State of the Province address 2014
20 June 2014
Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered today by Premier Helen Zille in her Western Cape State of the Province Address.
Welcome to the opening of the fifth democratically elected Western Cape Provincial Parliament.
This is my second "State of the Province" address this year. Since the first in February, voters have given us the privilege of a second mandate to continue the work we have started. We will try every day to justify your faith in us.
During our first five years in office we put the systems, structures and budgets in place, as a firm foundation for the partnerships that are necessary to build an "open, opportunity society for all". It is important to point out that vision is actually the cornerstone of our constitution.
The concept of the Open Society is raised in the first clause of its Founding Provisions, and the rest of our constitution sets out how each individual's rights will be protected and their opportunities expanded, so that they can improve their lives. Progress is not assumed; it has to be achieved. And it is only possible if we work together. That is why we sum up our approach in two words: Better Together.
Madam Speaker, this government's primary contribution towards progress is to continue redressing the legacy of apartheid, through opening opportunity, and ensuring that people have what is needed to use these opportunities to improve their lives.
We agree with President Zuma that the most effective starting point in the fight against poverty is getting a job.
It is also the point of departure of the National Development Plan (NDP), a framework for growth and progress supported by all major parties and by this provincial government as well. Every proposal in the NDP is designed to create the conditions for job-creating economic growth. And we also agree with President Zuma's SONA statement that this can only occur if there is increased investment, particularly in the productive job-creating sectors of our economy.
We have already publicly committed to being a pioneering province in implementing further aspects of the NDP. This requires three components: competent government; active citizens, and committed leadership in all spheres of society.
We will fulfill the competent government requirement, but we cannot do this without the full co-operation of competent local and national government, given the division of powers in our constitution. We must work with leaders in the private sector and civil society as well. But in the end, it is the collective effort of individual citizens who seek and use opportunities that drives development. South African citizens need to demand as much from themselves as they do from their government.
Today, I will outline some of the key priorities we will focus on during our second term in the life of the 5th Parliament.
But before I begin, I would like to welcome the many new members recently sworn into the legislature, on both sides of the house. Our government recognises the crucial role a strong opposition plays in a constitutional democracy and I sincerely hope that constructive dialogue and debate will supersede obstructive, polarising politics during our sittings.
Let us begin this term with consensus on one point: we all want the Western Cape to succeed because we want South Africa to succeed. I look forward to working with all parties to achieve this objective.
Madam Speaker, as I have already stated, the Western Cape Government supports most of the objectives of the NDP. Our Provincial Development Plan (PDP) extending to 2030, will coordinate the plans and actions of all governmental roleplayers, and ensure that the budgets of all organs of state are aligned to achieve maximum socio-economic impact. In other words, what government does must change people's lives.
We recognise that municipalities are the coalface of service delivery and we plan to further enhance our Municipal Support Programmes for sustainable development.
One of these interventions is the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrade (VPUU) programme, which we are extending, backed by a significant new investment of R71-million from the German Development Bank, into the Drakenstein, Theewaterskloof municipalities with a matching amount from the Provincial government in Saldanha, Swartland and Breede Vallei.
This programme has already increased living standards and brought down crime significantly in Harare, Khayelitsha, where it has been implemented. So far the German government has invested over R250-million in this crucial project, which has been extended to other nodes in Cape Town. We are pleased that the German government believes the social return is good enough to expand this work, and I would like to congratulate all involved.
Madam Speaker, both the NDP and our government recognise that infrastructure investment is necessary for growth.
Over the next three financial years we plan to spend over R14.5 billion on maintenance and new and replacement infrastructure in the province.
One of our main priorities is making the Western Cape a leader in broadband access. This is essential if we want to grow the economy, create jobs and become internationally competitive.
Over the past two years our broadband project was delayed by the enforcement of national compliance requirements, which threatened the delivery targets we set ourselves. This has been a source of intense frustration.
