Giv­ing peo­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties to use their free­doms

CityPress - - Voices -

For any govern­ment, at any level, to cre­ate con­di­tions for sus­tained progress to­wards pros­per­ity for all, re­quires three pre­con­di­tions: the rule of law; a cul­ture of ac­count­abil­ity (in which all mem­bers of so­ci­ety take their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties se­ri­ously); and a ca­pa­ble state that un­der­takes its du­ties ef­fi­ciently, hon­estly and cost-ef­fec­tively.

I’ve made it clear that our over­rid­ing goal is the eco­nomic in­clu­sion of all.

Not only have we achieved a full set of clean fi­nan­cial au­dits, we have also been top of the pres­i­dency’s mon­i­tor­ing and eval­u­a­tion unit’s rat­ings for five years run­ning.

Our un­em­ploy­ment rate is the low­est in South Africa on the broad def­i­ni­tion, which is – I be­lieve – the mea­sure that should be used be­cause it in­cludes un­em­ployed peo­ple who have given up look­ing for work. Our broad un­em­ploy­ment rate is a full 8.2 per­cent­age points lower than that of Gaut­eng, and a full 13.8 points lower than the na­tional fig­ure.

This prov­ince has gained 490 000 new jobs since the fourth quar­ter of 2009, the year the DA took of­fice.

Since the start of this term, we have se­cured over R5.9 bil­lion worth of in­vest­ments for the Western Cape and have also closed a to­tal of 25 trade deals to the value of R8.6 bil­lion since 2014.

Later this year, we are launch­ing the Cape In­vestor Cen­tre. This will serve as a “one-stop shop” for in­vestors, en­abling them to com­plete lo­cal, pro­vin­cial and na­tional reg­u­la­tory pro­cesses in a sin­gle lo­ca­tion.

As we an­a­lyse the growth pro­jec­tions of our pri­or­ity eco­nomic sec­tors, we have con­cluded that we do not have enough of the skills re­quired to fill the jobs that we an­tic­i­pate. Our an­swer is the “Ap­pren­tice­ships Game Changer”, which aims to en­sure that young peo­ple have the nec­es­sary skills for jobs in the sec­tors where de­mand is grow­ing. We have set a tar­get of in­tro­duc­ing 32 500 ap­pren­tices into the labour mar­ket by 2019 to meet the needs of a grow­ing prov­ince.

We will do this by work­ing with rel­e­vant Sec­tor Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing Au­thor­i­ties, em­ploy­ers, learn­ers and their par­ents.

Land re­form: We are the only prov­ince to com­mis­sion an ex­ter­nal eval­u­a­tion of all land re­form farms within its bound­aries.

Since 2014, we have fa­cil­i­tated over R400 mil­lion in con­di­tional grant fund­ing to 293 agri­cul­tural en­ter­prises op­er­at­ing on land re­form farms.

Equally im­por­tant is ur­ban land re­form, which can be an im­por­tant em­pow­er­ment tool.

We’ve de­liv­ered over 75 300 ti­tle deeds to ben­e­fi­cia­ries since 2009. We have also brought the ti­tle deed back­log down to 28% – na­tion­ally it is 59%.

Hous­ing: The trend in hous­ing pol­icy na­tion­ally is to in­creas­ingly move in the di­rec­tion of en­sur­ing that peo­ple con­trib­ute some­thing to­wards their hous­ing.

This in­volves a shift to what is called so­cial hous­ing, usu­ally rental stock, but also af­ford­able gap hous­ing.

The to­tal value of po­ten­tial af­ford­able hous­ing projects in the pipe­line now stands at over 40 000 units worth R3.2 bil­lion.

Broad­band: Through our Broad­band Game Changer, full cov­er­age of over 1 900 sites – as orig­i­nally planned – will be com­pleted by April this year.

A to­tal of 95.4% of learn­ers will at­tend a school con­nected to our wide-area broad­band net­work by April this year. We also plan to de­liver Wi-Fi to ev­ery ward by early 2018. Statis­tics show how web traf­fic is grow­ing in our schools. Page hits have in­creased from 375 mil­lion in June 2015 to over 3.8 bil­lion page hits in Jan­uary this year.

We are build­ing a strong ed­u­ca­tional base that fo­cuses on im­prov­ing qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion for the poor. When the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion took of­fice in 2009, the pass rate in Quin­tile 1 schools (the poor­est) was 57%. Last year it was 75%.

In health, we’ve spent R5 bil­lion on cap­i­tal in­fra­struc­ture since we took of­fice in 2009.

Our medicine distri­bu­tion sys­tem en­sures that stock-outs do not oc­cur in our fa­cil­i­ties for any med­i­ca­tion the prov­ince is re­spon­si­ble for procur­ing. Which brings me to pub­lic safety in gen­eral. If we could get this right, it would be the big­gest gamechanger of all, but we do not have the con­sti­tu­tional man­date to per­form this func­tion.

The po­lice, and the en­tire crim­i­nal jus­tice pipe­line, are a man­date of na­tional govern­ment. We have over­sight pow­ers, which we are us­ing to their fullest ex­tent.

The pres­i­dent has been mak­ing prom­ises for sev­eral years now about rein­tro­duc­ing spe­cialised units to com­bat drugs, guns and gangs. This is yet to ma­te­ri­alise.

Be­sides po­lice un­der­re­sourc­ing, alcohol abuse is also a lead­ing driver of crime, ve­hi­cle crashes and in­ter­per­sonal vi­o­lence.

Through changes to the pro­vin­cial Liquor Act, the max­i­mum fine for il­le­gal trad­ing has in­creased from R20 000 to R100 000 per in­ci­dent.

We will also be ap­point­ing five more liquor in­spec­tors to ex­tend the mon­i­tor­ing of the sys­tem.

We have set our­selves enor­mous stretch tar­gets, and we are pur­su­ing them tire­lessly to achieve our long-term vi­sion.

Which is sim­ply this: to give ev­ery per­son liv­ing in this prov­ince the op­por­tu­ni­ties they need to use their free­doms, in or­der to live lives they value.

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