tabata
22 February 2011

Five people have been arrested for being possession of abalone to the street value of R3 million at a house in Grey Street, Table View.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer November Filander says the arrest follows after SAPS members of the Western Cape Flying Squad and K9 Unit received information of alleged illegal abalone involving foreign nationals.

“SAPS also seized five fridges, shelves, bags of salt, chemicals and two large cooking pots. The house was converted to process abalone.

“SAPS arrested five suspects between the age of 25 and 41 from who will appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court today on charges of illegal possession of abalone and illegal establishing of a fishing plant under the Sea Fisheries Act,” said Filander.

Body of 46 year old man found in bed in Gans Bay

By Khanyisa Tabata
22 February 2011

A body of a 46 year old man has been found by his wife in Gans Bay.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Le Roux says it is believed that the wife left for work with their dog and the deceased was still in bed.

“She later phoned him several times to get hold of the dog as arranged, but with no success. After she could not reach him she went home to investigate and discovered the body of her husband in the bedroom with two open wounds to his head.

“Police later found an axe on the crime scene. We have opened a murder docket and at this stage, only a cellphone is reported missing,” said le Roux.

Le Roux added that a 48 year old man was later taken in for questioning and the investigation is continuing.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is requested to contact Gans Bay SAPS on 028 384 0201 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

Three toddlers in ICU after being given adult sleeping pills

Lusanda Bill
22 February 2011

Three toddlers have ended up in the intensive care unit after they were given adult sleeping pills.

It is alleged that the children went to have their tonsils removed but a student nurse gave the children an adult sleeping pill called Dormicum.

The children then started to scream, cry, hallucinate and they went into various states of hysteria.

A child psychologist is now treating a five-year-old and two two-year-olds following the incident at the Netcare Clinton Hospital earlier this month.

Gauteng tolling system will not be rolled out as yet

Lusanda Bill
22 February 2011

The controversial freeway tolling system in Gauteng will not be rolled out as yet.

The transport department says unions and consumer groups have rejected the Department's proposal on the matter.

Concerns are that the new fees will push up prices of goods and increase the cost of living.

The African National Congress’ Dumisa Ntuli said “a task team will be established to study the impact of the new tolling system”.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A baby found alive in a plastic bag

Lusanda Bill
21 February 2011

A 2-week baby was found in a plastic bag, alive by the Parow Police in Parow Valley last night.

The Parow Police were called out to attend a complaint regarding an abandoned baby in Deer Beer Street.

When police arrived on the scene they found the baby in a plastic bag, in a rubbish damp. The baby was found alive and in good health.

The baby has since been admitted to a local hospital.

A case of child abandonment has been opened and an investigation is underway.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Warrant Officer Jacques Barnard on 021 746 46 46

Boy arrested for rape and murder

By Lelethu Mquqo
21 February 2011

A 17-year-old boy was arrested yesterday in Benoni after he was caught raping a four-year-old girl who later died.

The girl was apparently reported missing by her family earlier on Sunday.

When police searched the area, they found the teen on top of the young girl at an empty construction site near her home.

The boy has since been charged with rape and murder and is expected to appear in court soon.

Successful weekend traffic operations

Lusanda Bill
21 February 2011

The Provincial Traffic officers were again on full alert this weekend, and were positioned in all major routes.

Traffic officers in the province will continue to bring the message across of the Safely Home Campaign.

This weekend saw speed cases dropping from 957 from last week to 385 this week.

3287 motor vehicles were stopped at road blocks across the province, and 26 drunk drivers were arrested.

Minister of Community Safety Albert Fritz said “unfortunately if a person is going to try and drink and drive on the roads, we will catch you”.

UFS expected to make an announcement on the Reitz Four

By Lelethu Mquqo
21 February 2011

The University of the Free State is expected to announce today regarding its former students known as the Reitz Four.

It is reported that the Equality Court matter between it and the Reitz Four has been settled out of court.

The students were caught humiliating university workers in a mock initiation ritual.

The four workers each claimed R1 million in damages.

It is understood that the young men have to make a public apology on television and the university is also expected to apologise.

Four to appear in court for armed robbery

By Khanyisa Tabata
21 February 2011

Four people have been arrested in Mfuleni for being in possession of seven stolen cellphones and three unlicensed firearm.

Police spokesperson Captain Nomathemba Muavha says yesterday Mfuleni police received a complaint of an armed robbery perpetrated by three males driving a green VW Golf. They robbed the complainant of his two cellphones.

“Through the quick response of the police and being in contact with the complainant, the police were able to pursue the green Golf and four males were arrested.

“The vehicle belongs to a retail chain store and was not reported stolen when it was recovered. Different cases of armed robbery were reported as the day progressed all allegedly perpetrated by the same suspects,” said Muavha.

Muavha added that three other cases of armed robbery were opened and also linked to these suspect. The complainants were robbed of their cellphones and one of them R600.00 cash. The suspects were operating in the entire Mfuleni area.

“The four males arrested are between the ages 22 and 27 years, one of them is wanted by Milnerton SAPS and the other one appeared at Khayelitsha Court on Friday and has other cases that have not been finalized yet.
“They will

Transport strike could end today

By Khanyisa Tabata
21 February 2011

All the unions in the freight transport sector have agreed to a new pay offer. The agreement is subject to members' approval. The disruptive week-long strike in the industry is expected to end tomorrow.

The unions have provisionally accepted a nine-percent pay rise this year and eight-and-a-half-percent next year. But Satawu’s June Dube says if union members reject the agreement, the strike would continue.

Meanwhile, Thousands of Johannesburg Metrobus commuters are being subjected to more disruption as the drivers’ strike continues.

The Johannesburg Labour Court on Friday ruled that the strike was legal. The protest over the introduction of new shift schedule has been dragging on for almost two weeks.

Metrobus spokesperson Esther Dreyer has apologised to commuters for the lack of services.

Gaddafi’s son warns of civil war

By Khanyisa Tabata
21 February 2011

The son of embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has warned that the country is on the verge of civil war. His speech to the nation came as anti-government protests raged in the two major cities.

Protestors apparently took control of the second city, Benghazi, and heavy gunfire was reported in the capital, Tripoli. At least 100 people have been killed.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi vowed in his speech to fight the unrest "until the last man standing".

But Gaddafi confirmed that a lot of the military's tanks and artillery were now in the hands of the anti-government protesters

Prank emergency calls cost the North West R5.5 million

Lusanda Bill
21 February 2011

The North West has reported that prank emergency calls have cost the province R5.5 million.

The department last year received 1 850 prank calls.

Spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane said “the huge volume of prank calls means that the emergency personnel who should be attending accident scenes or preparing themselves for genuine incidents, are often tied up with wicked false alarms”.

The most district that had the most prank calls was Ngaka Modiri Molema district

Sunday, February 20, 2011

38-year-old taxi owner shot dead in the Eastern Cape

Lusanda Bill
20 February 2011

A taxi owner was shot dead on Saturday in the Eastern Cape.

38-year-old taxi owner was shot several times as he got out of his car near Woodland Close flats.

Captain Jackson Manatha said it appeared the man was followed and at the scene a string of bullet cartridges was recovered.

Police have not made any arrests yet.

The name of the taxi owner has not been released to the public, because his next of kin have not been informed.

Transport unions tied in meetings with employers

Lusanda Bill
20 February 2011

Transport unions are today tied in meetings with employers to try and workout a deal.

Truck drivers have been on strike for the past week.

Only three unions have accepted the offer of nine percent, which is the latest wage offer.

The biggest union the South African Transport Workers Union has not accepted any offer.

The unions are demanding a 20 percent increase across the board over two years.

A police officer to appear in court for rape

Lusanda Bill
20 February 2011

A metro policeman who is suspected of raping another man is expected to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s court on Monday.

It is alleged that a 29-year-old police officer was having drinks with another man. Later the officer offered to take the man home.

The metro policeman did not take the man home instead he stopped on 15 Avenue where it is alleged that the officer raped the man.

The police officer was arrested on Friday night.

Police spokesperson Tshisikhawe Ndou said the suspect will be facing a charge of rape as well as theft of a cell phone.

JHB Mayor Amos Masondo called to intervene in Metrobus strike

Lusanda Bill
20 February 2011

Johannesburg Mayor Amos Masondo has been called by the South African Municipal Workers Union, to intervene the Metrobus strike.

The strike has been going on for the past week, bus drivers are striking because of longer shifts that were implemented last December.

Negotiations last week came to a deadlock with no agreement being made.

SAMWU spokesperson Dumisani Langa said, “There is a strong likelihood that it will be chaotic in Johannesburg unless there is an intervention somewhere. This issue is a political issue as soon as it affects the members of the public.”

A farmer killed in the Free State

Lusanda Bill
20 February 2011

A farmer has been killed in the Free State by three men.

The farmer was attacked on his farm by three men, where he was shot in the head and died.

Police's Sam Makhele says “it is believed that the men were going to rob Mara Farm which lies between Frankfort and Tweeling”.

The three attackers fled the scene with man’s bakkie. The Free State farmer was rushed in hospital where he died.

Police have not made any arrests yet.

Petrol prices set to increase again

Lusanda Bill
20 February 2011

An increase in petrol price seems to be on the cards again.

The increases in prices, the increase in petrol prices and the weakened rand has contributed to the increasing inflation rate.

Tony Twine, a senior economist at Econometrix suggested that there would be a 37 percent increase in the petrol price on March 3rd.

Twine suggested that diesel prices were expected to rise by 61cents a litre and paraffin by 67cents a litre.

Nicky Weimer, a senior economist at Nedbank, said “fuel prices would continue to increase throughout the year and it was unlikely that oil prices would drop. The weakening of the rand also aggravated the situation and pushed prices up”.

Breakthrough in missing case of the 7-month-old Macassar baby

Lusanda Bill
20 February 2011

Police in Cape Town have made a breakthrough in the case of 7-month old Dewandry Stanley.

Dewandry Stanley went missing on Tuesday night at Ring Avenue, Macassar.

His mother left him asleep and she went to a nearby store, when she came back her child was gone.

Two witnesses have come forward in the matter.

Police spokesperson Anneke Van Der Vyver said the witnesses believe they may have spotted the culprit while busy with repairs to their car on the same road in which the child lived.

Police are working on the lead given by the two witnesses, but police are still asking anybody with information to please come forward.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fire-fighters are responding to a fire in Heideveld Secondary School

Lusanda Bill
19 February 2011

Fire-fighters in Cape Town are this afternoon attending to a fire in Heideveld Secondary School near Athlone.

Fire Spokesperson Theo Layne said “At the moment we have got one fire engine there and no injuries”.

The Vegetation on the grounds of Heideveld is burning.

No property is in danger at the moment.

Layne also said “emergency personnel have the situation under control”.

The death of two children who were hit by a train sends shock waves

Lusanda Bill
19 February 2011

The Transport Department in the Western Cape has expressed its shock at the death of two children who were hit by a train on Thursday.

Brothers Salie and Faiek Smith aged three and two years old, were hit by a train on Thursday in Manenberg in Cape Town.

Western Cape Transport MEC Robin Carlisle said “What we have done is that we have already held one meeting the city, the province and Metrorail. We are holding an extended meeting on Monday, including the trade union”.

The two brothers were laid to rest yesterday, family, friends and community members went to pay their last respects.

Electricity being fixed in several Cape Town suburbs

Lusanda Bill
19 February 2011

Electricity in various suburbs in Cape Town is being fixed.

At least 15 areas were left without lights this morning this was due to a technical fault at a sub-station in Acacia Park.

Spokesperson for the City of Cape Town, Wilfred Solomons-Johannes says they have activated their disaster power outage plan and are using the Steenbras Dam Station and the Philippi Switching Station to resolve the problem.

The electricity is still being restored to the areas that were left without electricity this morning.

A murder sparks fear in farm owners in Stellenbosch

Lusanda Bill
19 February 2011

Farmer owners in Stellenbosch are in fear after the death of Alberto Costa.

Farm owners believe that a gang could be behind the murder of Costa.

Provincial police spokes-man Lieutenant Colonel André Traut said “It’s too early to speculate about a gang or syndicate. We’re treating it as a murder case and will be looking at all the possibilities.”

The murder has sparked fear among farmers in Stellenbosch.

Philip Kriel, vice-chairman of the Stellenbosch Agricultural Society, said that over the last year or so farmers had been targeted regularly. He said he had been robbed five or six times in the last year, mostly by thieves looking for copper.

Drug kingpin arrested

By Lelethu Mquqo
19 February 2011

A convicted drug kingpin has been arrested on the South Africa/Swaziland border.

Members of the Hawks arrested seventy-two-year-old Bra Solly Motsepe at the Oshoek border post on Thursday after he violated his parole conditions.

The convicted drug-lord was first arrested in the 1990s.

He escaped from prison last year after he was apparently behind the fraudulent cleaning of his records at the department of Correctional Services.

Motsepe will be held in a correctional facility until he has completed the rest of his sentence which ends in 2017.