I am therefore very pleased to announce that the Western Cape Government, the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) and Neotel signed a strategic agreement this morning to provide broadband services to approximately 2 000 government sites, including schools, libraries and health facilities over the next two to three years. By May 2016, all sites will be connected with minimum speeds of 10Mbps under this agreement. By August 2018, most sites will be connected by fibre optic cables with 90% of sites enjoying 100Mbps speeds and 10% enjoying 1Gbps speeds.
Our Government is also committed to ensuring that our communities can tangibly benefit from this agreement. Neotel has therefore generously committed to funding the infrastructure rollout of 384 WIFI Hotspots, using Western Cape Government buildings, which will cover almost every ward in the province. Our government will be subsidizing the free portion of citizens' internet access.
These WIFI Hotspots will be rolled-out over a period of four years, as Neotel builds the fibre network. This means that every citizen will have the opportunity to access "limited free" internet at the WIFI hotspots across the province.
We believe the rollout of these hotspots will be a game changer for development. It will help reduce the digital divide, make economic opportunities more accessible and generate new business opportunities.
To this end, the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism will also establish a new business incubator to support entrepreneurial talent and aspiring ‘techies' in disadvantaged communities to develop software and innovative applications. Our internationally acclaimed bandwidth barn has achieved outstanding success and it is time to replicate this concept.
Neotel has also committed to spending approximately 25% of the value of their contract with local companies. They will use a number of small businesses as well as local labour during the construction of the network, creating jobs throughout the province.
They have also agreed to provide seed funding for the establishment of a Western Cape Broadband Foundation which will focus on leveraging private sector contributions and funding to help deliver innovative broadband-related services as widely as possible.
I would like to welcome Mr Sunil Joshi the CEO of Neotel, who is here as a special guest today. We look forward to working with you, and with SITA to deliver this ground breaking project over the next few years. I would like to thank Mr Freeman Nomvalo of SITA in his absence for helping us cut through the endless reams of red tape.
Madam Speaker, we also agree with the NDP's premise that small and medium size firms (SMEs) are the key to economic growth and job creation in South Africa. The NDP envisages small and expanding businesses potentially creating 90% of jobs in the country by 2030. However, this is only possible if South Africa offers a welcoming and enabling environment for entrepreneurship.
This is what our government's Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development programmes aim to do. Through our twenty access points across the province we will continue providing business development, procurement support and access to finance to thousands of SMEs. Over R179-million has been budgeted for these programmes over the next three years
The Red Tape reduction unit will continue making the province an easier place to do business. We will also ensure that any new measures introduced by our government do not increase the regulatory obstacles to doing business in the province.
Madam Speaker, we also plan to challenge any new legislation or policies introduced by other spheres of government that make it difficult for businesses to start, grow and prosper. A good example is the immigration laws recently introduced by the national department of Home Affairs, which threaten the film, business and leisure tourism industry.
President Zuma indicated during his SONA on Tuesday night that the national government aims to increase the contribution of tourism to the country's revenue to more than R125 billion by 2017. If he is serious about achieving this aim he will call for an urgent review of these new laws. If he is serious about growing jobs he must demonstrate that through the government's actions, not say one thing and do another.
We have already arranged top level engagements with the department of Home Affairs on this legislation. If this fails we will consider initiating or participating in litigation on this matter. These kinds of laws destroy economic growth, penalise law abiding citizens and are largely unenforceable against people who enter South Africa illegally.
If we make jobs our priority, young entrepreneurs are South Africa's greatest asset.
I am therefore delighted to welcome Drs Yaseen Khan and Mohammed Dalwai who are two local entrepreneurs and the founders of the Open Medicine Project South Africa, a non-profit organisation that aims to improve health care by developing innovative, technological, clinical tools for health practitioners.
One of the tools they have developed is an app for nurses in waiting rooms at community health care centres. The app allows nurses to triage patients and is aimed at creating shorter waiting times at health facilities. The Western Cape department of health piloted this app at the Khayelitsha District Hospital. It was so successful that we are investigating implementing the app at all emergency centres in the future.
