Ahead of the President’s State of the Nation (SONA) address this coming Thursday, I today met with the Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde, the Mayor of Cape Town, Dan Plato, and the Mayor of Tshwane, Stevens Mokgalapa to consider the state of DA-led governments across the country. The Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, was unable to attend in person, however did make substantial inputs on behalf of the people of Johannesburg.
The focus of this meeting was to share each government’s most recent achievements, table recent plans, and consider and compare challenges faced by each.
Across the board, DA-led governments unanimously agree that the biggest challenge facing the country today is its self-made economic crisis – a situation that has only deteriorated further since the 8 May election.
We cannot begin to imagine a strong, vibrant and prosperous South Africa while unemployment has just hit a record high of 38%, with 9.9 million people without a job, most of these young people.
Economic growth has contracted by 3.2% during the first months of this year – the biggest decline in a decade – and the rand remains extremely volatile as the ANC continues its assault on the independence of the Reserve Bank.
Despite opulent “investment summits” and similar such ploys, net investment has declined in the first quarter of 2019 for the fifth consecutive quarter, this time by 4.5%.
The reality is that on all indicators, we are headed in the wrong direction at record speeds. Without a stable, growing economy that creates jobs, opportunity and wealth, we cannot adequately redress the wrongs of the past, provide quality services to all citizens, and build One South Africa for All.
Despite this depressed economic and governance environment, DA-led governments are a step ahead - spearheading innovative plans and policies which are fast yielding positive results for the citizens living under these governments.
The DA has a vision for cities where city-led economic growth occupies the future of South Africa. Beyond suppling citizens with energy, water and basic services, our cities need to be at the centre of sustainable development because they are directly accountable to the people, and best placed to make decisions around infrastructure investment.
Our cities must become resilient and geared for a rapidly-changing world. We cannot fall behind, and we must change how we work so that we can ensure that cities are attractive to global technology companies and become cities of the future.
This is also why we continue to push for the localisation of policing and transport. This will allow local and provincial governments to plan better and be more responsive to the needs of citizens.
Our nation can only succeed with capable governments, and DA-led governments are well ahead on all governance indicators: job opportunities created, investment attracted, services delivered, title deeds delivered, and corruption eradicated.
As confirmed by data from, among others, the President’s Office, the Rating Agencies and Independent Governance Indicators, it continues to be decisively shown that the DA governs best, both locally and provincially. Of the top 20 municipalities in South Africa, 14 were DA-led governments.
The DA has now governed the Western Cape for 10 years, and the people of this province can today see the fruits of DA governance in the long term. The Western Cape’s expanded unemployment rate is by far the lowest in the country at a massive 14 percentage points lower than the national average. As many as 508 000 new jobs were created in a province where employment grew by almost 25% over the past decade.
The Premier’s Advancement of Youth Programme (PAY) provides 750 matriculants with jobs and training each year. Since its inception, PAY has provided over 4 000 internship opportunities. Over and above the PAY project, we have spent more than half a billion Rand on internship, bursary and other skills programmes that have benefited over 13 000 young people.
Ensuring that as many young people matriculate as possible is critical. The Western Cape’s retention rate from Grades 10 - 12 is the highest in the country, at around 63% for the 2018 matric results. No other province managed to achieve a retention rate of over 50%.
The Western Cape has thus become the province of opportunity and its governance model could be implemented across the country, creating millions of job opportunities for South Africans.
The safety of citizens remains a top priority for DA-led governments. While the fight for the localisation of policing powers continues, 150 police stations are inspected or observed on an annual basis, which is more than any other province across the country.
The Western Cape is also the only province to have established a Commission of Inquiry into policing and we have promulgated a Community Safety Act to create a Police Ombudsman office. The Ombudsman is tasked with investigate policing inefficiency and the breakdown in relationships between communities and the SAPS.
Our Court Watching Briefs Unit monitored 3 269 cases in 40 courts across the province in 2017/18. In many instances the work of this unit successfully prevents cases being dropped from the roll and helps achieve convictions on the basis of evidence.
The province is currently pursuing an intergovernmental dispute with the national Minister of Police in a bid to compel the national government to provide additional policing resources to the province.
The delivery of basic services is a governance blueprint of the Western Cape, and the numbers show. 99% of the province has access to piped water, 97% to electricity and 98% to waste removal. Almost three quarters of this water, one third of the electricity and two thirds of the basic sewage and sanitation is free. In addition, 14 of the top 20 municipalities with the highest household access to sanitation are in the Western Cape.