Man dies in Atteridgeville

By Lelethu Mquqo
19 February 2011

A man was reportedly stabbed to death when African National Congress supporters clashed in Pretoria last night.

The clashes were apparently over nomination lists for candidates to take part in the upcoming municipal elections.

Police spokesman Captain Thomas Mufamadi has confirmed that there had been a stabbing on Friday night in Atteridgeville.

Initial reports were that fighting broke out at a meeting of dissatisfied ANC members.

Three road freight unions accept offer

By Lelethu Mquqo
19 February 2011

Three of the four striking freight unions have accepted the latest wage offer of 9%.

Thousands of truck drivers were striking this week, demanding a 10% wage increase this year and in 2012.

General secretary of the Professional Transport Workers Union Reckson Baloyi, says the three unions have signed an agreement and their members will be back at work on Monday.

The SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) has rejected the offer of a nine percent increase and their members will continue with the strike.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sanral shrugs off Cosatu's strike threats

By Khanyisa Tabata
18 February 2011

The South African National Road Agency Limited has shrugged off Cosatu’s threats for a general strike should the Agency continue with its plans to introduce toll gates on Gauteng highways.

Cosatu will be hosting a public march next month and a mass demonstration on all Gauteng highways. It will also call for a stay-away on the 8th of April.

The National Road Agency’s Nazeer Alli says Cosatu has a right to voice its opinion on the matter.

Cosatu plans strike against toll road tariffs

By Khanyisa Tabata
18 February 2011

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) says it plans to strike over the implementation of the new Gauteng toll road tariffs.

Dumisane Dakile, Cosatu's provincial secretary, says the provincial executive committee have decided to fight tooth and nail against the e-toll system.

Dakile says Cosatu will submit a strike notice to the National Economic Development and Labour Council at the end of this month.

The trade union will then call for a public march on 12 March and a mass demonstration on Gauteng's highways also in March.

Leonard Chuene receives seven-year ban from sport

By Khanyisa Tabata
18 February 2011

Leonard Chuene, the suspended Athletics South Africa president, has been banned from all sport for seven years.

The South African Sport Confederation and Olympic Committee earlier this week found Chuene, his deputy Kakata Maponyane and board member Simon Dlamini guilty of poor corporate governance, misappropriation of funds and tax evasion.

The trio was given until yesterday to appeal against the verdict, but they failed to do so. Maponyane has been banned for five years, and Dlamini was given a three-year ban.

Farmer shot dead in Cloetesville

By Lelethu Mquqo
18 February 2011

A 44 year old farmer from Cloetesville was shot and killed in a possible attempt to commit an armed robbery at his house.

The victim, who was armed with a shotgun, investigated a disturbance caused by intruders on his farm when he was confronted by at least two armed suspects.

After shots were exchanged between the suspects and the victim, he died as a result of a gunshot wound to his chest.

His wife and two children escaped the ordeal unharmed.
Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut says the suspects fled empty handed, leaving behind a possible blood trail, suggesting that one of the suspects could have been wounded.

Traut has urged anyone who may assist with investigation to contact the investing officer, Captain Edwin Jones on 0827789952.

Alternatively Crime Stop can be contacted on 0860010111.

State of the Province address by Helen Zille (Full Text)

Honourable Speaker
Cabinet colleagues
The Honourable Leader of the Opposition
Members of the diplomatic corps
Leaders of political parties
Honourable members of the national and provincial parliaments
Leaders of local government
Director-General and Heads of Department
Religious leaders
Community leaders
Colleagues and friends
Citizens of the Western Cape
Namkelekile Nonke. Baie welkom aan almal hier vandag

It is always a profound honour to make this opening speech of the parliamentary session.
Each one of us was elected to represent all the people of our province, and we embrace this responsibility with dedication and humility. This House is the place where government is called upon to account for its actions, where every bill is debated and where the money we spend is scrutinised.

The often heated exchanges to which we have grown accustomed are generally a good thing. It shows that our democracy is robust; that there is space for differences and disagreements. And, as our democracy matures, it is essential to ensure that the debate in this House focuses on alternative solutions. We cannot build a shared future if we remain trapped in the conflicts of the past. Of course, the legacy of our tragic past is still with us, and will be for years ahead. This government is committed to redressing that legacy in the shortest possible time by the most sustainable means. Let us therefore accept each other‟s good faith. Let us move away from gratuitous insults and racial posturing. Let us make the issues the issue.

So, before I begin, I would like to acknowledge the Honourable Leader of the Opposition and her caucus. I also wish to pay tribute to the thousands of public servants who keep the wheels of government turning. Many of them embody the concept of public service in its best sense. The Western Cape would not be South Africa‟s best run province without them.

Speaker, forty seven years ago, in his famous statement from the dock, Nelson Mandela set out his vision of a free and prosperous South Africa. He said: "I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

In those few lines, repeated so often in my family home as I was growing up, he captured the South African dream. Back then, in 1964, it seemed these words would remain a dream as decades of escalating racial conflict followed.

But we stand here today; celebrating freedom in a democratic South Africa – an immeasurably better place now than it was then. And we know now that the impossible is possible. That nothing is beyond us. That we can shape our own future. And so we recommit ourselves to realising the South African dream, articulated so clearly by the father of our nation, for future generations.

Speaker, Mario Cuomo, the former governor of New York State, once famously said, “You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.” And I suppose he was right. But I also believe that when you campaign for ideals you should govern to achieve them. Sifuna iPhondo liphumelele kuba sifuna umZantsi Afrika uphumelele. Ons wil dit regkry sodat ons van Suid-Afrika „n sukses kan help maak.

That is why, notwithstanding the scale of the challenge, despite the constraints that beset us, and accepting our own frailties and failings, we must keep our eyes fixed firmly on the prize. Just as Nelson Mandela did through days long and dark.

And the prize for us is the Western Cape of our dreams. A place where children grow up taking their freedom for granted. Where every child is safe, sheltered, nourished and loved. Where learning opens the door to opportunity, and a growing economy the path to prosperity.

In the Western Cape of our dreams, every child can shape her own destiny and live a life she values.

In the Western Cape of our dreams, unemployment is a temporary condition, not a life sentence. Because risk-taking entrepreneurs have the space to drive innovation, invest their resources and create jobs. Because workers in factories and on farms are treated fairly and given chances to advance themselves and their families. And because skilled immigrants and investment capital are seen as an opportunity, not a threat.

The Western Cape of our dreams is a place where people easily connect with each other and the rest of the world through functional infrastructure and modern technology. Things work.
People recognise their duty to conserve the rich environment of our small corner of this blue planet, across which we all temporarily pass.

