Winde’s Sopa must spell out how he will address inequality

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/Independent Newspapers

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/Independent Newspapers

Published Feb 19, 2024


Cameron M Dugmore

As the ANC listens to the State of the Province Address, Premier Alan Winde’s sixth and last one, there will be a number of issues that we would want the premier to address after 15 years of DA rule in the Western Cape.

These include that less than 3% of agricultural land in Western Cape being owned by Coloured, African and Indians even though these account for over 86% of the provincial population.

On the other hand, whites own 70% of urban land in the province despite only accounting for 18% of the population.

The anomaly of when poor people buy R100 electricity in Cape Town from Eskom you get 42 units, but when you buy R100 electricity from the DA-run City, you only get 22 units, because of an unlawful surcharge on the NERSA rate, must also be addressed by the premier.

He must explain why only 50% of Cape Town residents have access to internet at home, compared to 77% nationally.

In respect of the land, the premier must explain that, given his and his administration’s failure to address the gross inequalities in land ownership, what his party will do to address these injustices of the past if they oppose the Expropriation Bill, despite it being within the confines of the Constitution and the law.

At the same time, we would want to know that if the premier’s party, the DA, opposes employment equity, whose regulations say that regional demographics must be taken into account, how will they address the injustices of the past especially in the labour market, or does the DA oppose addressing the injustice of the past in principle?

The premier must explain that if the DA opposes the National Health Insurance what their solution is to gross inequality in our country’s healthcare system.

It is important to continue to highlight that while the Western Cape may have good employment figures, the DA still insists that the minimum wage equals the old age grant. The province has always had the lowest unemployment rate. When the ANC governed the Western Cape, unemployment was lower than it is now under the DA. It was 17%.

In their 2019 manifesto, the DA calls for “allowing potential employees to opt out of the sectoral minimum wage” (which would have a new minimum of no less than an old-age grant).

As the ANC we have always insisted on creating decent jobs. Six million workers across our country benefit from the minimum wage and in particular this has assisted and guarded domestic workers and farmworkers from exploitation.

Yet after 15 years of DA rule in the Western Cape, we must be convinced that they are simply not interested in addressing these inequalities based on injustice.

Their policies and budgets are skewed to defend the privileges of those who benefited most from apartheid and colonialism.

In fact, the ruse is the provincial powers bill which ostensibly seeks devolution of powers but which is really a push for federalism while trying to out-right their right-wing allies, the Freedom Front Plus and Cape Independence.

As the ANC in the province, we believe that the people of our province will always be part of a united South Africa. This was personified in over 80% of the participants of the public hearings rejecting the bill.

While the rest of the country has been working hard, and equitably, to improve especially in instances such as education and health, the Western Cape is frankly letting its population down, and, effectively, going backwards.

The premier’s state of the province address will therefore be another speech where injustice and inequality, hallmarks of apartheid, will remain firmly in place while the majority of the people of the province continue to be marginalised and have basic service delivery failure.

Gangsterism and substance abuse have reached pandemic proportions.

These communities have been deserted by the DA when it comes to infrastructure investment and youth development.

Instead of working with the national government on safety, the DA has sought confrontation. They have underfunded Community Policing Forums and selectively funded neighbourhood watches.

The people of the Western Cape have had enough. The DA must go!

* Dugmore is the ANC Leader of the Opposition in the Western Cape Provincial Legislature.

Cape Times