Ms Nisreen Bulbulia, is also here today. She is the co-owner of the airport shuttle company City Hopper. Last year, at the age of 24, her company won the Eteya award at the national Lilizela tourism awards, which recognises excellence in black-owned small businesses. The business employs over 40 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and focuses on teaching them the necessary skills to become successful entrepreneurs in the tourism industry in the future.
Finally, I would also like to welcome Thembi Tsotetsi who co-owns Kaltsha glass in Khayelitsha. Two years ago she noticed there was a need for an affordable glass-fitting business in the area particularly for uninsured taxi drivers who could not afford to fix their damaged windscreens. Like all entrepreneurs, when she saw a problem, she sought an innovative solution to turn into a business.
Last year, she participated in the Small Business Academy Development Programme offered by the University of Stellenbosch Business School, which provides training to SME owners in townships to make their businesses more sustainable. Thembi came top of her class. She says the skills she acquired have revolutionised her business. She currently employs four people and has expansion plans.
These four young people are examples of what can be achieved if citizens are willing to work hard, find and use their opportunities and take responsibility for improving their lives. In the process, they are meeting a need and transforming the lives of others.
Madam Speaker, we will also continue to focus on growing our key job creation sectors in this province.
First, our tourism industry is one of our biggest revenue generators and employs over 150 000 people. The tourism sector had one of its best seasons last December reaching pre-recession levels. This trend has continued during the first half of this year. We will continue to strengthen our international marketing to grow the tourism industry's contribution to the region's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 10% to 15%, by 2020 and increase the number of visitor arrivals by between 3 and 5 percent.
The Western Cape has also positioned itself as the leading call centre destination on the continent. There are currently over 40 000 people employed in the province's Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector. We aim to create 70 000 work opportunities over the next five years by continuing to market ourselves as the leading offshore hub for the BPO and ICT industry. We have budgeted R39.54 million towards both industries over the next three years.
We will also focus on the aquaculture industry, which will help bring down the high unemployment levels in many of our rural and coastal areas.
Currently this sector employs around 2300 people in the province, which is 78% of the total number of workers in the industry country wide. A study conducted by the Western Cape department of Economic Development and Tourism has estimated that in order to maintain the current level of fish consumption worldwide, global aquaculture production would have to grow from 45.5-million tons a year - as recorded in 2004 - to 80-million tons by 2050. This increasing demand is a major opportunity for the province's aquaculture industry.
We have, in partnership with the Western Cape Aquaculture Development Initiative and the Matzikama Municipality, identified Doringbaai as a potential aquaculture hotspot in the province.
Plans are already underway to expand the existing Doringbaai Abalone Farm, the first community abalone farm in the country, to a 300 ton production facility.
We have also identified two additional suitable sites in Doringbaai for abalone and/or salmon farming. Two investors have already committed to invest more than R500 million during the first phase of development. The production capacity of abalone farming in Doringbaai is planned to grow to 1 000 tonnes in the future. It is estimated that approximately one direct job and one indirect job will be created for every ton of production.
Doing the maths, these three projects should create 2 600 jobs over the next few years and will stimulate job creation in related industries.
The Western Cape Government has committed R1 million to facilitate the environmental impact assessments on the identified sites in order to unlock this investment as soon as possible.
We also plan to apply to the National Department of Trade and Industry to declare the area between Hermanus and Gansbaai a special economic zone (SEZ) so that abalone farmers receive special tariffs and incentives in order to increase their production, grow real jobs and reduce poaching.
We will also continue to push for the development of the twelve small fishing harbours during our second term. If various national departments continue to block our efforts in this regard, we will resort to the legal remedies available to us. It is time to remind national government that, while we are committed to co-operation, the constitutional mandate for small harbours lies with local government. We have already put national government to terms as far as their tardiness has been concerned, and we will take the next legal steps very soon.
The Oil and Gas sector will also remain a priority sector. Over the past five years we focused on the development of the Saldanha Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), which was officially launched at the end of last year. We intend positioning this zone as the key logistics hub of Africa for the Oil and Gas Servicing Industry.