It is a magnet to tourists and investors. It is the gateway to the rest of our continent. It is a place where people want to live, work and relax.

It is a place where diversity is celebrated as a source of strength, and is not the cause of division. It is a place where all people feel welcome and at home.
It is a place that links effort and reward, where people are judged not by the colour of their skins or the strength of their political connections, but by the content of their characters.

Speaker, we must keep our eyes fixed firmly on the prize. We know that a gulf separates our dream from our reality. But we are not in public service to be hand-wringing victims of circumstance. We were elected to make a difference, not to make excuses. Or, in the words of Robert Kennedy, recently quoted by President Obama: “The future is not a gift. It is an achievement.”

Die toekoms is geen gawe nie. Dis „n prestasie. Ikamva ayisosipho. Yimphumelelo.
South Africans recognise this more than most. While the world hailed our first democratic election and negotiated Constitution as a miracle, we knew it was because we believed a shared future was better than a divided past. This sort of common sense is a South African attribute. It made the new South Africa a shared achievement, but it also requires us to build on these foundations together.

Government has a role. Our role is to extend to every person the opportunity to live a life he or she values. But citizens also have a part to play. It is to take responsibility for making the most of the opportunities on offer. Building a shared future requires each of us to understand our role and what it means to achieve the better life for all.

This is a still a very distant dream, indeed a mirage, for far too many people in our province, particularly those trapped in extreme poverty. Poverty is the biggest challenge we face. Armoede is ons grootste uitdaging. Intlupheko yeyona ngxaki esijongene nayo.
The tragedy of the poverty trap is typified by the baby born to an unskilled, single teenage parent, who has dropped out of school and relies on a child grant. The young mother seeks out teenage pursuits and resents her premature burden of parental responsibility. Unprepared and under-parented, her child eventually goes to a dysfunctional school, where she falls behind from the start. She isn‟t taught the basics of literacy and numeracy, which makes mastery of the curriculum impossible.

Alcohol and drugs are easily available at the shebeen next door. At first they are an occasional diversion. Before long she cannot get by without them. Like her mother fifteen years previously, she gets pregnant and drops out of school, without the skills to get a job. Her baby‟s father moves on. She is powerless to enforce her sexual choices in a patriarchal environment. In time she tests positive for HIV, and becomes dependent on state sponsored drugs to stay alive. By her mid-20s she has several children.

She puts her name on the housing waiting list, along with hundreds of thousands of others. Ten years later she is still waiting for her house and living in desperate circumstances, probably in a shack and possibly without clean water, sanitation and electricity. Life is a struggle for survival. She joins a service delivery protest and demands: where is my house? Where is my job? What has the government done for me? Speaker, this is an extreme example of the poverty trap, but by no means an isolated one. More people are sucked into this vortex than we would care to admit. Far too many children in our province are surrounded by despair. Far, far too many fall victim to alcohol and drugs. And even for those who don‟t, very often their childhood ends without the benefit of a decent education or the prospect of a job.

Speaker, poverty blights our democratic landscape and cheapens our freedom. It stands between us and the South Africa for which Nelson Mandela struggled; between us and the Western Cape of our dreams.

But there are other stories in our province. Stories that show us a way to overcome poverty and bridge the gulf between our reality and our dreams. I‟d like to share one with you. It is a true story about a child born into deep poverty in another province. His father disappeared when he was one month old. His mother brought him and his siblings to Cape Town in her struggle to survive. They live in a backyard shack.

His mother was determined to do her best for her children. She kept looking for work until she found a job at the fruit and veg section of a supermarket. She used her wages to nourish her children. Her son went to the local school, led by an outstanding principal and staffed by teachers, all selected on merit, by a governing body that recognises excellence and understands their children‟s futures depend on it. The partnership between parents and teachers is strong.
The school has the required facilities, including an internet-linked computer laboratory, a small library, a hall and a sports field. The garden is neat and the buildings are maintained.

This young boy begins to thrive in his new surroundings and develops his talent for science and mathematics. The school remains open late into the night so that the students can study in a safe and quiet environment. They download past papers on the internet and have access to newspaper study guides and exam tips. Their teachers finish the curriculum and leave enough time for revision.

He achieves 7 distinctions, including 97% for mathematics and the top award in the province for life sciences.

The young man in this story, Asavela Rawe, is now studying actuarial science at the University of Cape Town. His mother, Mrs Lungiswa Rawe, joins us as our special guest today. She symbolises the hundreds of thousands of mothers in our province, and the millions across our country, who are doing what they can to be good parents. Siyavuyisana, Mama. Siyazingca ngonyana wakho.

Of course, Asavela‟s story is an extreme example. He is a true outlier. But what interested me is that his school, Masibambane, that serves the poorest of the poor, achieved a 95% matric pass rate and 24 subject distinctions. It shows us what is possible when all role players understand what it means to create an opportunity and to use one. And Masibambane is not the only school doing so. Watch places like Matthew Goniwe Memorial, Masiphumelele, Sophumelela, Zola Senior, Oval North and Worcester Sekondêr. They are replicating this story across the province. Leaving school with good results should open the door to the next opportunity, and then the next, in a cohesive society where we all understand our roles and fulfill them.
Speaker, a dream without a plan will remain a mere dream, however inspiring it may be. So I now turn to some hard-working prose.

Tabled before you today is our plan. It summarises our agenda for action and encapsulates our contribution to realising the South African dream in the Western Cape. We have deliberately called it a draft plan. We want to have an inclusive and honest conversation about it, and we want to learn from better ideas. We will look out for possible unintended consequences and adapt where necessary. When circumstances change, our plan will change.

Speaker, our plan is the product of much analysis, consultation and debate. It does not offer a quick fix or a silver bullet. But over time, as we work to implement it day-by-day, the people of our province will start experiencing the difference. It cannot all be achieved in one term. But it can all be achieved. If we stay the course.

Speaker, our purpose in government is to extend the hand of opportunity to the people of the Western Cape so that they can escape poverty, shape their own destinies and live lives they value.

That is why we have made a clear choice to put economic and employment growth at the front and centre of our agenda for the Western Cape. A choice for growth is a choice for the poor.
Speaker, there is only one way to overcome poverty and realise the dream of opportunity for all. Unless we ensure that everyone has the chance to get a job, the South African dream will never be more than a dream. A job is a passport out of poverty and the start of the path to prosperity.
So we are delighted that President Zuma agrees that jobs should be our number one priority. We will work towards the same goal to ensure we all succeed.

