Alan Winde shrugs off race questions, wants to build a team

DA WCape Premier candidate says his campaign would focus on jobs, education and health

DA WC premier candidate Winde shrugs off race questions, wants to build a team

The DA's Western Cape premier candidate, Alan Winde, views his biggest strength as the ability to put a team together - and that is going to be his starting point in campaigning for next year's election.

"It is not about ruling. It is about putting a team together," he said at a press conference where DA leader Mmusi Maimane announced that Winde had been selected.

Winde beat fellow candidates, DA provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela and DA MP David Maynier after a "rigorous process".

"I'm really humbled, honoured that my party has given me this opportunity. It is a huge opportunity. I'll put my full weight behind it."

Race was part and parcel of South African politics, and Winde, a white male, said he expected the opposition in the province to play the race card.

"I was born like this, but I'm a true South African. I'm a true, blue South African," he said referring to the party's colours.

He added that his track record would prove that for him, it was not about race, but about getting the job done.

"I'm going to fix the broken spaces," he said, adding his party leader's sentiment that it was about building a united South Africa.

He told News24 after the briefing that the three major things his campaign would focus on were jobs, education and health. These things are provincial competencies. He also wants to focus on crime, transport and resilience – the province's ability to deal with climate change, as recently illustrated by the drought.

Public confidence in the DA in the Western Cape has been eroded in the acrimonious spat between the party and its mayor in Cape Town, Patricia de Lille. This is something Winde will have to deal with on the campaign trail.

He said the DA worked hard to fix those problems, culminating in the agreement between the party and De Lille that she would vacate the mayor's office on October 31. Current Community Safety MEC Dan Plato is to take over from her.

He said Plato's job would be to build bridges, and that would also be his position.

"We need strong relationships between the national, provincial and municipal governments," he said.

Maimane said Winde would be the "jobs premier" as he was the premier candidate with the best track record in creating jobs in his current post as Western Cape MEC for economic opportunities.

"This past year, despite being at the end of a crippling three-year drought, the Western Cape created three-quarters of all new jobs created in the country."

The province's expanded unemployment rate, at 22.5%, is more than 14% below the national average," Maimane said.

"And the reason for this is simple. If you make it attractive and easy to start and run a business – if you do away with unnecessary red tape, if you invest in the right kind of infrastructure, if you get rid of corruption and if you offer policy certainty – then the economy grows, and jobs are created."

"No other person is more responsible for the economic growth and job creation that we've seen in this province, than Alan. His track record is simple: 640 000 new jobs under his watch, benefitting every community, and particularly the unemployed and the poor. He is also passionate about internships, particularly for young people who need work experience to get their foot on the jobs ladder."

Maimane also pointed to Winde's political experience.

"He started out in politics as a councillor in the Outeniqua Rural Council and the South Cape District Council. He was elected to the Western Cape Provincial Legislature in 1999, serving as Western Cape provincial finance chairman and executive committee member with the Democratic Party.

"He served as the chief whip of the official opposition in the Western Cape legislature and as DA spokesperson on environment and planning.

"Alan became Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism in May 2009, shortly after the DA won the Western Cape – a position he still holds today, although the ministry now goes by the name of Economic Opportunities."