We are investing nearly R90 million into the IDZ over the next three financial years in order to manage the planning and implementation of the project and to develop skills so that people qualify for the jobs that eventuate. We envisage that the Oil and Gas sector will create 13,000 jobs by 2020.
Last week, I hosted a media briefing where I provided an update on some of our key achievements in the Western Cape Green Economy since we launched our Green Economy Strategic Framework last year. Most significantly, our investment mapping found that an estimated R20bn has already been allocated to actual and planned investment in the Western Cape renewable energy sector. The proposed establishment of a cleantech SEZ in Atlantis is another important achievement.
We have also made major progress towards becoming the leading renewable energy centre in South Africa and now house much of the high level expertise and development capacity in this field.
This trend will continue with the establishment of the South African Renewable Energy Technical Centre (SARATEC) at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) which will provide specialised training for the renewable energy sector. The Western Cape Government, through is special purpose vehicle GreenCape, is providing support to this centre and the first student intake is expected next year.
We are also investigating alternative, greener fuels, with natural gas being a key priority focus that complements our energy shift to renewables.
We are also working with municipalities on smart grid technologies, to increase efficiencies in electricity distribution and revenues. We remain committed to safeguarding our natural assets that are the bedrock of tourism and agriculture as well as certain manufacturing industries. The twin crises of electricity shortages and climate change have created many new entrepreneurial opportunities and we are positioning the Western Cape to make the fullest possible use of them.
The agricultural sector remains one of the most important generators of growth and jobs in the province. It has the potential of revitalising rural economies and transforming the lives of the most marginalised communities.
That is why we remain committed to supporting small-scale farmers and agricultural empowerment projects as well as increasing market access for our province's export products
Europe is still an important market for South Africa and the Western Cape, even though agricultural exports flattened during the period 2009 to 2011. These exports have picked up again and increased from R14.4 billion in 2011 to R20.2 billion in 2013. However the recent economic downturn in Europe had a negative impact on our region's agricultural exports, which has highlighted our over-reliance on the European market.
We need to continue focusing on exploring and growing new markets, especially in Asia and Africa, while maintaining our existing relationships with our traditional markets. Africa is envisaged to have the highest population growth globally over the next 90 years, more than tripling from 1 billion in 2011 to 3.6 billion in 2100. It is crucial that our province targets the demand for agri-exports that will arise from this population growth.
That is why it is encouraging that our exports to Africa have increased from R960 million in 2001 to R6.4 billion in 2013, with greater growth to follow.
We will also continue to prioritise our broad based black economic empowerment initiatives aimed at increasing market access for black smallholder and commercial farmers. An amount of R12.5 million has been budgeted for our Market Access Programmes over the next five years. A total of 91 black farmers have already benefitted from this programme.
Madam Speaker, we welcome President Zuma's announcement that the national government aims to speed up land reform and provide technical, infrastructural and financial support to smallholder farmers.
We will continue to lobby national government to provide the funding needed to expand the highly successful equity share schemes in the Western Cape. These projects have resulted in the real empowerment of beneficiaries through skills transfer and security of tenure.
We will also continue our farm worker surveys to ascertain service delivery priorities across the province. They will be completed in the Cape Winelands, West Coast and Eden District municipalities during the current financial year and will then move to the Central Karoo and Cape Metropole.
We will engage all three spheres of government to meet the service needs of farm workers, as we all have different mandates in this regard. We will also expand our flagship Farm Worker of the Year Competition. This year more than 1000 farm workers have entered from 16 regions.
The Western Cape department of agriculture also plans to spend R163-million on skills development programmes targeting youth in the agricultural sector over the next three years.
Skills development remains one of our top priorities. We agree with the NDP that education and skills development are critical to creating sustainable employment.
One of the major threats to the future growth of our key economic sectors is the shortage of specialist skills in a number of fields including the financial, engineering, ICT, artisan and green sectors.
The Western Cape department of economic development and tourism has also budgeted R128.7 million for the next three years on skills development programmes.