But identifying objectives and setting priorities is the easy part. The hard part is working out how to reach your desired destination. Otherwise good intentions sink into the quick-sand of political compromise and ideological contradiction.

Our policy for growth and jobs is clear. We understand and embrace the reality that government cannot create new jobs. Our national Minister of Finance tells us that the public sector wage bill has already extended beyond what our country can afford and beyond levels of productivity.

Growing businesses create jobs. Government‟s job therefore is to create an environment that attracts investors, encourages innovation and supports initiative. Because growing businesses hire people, train them and empower them to improve their lives.

And so we are crystal clear on our role as a provincial government. Let me set it out for you.
First, we must ensure that government is clean, efficient and effective. Corruption is stealing from the poor, those most in need of the state‟s assistance. It saps confidence and drives away investment. Corruption makes poor people poorer. And service delivery failure is a waste of good money and a breach of public trust.

Second, we must provide the infrastructure needed for growth and jobs. In the case of provincial and local government, that means roads, public transport, bulk services, schools, hospitals and clinics.

Third, we must get out of the way of people trying to start businesses and grow enterprises. That means designing a pro-growth planning environment that ensures sustainability. It also means efficient implementation of administrative processes. We have to achieve an attitude adjustment, shifting citizens‟ experience from red-tape to red carpet.

Fourth, we must work with the private and higher education sectors to build a brand that attracts investors, tourists and students to our region. And then we must help to promote the region in partnership with all the key stakeholders.

Fifth, we must ensure a steady supply of healthy, well-educated people prepared to play their part in a dynamic, growing economy.

Let me outline our plan to implement this growth agenda.

Clean government

In the Western Cape, our commitment to clean, effective government is firmly established.
We have put a stop to lavish parties and unnecessary spending.

Last year, in this House, we passed the Business Interests of Employees Act to prevent government employees from doing business with the state.

In the coming weeks, we will finalise our new ministerial handbook which will ensure Ministers are held to high ethical standards.

And we have already strengthened our Forensic Investigation Unit to ensure that cases of corruption can be better detected, investigated and prosecuted.

Our commitment to efficient and clean government is reflected in last year‟s Auditor-General‟s report. It was the first time since our democracy began that a province received unqualified audits across all departments and public entities. A clean sweep! Our appreciation goes to all the public servants who made this possible. They are setting the benchmark for public financial management.

Effective government

Clean government is essential, but it is not enough. Government must also spend taxpayers‟ money effectively, and make a measurable difference to peoples‟ lives.

In the Western Cape, we are almost finished quantifying every outcome we wish to achieve. Next year, we will link each output captured in our Annual Performance Plans to our outcome indicators to ensure coherence between what we do and what we aim to achieve. It will also allow us to test our interventions for their effectiveness and improve them as we go along.

To ensure we can implement our policy agenda effectively, we have put in place a new transversal management system. Already, it is proving effective at getting departments to work together to achieve our outcomes.

And through our Modernisation Process we have made advances in improving our IT systems, our human capital management, our administrative processes and much besides in an effort to ensure that we deliver efficiently and effectively. This is beginning to pay off. In recent assessments by the Public Service Commission, the Department of Agriculture scored 90% and Human Settlements 86%. We are still awaiting the final outcome of other assessments, against the yardstick of core constitutional principles.

Infrastructure development

Speaker, central to our growth agenda is developing the right infrastructure in the right places. It is no good pouring money into infrastructure projects that do not support growth over the medium and long term. That is why we are completing a growth study to identify each area of the province that is growing, or has the potential to grow. It will serve as vital management information for decision-making on infrastructure investment.

We will also continue to reduce the road maintenance backlog as fast as finances allow and only build new roads where there is direct economic advantage in doing so.

A growing economy must connect people through transport and technology. We have to learn from places like Kenya where an ICT revolution is driving strong economic growth. To emulate this, we are developing a telecommunications strategy, based on a fibre optic network infrastructure that connects government, citizens and the economy to improve productivity and access to new markets. The World Bank has calculated that the economy of a developing country grows by 1.38% for every 10% increase in broadband penetration. We cannot afford to get left behind.

We will also continue to work with the City of Cape Town to establish an integrated public transport system that gives the people of the/city region access to economic opportunity. It is essential that the City assumes full responsibility for all aspects of public transport in the medium term, because fragmented authority leads to a fragmented system.

At the same time, we will continue to work with Metrorail, currently a national competency, to ensure that our rail system adds capacity and provides commuters with a satisfactory experience. We are engaging National Treasury about devolving the Metrorail subsidy directly to cities so that they can set performance standards, codified in performance agreements as a condition for earning the subsidy.

Speaker, the choice for growth and jobs means leveraging our existing assets as a platform for new growth. Our government sits on under-performing assets that should be available for development, attracting new investment, encouraging new businesses, creating new jobs, providing opportunities for well-located housing and generating an income stream to cross-subsidise projects for the poor.

And so, under the leadership of Ministers Alan Winde and Robin Carlisle, regenerating the city, in partnership with the private sector, will be a major focus for us in years ahead. The first phase of the “regeneration project” is almost ready to launch and we will be making a detailed announcement in the near future.

Speaker, the announcement of the sale of the Waterfront this week reflects the confidence that investors have in the future of the province.

Sold for R7 billion four years ago, it changed hands for R10 billion in a deal concluded late last year. In a global property slump this must be the highest return on a property investment anywhere in the world. Such confidence is the basis of future growth that benefits everyone.
The South African consortium who now own it has committed itself to investing a further R4 billion to redevelop parts of the Waterfront. We will liaise with these investors to ensure alignment with our own regeneration plans to maximise efficiency, growth and jobs.

From red tape to red carpet

Speaker, I spoke earlier about moving from a red tape to a red carpet environment for people trying to grow our economy. I should make clear that we believe in appropriate regulation to ensure competition and promote sustainability. But we cannot make it so difficult to do business in South Africa that investors prefer to take their skills and capital elsewhere. We have to achieve the right balance.

In some places, like New Zealand, it takes just 24 hours to register a business online. In Rwanda, it takes 72 hours. In South Africa, it takes 22 days, if you are lucky. I know of cases where it has taken years.

That is why Minister Winde will personally and anonymously track six applications for new businesses in the months ahead, step-by-step, to establish if and where blockages occur and whether the Provincial Government has the constitutional power to remove them.

Meanwhile, Minister Bredell‟s team in the Department of Environmental Affairs and Planning is in the process of synthesising the many planning laws and regulations into one overarching piece of legislation. We hope to get to a point where planning processes are quick, simple and frustration-free.

