Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde shared his views on where things are going in the province and beyond at a recent PSG Think Big webinar. While the Western Cape is often seen as a more successful story than other parts of the country, to improve the story nationally, it will take working together, some re-writing of the plan, knocking down silos and banding together as a nation.
Serial entrepreneur and political enthusiast, Winde has worked his way up from developing several businesses in Knysna, where he first got his political feet wet, to working within the opposition. Decades later, his passions and position as Premier see him championing change in the Western Cape and further afield. And change urgently needs to happen.
Off the back of the DA’s majority holding in the Western Cape, which it hopes to hold onto at local elections later this year, and a governance plan to boot, Winde is in the habit of keeping up with what is working, while focusing attention on service delivery and the safety and wellbeing of citizens.
Safety is a key issue and paramount to attracting further investment
Power should be closer to the people, but in the meantime, Winde believes in doing what can be done and the Western Cape has increased policing and offers programmes to deter youth from joining gangs, while remaining within the provisions of the Constitution. “We are promoting safer schools, but all of government and society must cooperate to see change. We want to halve the murder rate and the ten-year plan works towards this. Our traffic patrol is on the highways to inhibit the movement of drugs, more canine units have been deployed and we have just rolled out safety ambassadors in some communities.”
The Western Cape is an appealing province to live in but there aren’t enough places to live or work, or to do so affordably, so this drives informal settlements, and poverty drives crime. But there are also many new residents coming in who are contributing gainfully to the economy. Entrepreneurship and developments are important components to improving the picture. “The mindset at the southern tip of Africa achieves things and there is hope,” he said.
Getting safety right alongside increasing employment opportunities is a recipe for success, and education is another area that is ripe for assistance. A great example is the new Curro school that opened in Delft. The saving on the cost of commuting to a private school also makes for a safer way to get an education, closer to home. Winde said that more private/public partnerships like this can make a big difference.
When Covid came to the Cape
When the pandemic first hit, Winde met with all Western Cape ministers, heads of department, mayors, and municipal managers, as well as the police almost every second day. “What stands out is how silos were broken down through mixing up portfolios, so different people across departments were assisting on new tasks but the same goals, and despite the trauma and loss, it’s also been exciting because we have a focus that has actually changed the way government thinks.”
Among success stories, the Western Cape’s field hospital that is also the biggest on the continent, was put together in just six weeks, and medicine delivery to the elderly and those with co-morbidities has forever changed.
“A partnership between The Gates Foundation, Uber, NGOs and the Health Department has enabled 1.3 million medicine parcels to reach most at risk citizens at home, and this must continue.” Winde went on to say fights with the taxis have been replaced with co-ordination, particularly to help health workers commute safely on public transport. “Relationships have changed, and 1300 taxis are now extending the message of great customer service to other taxis.”
The country is still operating under the Disaster Management Act and Winde said this needs to stop as regulations allow for some to take advantage, such as with land grabs. “We should also look globally to good examples of how to properly support our homeless. We have Think Tanks addressing this locally, but we don’t yet have the answers.”
Wherever you might be based in South Africa and whatever your unique financial circumstances, these uncertain times can be eased with the help of a skilled financial adviser, added Schalk Louw, Portfolio Manager and Strategist at PSG Wealth, who hosted the discussion.
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