We will continue our highly successful Premier's Advancement of Youth (PAY) project that provides internships for matriculants, with on-the-job training in government departments for a year. We are pleased that President Zuma announced that all government departments nationally will be required to follow suit.
Last year, we also launched the Artisan Development Programme in partnership with the private sector, Skills Education Training Authorities (SETAs) and FET Colleges. The initiative aims to create a pipeline of qualified artisans who can contribute to growing the emerging sectors of our economy such as the Oil and Gas industry.
We have received an overwhelming response from young people who have struggled to find placements at companies to complete their in-service training. R10.8 million has been allocated to this programme over the next three years.
We also placed 1000 young people at companies at the end of the 2013/14 financial year under our Work and Skills programme and will place an additional 750 learners in each of the 2014/15 and 2015/16 financial years.
Our government has also started working on the development of an e-skills platform that will serve as an integrated tool for government, higher education and the private sector to engage with one another in order to match skills development programmes to current skills shortages and for citizens to access career-related training and advice.
However, we also recognise that the most important skills intervention we can make is ensuring every child has access to a quality basic education that will enable them to take advantage of future opportunities.
Just over four years ago, the Western Cape Government released its strategic plan to improve education quality to 2019.
Half way through this period, we can say that we are making good progress towards achieving our objectives, which include:
- improving Language and Mathematics in our Primary Schools;
- improving the number and quality of passes in the National Senior Certificate;
- Reducing the number of under-performing schools; and
- Increasing the retention rate at schools across the province.
What we have today is a maturing provincial education system which has responded positively to a number of systemic improvements over the last few years.
During our second term we will continue implementing this plan and ensure greater stability in our system to maintain continuous improvement in education. The bulk of our education budget will continue to be spent on underprivileged learners and we are investigating additional ways to provide food and other poverty-alleviation measures over and above the many programmes we already have in schools in the poorest quintiles.
Our key focus areas will be:
Improving language and mathematics outcomes. Central to this strategy will be the improvement of classroom practice, specifically the reading of more complex texts and extended writing, with support from the department through the provision of additional learner support materials, curriculum advice, and additional time spent teaching.
Improving the quality of leadership and teaching in our schools and enhancing accountability both at district level and schools. All schools will be required to continue setting improvement targets in each grade, especially for literacy and numeracy. These targets will be used as benchmarks for evaluating performance, particularly in the management of schools and districts. We will also be investigating the possibility of further incentives for schools and educators based on performance.
The Strengthening of School Governing Bodies. School governance is becoming an increasingly complex and demanding task for a large body of volunteers. We will streamline and strengthen training programmes ahead of the 2015 school governing body elections, to focus on leadership, management, financial management and disciplinary processes.
Creating safe and welcoming environments for optimal learning. We will continue to work with other government departments, most importantly the South African Police Service (SAPS) and civil society organisations to improve school safety. This year we will also expand our co-operation with the Metro Police in order to promote greater community involvement in schools.
Improving infrastructure and facilities at schools. We will continue to build schools in areas with expanding needs, and replace schools with inappropriate structures. While we have increased the school maintenance budget by more than 50% over the last three years, we plan to direct even more money towards maintenance in the future.
Improving access to learning support material. We will expand the use of technology inside the classroom, as well as providing additional resources that can be accessed from home. Through the provincial government's broadband project we will also improve the technology infrastructure at schools for teaching and learning.
We will continue to conduct rigorous competency testing for our matric markers and systemic, internationally bench-marked language and mathematic testing for all learners in Grades 3, 6 and 9 in order to determine the levels of learners' abilities so we can identify and target weaknesses and improve outcomes. We are still the only provincial government conducting both these kinds of tests.
We believe that holding our schools, teachers and learners to a much higher standard is the reason why we have seen a gradual improvement in both mathematics and language outcomes at a foundation phase and the number and quality of passes in the National Senior Certificate over the last few years.
Madam Speaker, meeting the health needs of an ever expanding population with a limited budget requires innovative thinking and strong partnerships with the private sector.