We are also in the process of establishing a unit in the Department of Economic Development and Tourism dedicated to identifying opportunities to cut red-tape. We will engage the City of Cape Town and other governments on establishing an intergovernmental team to cut back red tape.

We hope to get together an external team from the private sector to critique our efforts and identify bottle-necks that we have failed to open up, because they know better than us what the frustrations are.

But the Province cannot cut out red tape alone. That is why I gave President Zuma a 70-page list of national laws and regulations that hamper service delivery. I was gratified that he gave it prominence at a meeting of the President‟s Co-ordinating Council and directed the Minister of Co-operative Governance to investigate each one, and amend legislation where appropriate. The Western Cape is assisting with this process. It is, in itself, bound up in red tape, and will take years. But we have to make a start.

I wish to emphasise again that we recognise that if growth is not environmentally sustainable, it will come to a halt once our natural resources are depleted. This is why we are paying special attention to the green economy – particularly renewable energy, water management, pollution reduction and nature conservation.

Our Green Cape initiative launched last year is a think-tank involving the province‟s brightest green thinkers. Its aim is to turn us into strong international competitors for the tens of billions of rands that will be spent in the renewable energy sector and to facilitate the move to a low carbon economy. The green economy has the potential to create many thousands of jobs.

Future Cape and the establishment of an EDA

Speaker, successful regional economies all have a strong brand that captures the unique characteristics and competitive advantages the region has to offer. If we are going to succeed in bringing investment and jobs to the Western Cape, we will have to market ourselves smartly. For this reason, we are undertaking a process involving all stakeholders designed to position us attractively in the world economy. We are calling this initiative Future Cape.

At the same time, we are currently planning the establishment of a Western Cape Economic Development Agency. The Cape Town Partnership, under the stewardship of Andrew Boraine, has graciously agreed to consult with a variety of stakeholders and role players before presenting us with a plan for the new Agency. He will do so by the end of June. Provided all the relevant processes are properly completed in time, we hope to have the Agency up and running by the beginning of the 2012 financial year.

Speaker, we understand that a growth agenda is not just an urban agenda. Minister Gerrit van Rensburg and the Department of Agriculture have brought new focus to the task of assisting our agricultural sector to become more competitive. In particular, we wish to strengthen our research capability, already the best on this continent, and enhance our ability to help open foreign markets to our agricultural produce. Our recent engagement with Shandong Province in China is an example of this.

In addition, we successfully petitioned the national Minister to reintroduce the excellent share-equity based land reform schemes that were discontinued a year ago. The Minister agreed with our argument that they provide a sustainable way in which to implement land-reform and lifted the moratorium. Another way we are contributing to rural land reform is our project to provide fruit trees to emerging farmers, which has so far benefitted 3,070 people on 21 farms and creating over 200 jobs.


Speaker, last year, the World Economic Forum‟s Global Competitiveness Report concluded that the biggest constraint on South Africa‟s growth is the state of our education, health and criminal justice systems. We have to release this brake if we are to drive growth and deliver opportunities for all.

Our economy would grow much faster if we had more skilled people. And far more people would get jobs if they had the right skills. This is why we are establishing the Provincial Skills Development Forum in which, through partnerships with other actors in the field, we will design and align skills development programmes to meet the demands of our growing economy.

But the foundation of any skills development programme must be our school system, where every child must learn how to read, write and calculate. It was gratifying to hear President Zuma mention the three Ts – time, teachers and texts – in his State of the Nation Address last week.

This was my mantra when I was MEC here, ten years ago. We have now added two more T‟s – technology and testing, which are both vital in a modern education system. It is a great achievement that 1,222 schools in the province have been provided with internet-linked computer centres through the Khanya project, started by the DA provincial government in 2000. There are 245 schools left to go, and they will be wired by the first half of next year. This is the largest technology roll-out of its kind in Africa.

Minister Donald Grant is well aware that turning the education system around starts with dedicated and competent teachers and principals. For them, teaching is a vocation, not a vacation. They are in the classroom every day, present, punctual and prepared. Apart from a parent, it is a teacher that most shapes the lives of a child, for better or for worse. The thousands of dedicated and committed teachers are the real architects of opportunity in the new South Africa. I am delighted to see many more bright young people choosing careers in education.

There is no greater contribution you can make to your country‟s future.
It is time to stop finding every possible excuse for failure and start rewarding effort and outcomes in education. Last year, this House adopted the Western Cape Provincial School Education Amendment Act. Now, for the first time, principals and deputy-principals can be held accountable for their schools‟ results. Those that underperform will receive intensive support, including compulsory training for teachers and principals.

Schools that consistently underperform despite this will face a range of interventions including, if necessary, being re-constituted with a new governing body, a new principal and new teaching staff. These are the kind of tough choices a government needs to make when it makes a priority of jobs and growth.

This tough love approach is beginning to bear fruit. Last year – our first full year in office – the matric pass rate increased for the first time in six years. More importantly, the number of candidates who passed also increased. It is no good improving your percentage pass rate every year if there are fewer and fewer learners progressing through the system. There is no point in fooling ourselves. The key measure of the success of an education system is whether there is universal access in grade one and whether we can keep learners in the system for as long as they can benefit from education and exit at the right point -- literate, numerate, skilled, socialised and employable.

Expanding access to quality schools means investing in school infrastructure. Ten schools are in various stages of construction, with a further 15 schools in the planning phase. The location of each has been carefully planned to secure opportunities for all.

Last month, for example, we opened the Claremont High School – the third Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM centre in our province, a concept started with great effect when the DA was in power briefly a decade ago. These schools seek out learners from diverse backgrounds that have shown an aptitude for science and maths, but who do not have the opportunities that Asavela Rawe had where they are. In a STEM school these young people are guaranteed the foundation they need to become the engineers, scientists, doctors and actuaries of the future.

This year, for the first time ever, anywhere in the country, every child in grades 2-7 will have access to their own maths textbook. We are also the only province to provide reading books for grades 1-6 in the 258 primary schools that serve our poorest communities. Last year, we increased the budget for text books by R101 million. Our goal, in the coming years, is to ensure that every learner has a text book for every subject in every grade. And we are watching technological innovations with great interest. We look forward to the day when learners will be able to download all the necessary textbooks and study material onto affordable mobile devices.

Increasing wellness

Speaker, poor health, like a poor education, robs people of opportunity. Decent healthcare should not be the preserve of those with medical aids in private hospitals. Our goal is to deliver an excellent, value-for-money public healthcare system that prevents, treats and manages disease.
But we need to start with the main causes of ill-health in the province. We spend 80% of our health budget on treating conditions that could be prevented if people made different choices about their lives.

