Giving people opportunities to use their freedoms
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.