Our second term will be guided by the Healthcare 2030 framework, which was developed in conjunction with a range of stakeholders and strategic partners in the private sector and civil society. The framework was endorsed by Cabinet and will now be converted into key priorities that we will focus on over the next five years.
This will include spending nearly R3.3 billion building new health facilities and upgrading existing clinics and hospitals over the next five years.
We will be replacing a number of clinics including those in Prince Alfred Hamlet, Wolseley, Beaufort West, Sedgefield, Napier and Villiersdorp.
We will also be building new or replacing community day centres (CDC's) in Hermanus, George, Ravensmead, Hanover Park, District Six, Ceres, Kayamandi and Vredenburg.
There will also be upgrades to a number of hospitals across the province.
Despite sustained progress, there are a number of social challenges we face that compromise our education outcomes and threaten job creation, particularly amongst our youth.
These problems include:
- The increasing numbers of people abusing alcohol and drugs in the province;
- The constant gang violence in hotspot areas and the recruitment of younger children into gangs;
- The trend towards unprotected sex with multiple sexual partners as well as inter-generational sex; and
- The large number of teenage pregnancies.
We have struggled to address these challenges during our first term in government. This is mainly because our provincial government can't solve problems on its own. We need all government departments and institutions, civil society, communities, and particularly parents and individuals to play their part. No government can compensate for the role that responsible, committed parents must play in the lives of their children. That is the bedrock of a functional society.
Studies have shown that a functional father figure often makes the difference between a child's future success or failure. It is therefore highly concerning that currently almost 60% of Western Cape children grow up with "absent fathers". Far too many men make babies and walk away from them. We want to make it much harder to do so, and will continue our campaign to ensure that maintenance defaulters are blacklisted by Credit Bureaux.
Our Youth Development Strategy, launched earlier this year, focuses on interventions to provide support to young and vulnerable parents and caregivers. These include providing them with information on child development and strengthening their capacity to care for, and support, their children through mentorship and training programmes.
We will also continue to create safe spaces for young people where they can learn, take part in recreational activities and be exposed to positive role models and messaging.
One of our government's flagship interventions under our Youth Development Strategy is our after school Mass Participation Opportunity and Development (MOD) programme, which we started four years ago.
There are now over 181 MOD centres based at schools across the province, which offer learners a safe, fun place to play sport, participate in cultural activities and study after school. The Western Cape department of social development also supplies meals to all learners attending these MOD centres each day.
The interest shown by learners when it comes to attending their local MOD centre has been increasing.
An example is the De Tuinen MOD centre in Worcester, where nearly 200 learners attend the after school programme each day.
Two years ago, the centre started focusing on baseball while continuing to run other cultural and sporting activities.
Two of the members of the De Tuinen baseball team have subsequently been selected to represent Boland in the provincial baseball league. And Laydin Andrews was recently selected to play in the South African under 15 team that will be participating in the under 15 Baseball World Cup, in Mexico, in August 2014. This is what we mean by expanding opportunities so that our young people can use them.
There is also a close relationship between learners and coaches at the De Tuinen centre. Coaches are regarded as mentors by learners and are often asked for advice on a wide range of social issues.
Our aim is to replicate the success of De Tuinen at all our other MOD centres in the province so that as many young people as possible are kept off the streets and away from drugs, alcohol and gangs.
We will also be using the MOD programme to launch an exciting new initiative called the "Youth Gap Year" volunteer programme, which will start at the beginning of next year. The programme will involve top matric and university graduates, locally and internationally, taking part in a gap year to tutor learners in our MOD centres after formal school hours.
During the second half of this year we will be inviting qualifying school leavers and university graduates to apply. We aim to sign up 120 volunteers who will begin tutoring at the beginning of the 2015 school year. We plan to expand the programme to 300 tutors in the long run.
Another example of a safe space created by our government is the highly successful Youth Café in Rocklands, which was opened by the Western Cape department of social development in January, and where young people can participate in a range of entrepreneurial skills development programmes. Minister Albert Fritz will be launching another Youth Café early next month at Vangate Mall in Athlone. We aim to continue opening more Youth Cafés, in partnership with the private sector, in other parts of the province in the near future.
