Response To The State Of The Province Address (SOPA)
19 February 2019
As the curtain calls, bringing to an end the 10 year misrule of Premier Zille, I can imagine that in the National Party/DA branch in hell, she has received a standing ovation from the likes of Louis Botha, Jan Smuts, Hertzog, Malan and Verwoerd. She has done a tremendous job to continue their legacy in the Western Cape.
Allow me to mention few things I think Premier Zille excelled on in keeping the legacy of the founding fathers of the DA alive. Firstly she remained committed to the fascism that Botha, Smuts and Verwoerd were renowned for.
Every time she shouted in this house that I am a communist, I could sense that she was exposing her anti-communist stance. Like a true archconservative – with her German background - you could see the hatred for communists and black people in her eyes. In the post democratic dispensation, no one hated black people like she did.
This hatred cut across all facets of life, be it calling them refuges, or praising the legacy of colonialism, or through her attacks and underfunding of the Minstrels. The latest stupid rant of calling for tax revolt is another example.
I do not take Zille’s agitation for a tax revolt light; she knows well that the repercussions can be significant. It is a calculated move aimed at collapsing our democracy. It’s aimed at ensuring the government is unable to pay social grant beneficiaries, build houses or pay for better education. Coloured and African people would be mostly affected.
She is an unstoppable Tsunami who wreaks havoc everywhere she goes.
For a period of 10 years we were subjected to misinformation and repetition of empty promises that were never met. The people of the Western Cape grew tired of listening to this state of the province that only exists in the premier’s figment of imagination.
While we are all guaranteed the right to be an equal citizens by our democratic constitution, the majority of citizens in the Western Cape, lives within the hallows of servitude, reminiscent of the dark days of apartheid, where their abilities in the job market are equated to their biological features instead of their talent. The reality in the Western Cape is that the majority of Citizens, mostly citizens-of-colour, wake up every morning to frustrations compounded by the reality of their poverty and their inability to break the chains that bind them to this cycle-of-poverty.
The SOPA that we heard this past Friday was detached from this reality. A capable government would not rely on the misrepresentation of the facts and the spreading of false data, which is also revealing of the DA’s inability to administer adequately to all people of our province.
Using the expanded definition of the unemployment, the Premier indicated that the province was way below the national rate. Listening to the premier boasting about these figures, a layman would believe the expanded unemployment decreased. In reality, the rate increased from 23% in the 2017 to 23.7% in the third quarter of 2018.
Despite all this, does this unemployment rate she brags about speak to the racial dynamics of this province and the real socio-economic changes that have been achieved?
The answer is in the PERO of 2018 where it’s stated that “relative to their shares of the working-age population in the Province, Africans are under-represented in employment and Whites are over-represented”.
Is this because of the resurgence and appointments of white males in senior positions in your administration?
How is it that one of the largest segments of the WC province remains under-represented or having access to decent jobs?
The PERO 2018 further states that those Africans, both male are female who are employed usually are in sectors that are low skilled and these individuals are mostly without post-secondary education.
Boasting about an unemployment rate should only occur when all people have decent jobs with decent pay. Not when they are forced into servitude.
The Premier’s SOPA address ignores from the real issues and reality facing the people of the Western Cape. Rather, the province has become a homeland for the privileged few, mostly white, with access to tools, networks and relationships that allow them to advance their professional careers and likelihood of success rate. The Paper Video scandal is a case-in-point.
No other young entrepreneur in the province has enjoyed such benefits besides your son Paul.
The opposite is true for the rest of other young entrepreneurs, especially young black professionals who are demoralized and forced to leave the province in multitudes, such as Tinyiko Ngwenya.
Let me remind this house of Ms. Ngwenga, a qualified chartered accountant with six years of working experience who in May 2018, decided to move to Johannesburg. In her letter published in media outlets she explains:
“In the years that I lived in Cape Town, no matter how hard I worked, I never really felt good enough, and that inferiority complex was as a result of being a minority... Wherever I was, I was the only African person. I was the only African in my investment team, I was the only African in any given coffee shop, in any given wine farm….In Cape Town, I had no role models to look up to. There were no self-made, black professionals who were doing so well in their fields. Corporates in Cape Town always blame the slow progress in transformation on black professionals leaving for Johannesburg and never staying long enough to transform the organisations. How do you expect black professionals to stay, when you continue to create an environment that is not conducive to their success?”
Speaker, this is a true reflection of Premier Zille legacy, deepened divisions and the creation of an environment where people-of-colour do not feel welcome or able to thrive.
In her maiden SOPA, the premier noted these divisions as Achilles Heel of the province. That now she leaves office years later with the same divisions she inherited still lingering in our society, is indicative of a wasted 10 years.