The Western Cape has the highest life expectancy in the country, thanks to an effective public healthcare system, which provides health services to the 75.3% of the province's 6.5 million population who are uninsured.
The province leads the rest of the country in implementing land reform with a 72% success rate of all land reform projects supported by the Western Cape Government. Innovative solutions like the government’s share equity schemes and Commodity Approach continue to highlight how property ownership ultimately leads to economic empowerment.
In terms of clean, corruption-free governance, again the Western Cape is streaks ahead. When the DA assumed office in the 2009, not a single Western Cape municipality other than the Cape Town metro received a clean audit from the Auditor General. This figure has climbed to an impressive 83% clean audits under a DA-led government in 2018/19 across all entities and departments – the highest in the country.
The Western Cape leads when it comes to achieving greater energy security. The province has enabled an increase in Rooftop PV installations from 18MW to more than 110MW, mostly by businesses. A total of 22 municipalities have put in place the necessary systems to accept Rooftop PV power into their grids, and 18 of these municipalities have approved tariffs in place so consumers can be compensated for electricity they feed back into the grid. According to the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), only 34 municipalities allowed Small Scale Embedded Generation (SSEG) programmes – 18 of these in the Western Cape.
The Western Cape remains the gold standard for clean, corruption-free, governance which creates opportunity and delivers basic services to all.
City of Cape Town
The national expanded unemployment rate – people who do not have work or have given up looking for work – now sits at 38% while in the City of Cape Town this rate is almost 15 percentage points lower at 23.4%.
Mayor Plato has capacitated safety and security by allocating as much as a R535 million capital budget to the Safety and Security Directorate to acquire vehicles and equipment as well as make improvements to facilities across departments for the 2019/20 financial year in the City of Cape Town. The City intends to recruit and deploy almost 200 more staff members for the Metro Police, Law Enforcement and Traffic Services Departments with this increased budget.
The City will soon appear in court to have the 1MW energy ceiling lifted to 10MW for Independent Power Producers (IPPs) within municipalities, which will make the City more energy resilient and help the ratings agencies see the possibility of releasing extra power into the system. We fully support this fight for cheaper energy and have tabled the ‘Cheaper Energy Bill’ in Parliament to drive the push towards legally reforming energy supply and generation in South Africa.
A gateway to knowledge has opened to the residents of Dunoon as the Dunoon Library was launched in April with two City SmartCape sections, free online and Wi-Fi access, a collection of over 15 000 library items, print and digital media, reading programme, study nooks, community meeting facilities and music listening pods providing learning, development, recreation and entertainment to the local community.
The Mayor has also launched a City-wide Clean-up Campaign with R115 million allocated to cleaning operations made up of R56 million for informal settlements, R14 million to EPWP worker recruitment, R20 million on the Area Cleaning Division in the City’s Solid Waste Management Directorate and R25 million to Recreation and Parks Department’s grass cutting and maintenance.
Thursday’s SONA provides the President with an ideal opportunity to announce the release of the five national government-owned mega properties at Culemborg, Ysterplaat, Wingfield, Youngsfield and Denel to the people of Cape Town. This transfer alone could be used for as many as 100 000 housing units, which would meet almost half of the affordable housing needs in the City.
It comes a well-earned achievement that the City of Cape Town has been recognised as the most trusted metro in South Africa. The South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SA-csi) confirmed this after studying South Africans’ trust and satisfaction in metros last month.
City of Johannesburg
The Mashaba administration’s commitment to reclaiming the Inner City and unlocking the City’s jobs potential continues to be seen through the City’s Inner-City Revitalisation Programme, where 154 properties have been released to the private sector for mixed use development since October 2017.
Further to this, the City continues to prioritise support for SMMEs and entrepreneurs. To this end, three Opportunity Centres have been opened where youth, SMMEs and other job-seekers can be connected to support services and other opportunities such as artisan training and skills development. Following the successful launch of Opportunity Centres in the Inner City, Diepsloot and Roodepoort, three more will be launched this month in Alexandra, Soweto and Randburg.
Between the first quarters of 2018 and 2019, the South African economy shed 86 000 jobs. However, 7 000 new jobs were created in the City of Johannesburg during the same period.
1 500 additional Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officers were recruited in 2016/17, have been inducted, and are set to be deployed by October this year. In November last year 171 traffic wardens who were former EPWP employees previously trained to perform traffic duties, also joined the JMPD.