We also plan to replicate the successes we have had at out Chrysalis Academy in other parts of the province. This programme offers at-risk youth a structured residential programme where they receive occupational and life skills training which opens further education and work opportunities. The European Union has made funding available to establish a similar Youth Academy at Wolwekloof in Ceres, and we are deeply grateful for this.
The provincial department of social development will also focus on expanding non-residential diversion programmes for young offenders over the next five years.
We also implemented a comprehensive plan to tackle substance addictions in the province during our first term.
While the Western Cape department of social development increased its treatment capacity to nearly 5000 patients per year, and grew the number of treatment programmes it funds from 7 in 2008 to 24 this year, we still have waiting lists of three to six months at many treatment centres due to the growing demand for services.
In particular, the need for specialised treatment programmes for children and adolescents is becoming increasingly urgent as the average age of patients continues to drop, which is extremely worrying.
In order to address this problem, the provincial department of social development intends introducing drug treatment programmes in all of our Child and Youth Care Centres over the next five years. The first of these programmes has already been introduced at the Horizon Child and Youth Care Centre in Eerste River. It will also be necessary to introduce drug prevention programmes in our MOD Centres.
Another major challenge we face is the abuse of alcohol in our communities. A recent World Health Organisation (WHO) global status report found that South Africans aged 15 years and older consume an average of 8.2 litres of pure alcohol per annum, which is well above the global average.
Madam Speaker, alcohol abuse has a myriad negative consequences for our society including fetal alcohol syndrome, which severely stunts children's mental and social development; increased risky sexual behaviour; teenage pregnancies and the spread of HIV; an increase in patients with chronic diseases and trauma related injuries; fatal crashes on our roads; and violent crime, particularly domestic violence.
A cross-sectional study, conducted by our government, of trauma units in Khayelitsha, Nyanga and Elsies River over a one-week period found that alcohol use was reported or suspected in over half (53.2%) of all violent injuries.
We have introduced a range of interventions to tackle this scourge over the last five years including:
We passed the Western Cape Liquor Act aimed at restricting access to alcohol. The Western Cape Liquor Authority has a range of interventions geared towards eradicating alcohol abuse and enforcing liquor laws at legal outlets;
The Western Cape Government's traffic department is the only traffic department in the country to operate on a 24/7 basis, conducting weekly alcohol road blitzes and road blocks, which has helped reduce road related fatalities by 28% since 2009.
However, it is clear our government interventions are not enough to tackle this serious problem. Alcohol abuse remains at dangerously high levels in our communities.
Citizens, and especially parents, must start taking responsibility for their own and their children's lives by not abusing alcohol.
More importantly, it is critical that the SAPS clamps down on the thousands of illegal shebeens operating in our province. Only the police have the legal authority to shut them down.
The Western Cape Government will focus on bringing all relevant roleplayers together over the next few years so that we can fight this scourge in a systematic, coordinated way. We don't want to prevent people from having an evening drink in relaxed surroundings; but we simply have to stop the substance abuse that is destroying our younger generation at a rate that few of us can comprehend.
This is accompanied by a growing culture gangs, which is spreading to more communities, with devastating consequences for the entire community. Functional families are the best counter to the attraction of gangs, at an age when teenagers feel the need to belong to a group.
The Western Cape Government's focus on a whole-of-society approach to increase safety remains one of our top priorities.
We will continue building on the partnerships we have created over the last five years such as strengthening Community Policing Forums (CPF's) and providing equipment and training to Neighbourhood Watches as well as deploying safety coordinators in all 150 police precincts.
However, these community structures cannot act as a substitute for a fully functional criminal justice system that arrests, prosecutes, convicts and jails perpetrators of crime, particularly violent crime. These are all functions of the national government.
The powers of the province in policing are confined to oversight.
The Department of Community Safety is making good progress in implementing the Western Cape Community Safety Act. We recently advertised positions in the office of the Provincial Police Ombudsman and are currently interviewing applicants. This office will be up and running by October.
