W Cape DA leader from E Cape roots
Madikizela targets 1.6 million votes for 2019 elections
NEWLY elected DA Western Cape provincial leader BONGINKOSI MADIKIZELA spoke with the Saturday Dispatch politics reporter SIMTHANDILE FORD on his plans for the party’s heartland, the Western Cape, a province which houses thousands of Eastern Cape migrant workers and jobseekers. QUESTION: What is the value of the Western Cape in the Democratic Alliance as a whole? ANSWER: The DA values all provinces, the only difference is that [the] Western Cape is the only province we are governing, and we will fight to keep it with increased majority. Q: The responsibility of leading such a province, how much pressure has it put on you? A: Being a leader of the only province we are governing comes with a huge responsibility. Fortunately I have been part of Western Cape government for 8½ years, serving as the MEC for human settlements. I have also been part of the provincial executive committee since 2015.
This gives me a good insight and experience on how to tackle the challenges we are facing. Q: The Western Cape has always had an influx of people coming from all other provinces, particularly from the Eastern Cape looking for better opportunities. What are your plans for those groups in terms of improving their lives? A: Influx is a politically incorrect term to use, people migrate to areas where they have better prospects to find jobs – Western Cape presents that opportunity.
We are already changing their lives – it’s easier to get a job here that’s why we have the lowest unemployment rate in SA. We have fewer number of discouraged job seekers in the province. We also have the lowest poverty rate at 2.7%. Q: The housing issue for these jobseekers has always been the dark side of the Western Cape, especially for world class Cape Town. What is your personal view of those living conditions and what will be your approach? A: Housing issue is not a dark side in [the] Western Cape, I don’t know what informs that. Western Cape is a big construction site with developments taking place in all corners of the province.
The housing challenge is a national one, not unique in [the] Western Cape. The population is growing faster than the economy, the demand far outweighs the supply.
In [the] Western Cape we are doing things differently, by identifying the most deserving people to be assisted by the state. Not every person who comes to the province deserves a free house from government because some have homes, they just need a place to stay while looking for jobs. Q: You have been receiving the media’s attention for stories of abuse of position including the [alleged] misuse of government vehicles. What are your views on the impact of those stories on your career? A: Negative media attention was very damaging because it was an attempt to tarnish my image in order to influence the outcome of the congress.
What was more disturbing though was a deliberate distortion by certain journalists with ulterior motives who have become very politically involved in political contestations.
As the MEC, I also have a responsibility to serve my constituency which is a political work – I’m allowed by law to use my state vehicle to do that. Your comments gave the impression that it was wrong to do that without any understanding of the ministerial handbook.
Comparison with [the] ANC was also ill-informed and clearly indicated you didn’t bother to look at the difference between our ministerial handbook and ANC governments.
On the national government ministerial handbook and all ANC provinces, executive members (ministers, MEC’s, speakers and chief whips) can buy cars for up to 70% of their annual salaries. In the Western Cape we reduced that to 40%.
They fly business class while we use economy class. Q: What will be your role towards the 2019 project which is focused on the general elections? A: My role will be pivotal in ensuring that we achieve the target of 1.6 million votes we need to increase our majority in [the] Western Cape and contribute to the national target. I have to make sure that all our members are now focused and ready to work.
TAKING THE REINS: Bonginkosi Madikizela was appointed as DA leader in the Western Cape last week