That is why our wellness agenda focuses so heavily on the “downstream” causes of the burden of disease. These include the spread of HIV and TB, domestic violence and road accidents, often fueled by alcohol abuse, as well as “lifestyle” diseases caused by smoking, a lack of exercise and poor eating habits.

Minister Botha and the Department of Health will lead a transversal programme, in which every department will be involved, to tackle each of these drivers of disease head-on.

Already, our „Safely Home‟ campaign has increased the number of roadblocks to stop people driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. We have also opened another Safely Home Anti-Drunk Driving Operations War Room (or SHADOW centre) in George, to test blood alcohol levels, with a third due to be opened in Worcester soon. Since we started „naming and shaming‟ drunk drivers, traffic authorities have reported a decline in drunk driving arrests, despite the increased levels of policing.

And from May last year we began implementing a comprehensive strategy to address drug and alcohol abuse. In addition to reducing drunk driving incidents, we have succeeded in our partnership with the SAPS, in seizing illegal drugs transported on our roads. We have also increased access to treatment for harmful drug and alcohol use. We have opened two new drug treatment centres (one for youth) and a new school-based outpatient treatment programme in the eastern Metropole. And we have extended the availability of subsidised treatment services to nearly every corner of this province. We have increased the number of centres and programmes that we subsidise to provide free treatment to the public from 6 (mostly metro-based) in 2009 to 24 this year, reaching from the Eden District to the West Coast. As a result, the number of patients receiving treatment this year has increased by 25% from last year (from 3700 to 4400). We have also introduced drug testing into all treatment programmes to measure patient progress, and ensured, for the first time, that aftercare and follow-up services are available to everyone who receives subsidised treatment.

Given the scale of the challenge we face, we need to do much more, particularly for our youth. The sooner that drug and alcohol misuse are detected and appropriately addressed, the better our chances of preventing tragic consequences for everyone concerned. We are therefore restructuring the department of social development‟s services to align with our 49 education circuits in order to improve the availability of these services to schools. This coincides with our introduction of drug testing in schools, and a new partnership between Social Development and Education to mainstream drug and alcohol education programmes into Life Orientation for all learners in the province. As in many of our areas of service delivery, a major challenge to the expansion of our services in the field of drug treatment and interventions is a shortage of suitably qualified and skilled professionals. For this reason, we have forged a partnership with the Cape Higher Education Consortium and introduced undergraduate and postgraduate courses (and bursaries) to train professionals with expertise in drug and alcohol treatment at three universities. This partnership underlines just how valuable the Western Cape's quality higher education institutions are to the citizens and economy of this region.

Speaker, the fight against HIV/Aids continues. We have reduced the incidence of mother to child transmission to 3% -- the lowest in the country. Between March and December last year, we doubled the number of antiretroviral access points from 81 to 162. In the last year, we have increased the number of people receiving ARVs by 24,000 to just over 92,000. By the end of this financial year, we will have distributed 75 million condoms. In the second half of last year we have tested and counseled over half a million people.

But for all this, South Africa is still in denial about AIDS. Over the years, various campaigns have urged us to “talk about it”. Talk about what? We mostly talk about the wrong things, because it is too difficult to get to the point. The most important book I read during the recess was Helen Epstein‟s The Invisible Cure. In it she demonstrates, scientifically, why multiple concurrent sexual partners are the real drivers of the AIDS pandemic. We must, of course, make treatment available, and the Western Cape pioneered this under a DA government ten years ago. We will continue to lead from the front. But we still have a long way to go as far as prevention is concerned. If we can prevent preventable diseases there will be so much more to spend on helping those with unavoidable afflictions and disabilities. People living with these conditions also deserve a better life. It is heartbreaking to read of a father who has to risk his life by rowing a boat around the coast from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town to raise money for the treatment his blind child needs so she can distinguish light from darkness.

Speaker, we must also make public health care more accessible.

This year we will complete the Khayelitsha hospital, with the Mitchells Plain hospital due for completion in 2012. New clinics will be built in Kwanokuthula, Malmesbury and Grassy Park. We want to get to a point, eventually, where every person in this province lives in the broad vicinity of a hospital or clinic. And we want to reach the point at which every person has access to chronic medication, even if they are house-bound. A new five year tender will be awarded soon to extend the Chronic Dispensing Unit‟s service in urban and rural areas, and to investigate the feasibility of home delivery.

Increasing access to medication and healthcare facilities is crucial. But we also need to improve the treatment people receive once they are there. Last year, we established an Independent Complaints Commission to investigate complaints of poor quality care at our health facilities. This is a start. But we aim to do more to improve the quality of care. In the second half of this year, we will launch our „2020 vision for healthcare‟ with a focus on the patient experience at its very heart.

Increasing Safety

A very serious impediment to growth is crime, especially violent crime. Not only does it deter investment and cost jobs, but it violates peoples‟ right to live without fear. We have to do what we can, within our limited resources and constitutional mandate, to increase the safety of the citizens of this province.

Under the leadership of Minister Albert Fritz, we will continue to exercise oversight over the South African Police Force as we are mandated to do. And we will do it constructively, with the intention of improving the work of the police and increase the safety of our citizens. This year we hope to finalise provincial draft legislation that will formalise roles and responsibilities when it comes to oversight of the police. We are finalising the necessary amendments to the Provincial Traffic Act to provide for regulations to restrict the use of blue lights on our roads to on-duty police vehicles, operating in an emergency.But, if we are to increase safety in the Western Cape, we have to go beyond oversight. To paraphrase a former British Prime Minister, it is not enough to be tough on crime. We have got to be tough on the causes of crime. In the coming years, using a „whole-of-society‟ approach, we aim to remove opportunities for people to commit crime, create disincentives for criminals to re-offend and remove the longer-term drivers of crime. Our Department of Community Safety, in partnership with some of the province‟s top crime experts, is in the process of compiling a detailed plan to achieve these goals.

Speaker, today I have made the case for a jobs and growth agenda. It involves creating opportunities for all, and using those opportunities, to overcome the legacy of our past. This is a redress strategy that works. It is the opposite of manipulating outcomes to benefit your political cronies.

Building an opportunity society involves everyone. It takes time to establish this culture and for its various components to begin working in harmony with one another. But when this happens, we will reach a tipping point – the point at which there is sufficient momentum for significant and sustained social change. Our goal is to reach that point within a generation.

Caring for the poor

As we approach this goal, we must continue to cushion the effects of extreme poverty. That is why we are redoubling our efforts to increase access to housing and basic services. It is why we support social grants to alleviate poverty. And it is why we are working on a plan to develop socially cohesive communities.