In terms of the Act, I (in consultation with various stakeholders) will then appoint a suitably qualified person, with experience in the field of law or policing, as the Provincial Police Ombudsman. The ombudsman will have far reaching powers of subpoena, and to investigate reports of police corruption, abuse of power, or alleged police service failures.
We will continue to lobby national government to reinstate specialised gang units in the Western Cape and to release crime stats on a more regular basis. Both these interventions are also supported by the NDP. Once again we see how the national government's rhetorical commitment to the NDP is undermined by its actions.
The work conducted by the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry into allegations of police inefficiency has received widespread media attention.
We await its recommendations in August.
We will seek to work co-operatively with the police over the next five years and provide them with the support they need to maintain law and order. We hope that with the appointment of new National Minister of Police Nkosinathi Nhleko, our province's relationship with the SAPS national leadership will improve.
We plan to introduce new targets to bring down deaths and injuries on our roads including introducing special targets for child road safety. We aim to refresh and rejuvenate our highly successful Safely Home campaign over the next few months so that we continue leading the country when it comes to making our roads safer.
Finally, I have left the biggest challenge we face for last, which is building integrated and sustainable human settlements in the province. This is essential for improving social cohesion and redressing the legacies of the past.
With a housing database of over 500 000 households in the province, which grows daily as urbanisation escalates, we have estimated that it will cost over R70 billion to provide land, services and top structures to everyone who needs it. This is almost double the budget of the entire Western Cape Government. What this means is that we cannot continue with ‘business-as-usual' - we need new and improved strategies that harness households, the private sector and NGOs to place the Western Cape on a different housing trajectory, one which offers an improved living environment for everyone.
More importantly, we need to change the current perception shared by the majority of South Africans that government is solely responsible for providing free housing to everyone, because it is clear with the available resources and the escalating need, this will take centuries.
Instead, we need to come up with innovative partnerships and solutions to improve people's standard of living in the province at a much faster pace. It is also crucial that citizens become directly involved in human settlement projects instead of waiting to receive a house.
We are currently working on a new housing model that incorporates innovative partnerships and strategies together with the City of Cape Town and other municipalities.
While we harness this new approach, we continue to deliver on our commitments:
- We will be delivering a number of housing projects during our second term including:
- Accelerating the completion of N2 Gateway Phase 1 by 2017;
- Completing the planning of Phase 2 of the N2 Gateway project that will deal with the Barcelona, GxaGxa, Kanana, Vukuzenzela, Kosovo and Europe informal settlements and will provide 26 000 new homes when completed by 2020;
- Completing the 2 000 units in blocked PHP projects by the end of 2015/16 financial year;
- Completion of the Transhex/Klipvlakte project in the Breede Valley, which will deliver 3 000 units;
- Finishing the Vredebes farm housing project in Witzenberg, which will deliver 3000 units;
- The Kwanokuthula project, which will deliver 1360 units and;
- Completing the Syferfontein project in George, which will deliver another 5000 units.
Madam Speaker, it is critical that all three spheres of government work together to come up with new pioneering models to deliver integrated human settlements. The current housing challenges we face across the country must not be politicised, either in government or on the ground.
The worst blockages to housing delivery are the fights over control of these projects within communities themselves. We cannot tackle any of our challenges without a "whole-of-society" approach in which everyone steps up to the plate and accepts their responsibilities.
These are only some of the policies and programmes we plan to implement over the next five years to drive economic growth, create jobs and provide opportunities to citizens in the province.
We depend on thousands of dedicated and committed professional public servants to do so. We would like to thank them up-front for the work they will be doing through-out this five year term. Our aim is to maintain maximum stability which is essential for good government. We have, in most instances, forged a strong partnership, while respecting the different roles that we play in a democratic dispensation.
May it continue in the interest of all our citizens. And may we make as much progress as we can in creating the conditions for people to improve their lives.
Issued by the Office of the Premier of the Western Cape, June 20 2014
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