W Cape DA leader from E Cape roots

Madik­izela tar­gets 1.6 mil­lion votes for 2019 elec­tions

Daily Dispatch - - News -

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.

Pic­ture: GALLO IM­AGES

TAK­ING THE REINS: Bonginkosi Madik­izela was ap­pointed as DA leader in the West­ern Cape last week

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