The City’s Diphetogo initiative is ensuring that basic services reach those who need it most by increasing the electricity, roads, water, housing and transport capital expenditure budget from 58% in 2016/17 to 70% in the City’s latest budget. The budget for electrifying informal settlements has almost tripled from R260 million for the 2016/17 medium term budget, to R750 million over the next three years, while in this current financial year, City Power has finished refurbishing the Roosevelt, Sebenza, Wilropark, Nancefield, Heriotdale, Mondeor, Mulbarton, Pennyville and Waterval substations.
The DA-led government inherited an infrastructure backlog of R170 billion, meaning that before any new projects could begin, the backlog needed to be eradicated. Despite this, almost 70km of gravel roads have been tarred to date, and R1.1 billion is budgeted over the next 3 years to continue this work. Additionally, R1.1 billion has been allocated to the resurfacing, rehabilitating and reconstructing roads over the medium term. Similarly, 45km of sewer pipelines have been replaced, along with 65km of water pipes, which has ensured that there were 2000 fewer leaks and bursts in that financial year.
When the DA took office, we inherited an administration fraught with fraud and corruption. The Group Forensics and Investigation Services (GFIS) uncovered over 5 300 corruption and maladministration cases dealing with transactions nearing R24 billion in the last financial year, and Operation Buya Mthetho has ensured over 8 000 arrests by law enforcement officials and a recovery of R1.5 billion in lost revenue since the beginning of last year.
City of Tshwane
From day one, the DA-led government earmarked investment into the capital city as a strategic priority. To date, R4.3 billion in investment has followed, with 43 950 new jobs created since the DA assumed office in the Capital City. To clean out corruption, the City adopted a lottery system for EPWP work opportunities, ensuring fair access for the almost 23 200 beneficiaries of the EPWP programme.
As with the City of Johannesburg, economic growth is fast rising in the City of Tshwane. Between the first quarters of 2018 and 2019 a net increase of 68 000 new jobs were created in the Capital City.
Mayor Mokgalapa’s team is tackling the fight against cable theft and City property vandalism head-on through an in-house Asset Protection Unit for the Tshwane Metro Police Department.
Services are being delivered to residents, with 73 new emergency vehicles including firefighters and ambulances and 9 new service delivery trucks being regionally distributed. As many as 1 000 more Wi-Fi connection points will be added in the next three years.
The DA-led coalition government sold the Mayoral Mansion for R5.1 million in November 2017 after previously being used for residential purposes. The proceeds made from the sale were set aside to build 40 houses for previously disadvantaged individuals.
The City has zero tolerance for corruption and has implemented the Public Protector’s recommendations on political appointments with the policy approved by Council in April. The Mayor has similarly tasked the City Manager to speed up the move to e-Procurement so that corruption is eliminated over the adjudication of tenders, and the Supply Chain Management Division has been overhauled and further professionalised.
Young South Africans are key to Mayor Mokgalapa’s governance agenda which is why it is worth noting during Youth Month that a Youth and Stakeholder Unit has been located back to his private office to assist with necessary interventions. To this end the City hosted a youth summit followed by youth entrepreneur summit on 14 June to mark Youth Month, with all procurement for June targeted at youth companies.
As DA Leader, I recognise there is still much more to do in, for example, delivering a digital platform for citizens to recreate a digitally-accessible government that provides education and healthcare for all. But we continue to show that, where the DA is in government, jobs are created, crime is tackled, corruption is cut, services are delivered, and good governance is guaranteed.
We live in a bleak economic time amid deep political uncertainty where Reserve Bank independence, healthcare and property rights are consistently under threat. President Ramaphosa will find himself in a tough position when he delivers the State of the Nation Address (SONA) this coming Thursday.
As I have said many times before, the DA will continue to work with the President as long as he acts in the best interest of the people of South Africa. Creating an enabling environment for job creation, winning the war on crime, acting decisively against corruption, delivering basic services and professionalising the state should be first on his SONA agenda.
It has never been more important that the DA-led Western Cape province, City of Cape Town, City of Johannesburg and City of Tshwane provide a beacon of confidence and certainty against these economic and political headwinds. The feedback we have heard from these DA governments shows the “DA difference”.
As long as more than a quarter of South Africans continue to experience life and opportunity under a DA government with a credible track record of delivery, citizens will continue to have reason to believe that change is still possible.