Social cohesion is measured by the extent to which people live together harmoniously, feel a sense of belonging, and participate in the civic and social life of their communities. It is an integral component of the opportunity society we are building. When individuals feel empowered, families are functional and communities are connected, there is less crime, substance abuse, child abuse, unemployment and, ultimately, less poverty.

How do we begin repairing our threadbare social fabric?

This is a question we began grappling with as part of our policy-making process. We don‟t have all the answers yet. And if we get all the other aspects of our plan right, they will serve as a catalyst for cohesion.

In the meantime, we have started a number of initiatives to address social dysfunction.
For example, Minister Ivan Meyer is harnessing the power of sport to get kids off the streets and out of the clutches of the drug dealers. Last year, we established 98 Mass Participation and Opportunity Development Centres or MOD centres, where young people have access to sporting facilities and skills development programmes under the guidance of qualified coaches. Fifty more are due for completion this year.

Children who demonstrate exceptional talent at the MOD centres will be given the opportunity to attend our SHARP centres where they will receive advanced training in their sporting code. They will become the role models that others aspire to be.

A good role model, particularly a functional father figure, is often the difference between success and failure in a child‟s life. Fathers who do not take responsibility for their children perpetuate dysfunctional families. We must break this cycle. Making a baby requires a man to take the responsibilities of fatherhood. Last year, we started a campaign to raise awareness around maintenance defaulters and to track down men who refused to pay what they owe for their children. In a two week period, we found 71 defaulters resulting in 59 arrests. We traced 210 women who had not collected maintenance money that was owed to them, but incredibly, less than a third of them actually went to the Department of Justice to collect their money. It shows that the state can only do so much. At some point personal responsibility has to kick in.

That is also the purpose of a social grant. It should not entrench and perpetuate dependency. It should offer a stepping stone out of extreme poverty. This is what President Zuma meant when he said grants are not intended to turn South Africa into a welfare state. We agree.

That is why, under Minister Patricia de Lille, we have started a programme to link people on the social grants register with suitable employment opportunities. The Expanded Public Works Programme will also play its part to provide people with a temporary income and work experience.

Another crucial component of our poverty alleviation programme is the school nutrition scheme which was last year expanded to include an additional 14,000 learners. Altogether 350,000 learners receive food each day at 998 schools across the province.

Speaker, expanding access to well-located housing is crucial if people are to seize opportunities and not get left behind. It is one of the great challenges we face in this province.

The more our economy grows, and the more people get jobs, the more they can afford to pay something for their accommodation. This will make it feasible to offer a variety of housing options, and move away from the conventional model of an RDP house on a single plot which drives urban sprawl and entrenches apartheid‟s legacy.

Minister Bonginkosi Madikizela is driving a variety of interventions, from formalising backyard shacks, to upgrading existing informal settlements, to providing affordable housing through market mechanisms and densifying existing suburbs. We need much more land for this purpose. The bulk infrastructure alone will cost billions. And we have to move away from the model which assumes, from generation to generation, that everyone is owed a house by the state.

Upgrading informal settlements must be a partnership. And, as we have learnt, it usually generates conflict around a myriad issues, between various community factions. This is rich terrain for opportunists of various kinds to promote their own interests and agendas. It usually results in long delivery delays. We must understand that development includes conflict and proceed nonetheless.

That is why it is good to be able to announce that we will be turning the first sod for the upgrading of the Joe Slovo informal settlement in Langa later this month. It will enable us to partner that community in an incremental upgrade on their current well-located land. New greenfields projects, such as Pelican Park, are making good progress for people who have waited decades on the housing database.

But accommodating people is not possible without access to basic services. This is the job of local government. Our role, under Minister Anton Bredell, is to provide oversight and support to municipalities. I would like to congratulate the local authorities across the Western Cape which was last year ranked number one out of all nine provinces for service delivery in the Universal Household Access to Basic Services or UHABS Index. And particularly for providing, according to an independent survey of the South African Institute of Race Relations, greater access for the poor to free basic services like water, sanitation and waste removal than anywhere else. We must build on these achievements and increase the provision of services still further.

We are expanding the reach of Thusong Centres to give the poor a one-stop shop for government services. In one centre people can pay their municipal accounts, or apply for an ID or social grant, or be trained in starting their own business. Two more Thusong Centres were opened last year in Hawston and Oudtshoorn. Three more will soon be launched in Ceres, Murraysburg and Bitterfontein. Next year two more will be built in Prince Albert and Robertson, and another is in the pipeline for Mossel Bay. We have also introduced a mobile Thusong service to reach more remote rural areas of our province, and will double this service next year.
Speaker we have come a fair way but there is a long distance still to travel and enormous obstacles ahead. As former President Mandela famously said: whenever you cross one hill, there is another mountain to climb.

It is a big step forward that all spheres of government, and all parties, agree that job creating economic growth must be our top priority. At the recent Cabinet Lekgotla I read the framework of the national plan that will be finalised towards the end of this year. I am pleased to say that there is alignment between the emerging national framework and the plan we table here today.

At the Lekgotla, I had the occasion to talk to President Zuma about the future. I asked him to see the Western Cape as an opportunity for South Africa‟s democracy, not as a threat. The architects of our Constitution, in their wisdom, enabled us to disperse power between different parties across provinces if that is the choice of the voters. This gives us a wonderful opportunity to test alternative policy options and measure their outcomes towards our shared goals of growing opportunity and prosperity for all. I said that we would use the full extent of our constitutional powers in the Western Cape to implement our mandate in the interests of our country as a whole.

With his inimitable charm, he agreed. We intend to take him at his word.

By “we”, I refer to the exceptional team that has forged a strong bond during our first 18 months in government. It is impossible to name them all. I cannot do justice to the debt of gratitude I owe the Director General, Brent Gerber and Ryan Coetzee, my special adviser, for leading the policy development process in this province. They, all the Heads of Department, and their staff, have given our vision form and content, provided the road-map, systems and structures to translate good ideas into real results. My office, so ably led by Lorika Elliot, and my private secretary Donnae Strydom who is faithfully at her desk at 05h30 am each morning to manage my life, often well into the night. You, and the rest of the team, have become so much more than colleagues.

And finally, my husband, Johann, Words cannot do justice to him, nor do I need to wear my heart on my sleeve. He knows what he means to me.

Everything we do in the years ahead will extend opportunities for our poorest citizens to escape the poverty vortex. We have the mandate, we have the people and we have a plan.

We can make real the South African dream.

Nkosi Sikelel‟ iAfrika. God seen Afrika. God bless you all.


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