When ANC stepped out of power, crime and unemployment were at lowest points ever, the province maintained top position in quality of matric pass, and we prioritized free house delivery for the poor. Ten years later, Premier Zille leaves the Western Cape a murder capital, unemployment (especially youth) spiraled out of control, and she abolished free housing policies.
The poor people in informal settlements and the backyarders should forget about free houses for as long as the DA is in control. In her SOPAs since 2009 this is one fact she never hid, that free housing delivery is just not sustainable.
In this SOPA she boast about delivery of 212 967 housing opportunities since 2009. She must tell us how many of these were free houses for the poor who perish in informal settlement fires every year?
When the Premier said “Demand for housing is simply too high to sustain old models of free hosing” I knew she was telling the people that in the promised 105 500 housing opportunities by 2022, none will be free housing.
Speaker the caring ANC government remains dedicated towards the provision of free housing for the poor.
The DA run Western Cape has annually returned unspent housing budgets back to the National Treasury.
Speaker our people in informal settlements live under inhumane conditions without water and no toilets. Whenever they took to the streets to demand better services, Premier Zille – in her attempts to silence the people - would cry deliberate sabotage to make the province ungovernable.
Opportunities for the development of homes and habitat for working people in the city have also been turned down by the DA, usually in favour of wealthy, mainly white, property developers.
Brett Herron told the public that his plans to build affordable housing in Salt River to facilitate community integration and to alleviate evictions and homelessness in the inner city were thwarted by the DA.
More worrying is the rate at which pockets of land suitable for affordable housing have disposed of by the DA, e.g. Tafelberg School site and Somerset Hospital land.
The DA has been deliberately increasing the rates and taxes in its attempt to push out the historical communities of Bo-Kaap, Woodstock, Salt River and Observatory.
Moreover, the people have been promised affordable housing through the Conradie Better Living Model Game changer. Since 2015 when she started making this empty promise, she leaves office having not delivered a single housing unit there.
Speaker she also failed to deliver on her broadband rollout promises. When it was launched in 2014 she promised to connect 2000 government sites. She said by 2016 all sites would be connected with minimum speeds of 10Mbps, and by August 2018, 90% of sites would enjoy 100 Mbps speeds and 10% enjoying 1Gbps. She said there would be 384 WIFI hotspots covering almost every ward in the province. With Neotel they committed to spending approximately 25% of the value of their contract with local companies.
In 2019, none of the above happened.
She brags about coverage reaching 1875 sites. This is 125 sites less than the planned target. She omits to tell that her department was fingered by the AG for a negligible underspending due to the reduction of the target for the broadband connectivity.
Speaker, the socio-economic hardships in the province have resulted in communities being held hostage to gang violence and its associated consequences.
If the economy in the Western Cape is prospering so abundantly then why, is the Cape Flats engulfed in Gang related crimes since the entirety of the DA-Led administration?
Let me answer for you: because the increase in the economic activity the Premier speaks about have only flowed into the hands of a few entitled and pre-dominantly white sectors of our community. Violence and gang activity follow because people are frustrated and nefarious forces are able to take hold.
When ANC governed, we pushed implementation of section 206 to its limits. Under the Premier Zille the role of government was reduced to a mere oversight, using police watching briefs, Walking Buses, and Funding Youth Safety Religious Partnerships.
For full ten years there was no meaningful contribution to combat gangs and crime in society. The situation got better when the Anti-Gang Unit (AGU) was deployed by the national government, following few other successful operations like Operation Thunder.
Speaker, the DA role in the fight against crime has been to politicize the matter. The calls for deployment of army and use of incorrect police to population ratio, are but few examples.
The ration of 1 officer to 509 residents for the Western Cape is incorrect. According to official police information, the Western Cape police ratios is better than the national average of 1: 375 in terms of provincial capacity and national capacity which is 1: 324.
The ANC in the province will continue to engage the President to deliver on his promise for the reestablishment of the Bambananis against crime programme. Like in the days when ANC governed the province, we will have safety volunteers in every school and every street corner in the province.
Before I live this point, I want to warn MEC Winde, to desist from playing palace politics. His R5 million commitment towards police reservist is either not thought through or it exposed his cluelessness when it comes to the subject matter.
My humble appeal to the DA is to stop misleading the people of the Western Cape and fanning the flames to create a state of panic and racial dis-harmony.
By the way, we are still awaiting full implement of the recommendations of the Zille commission.
Our schools are affected by the issue of gangs and crime. On Friday leaners got drunk and started attacking each other with knives and Pangas.
I couldn’t help but to ask what has the after school game changer assisted with really. The premier boasted about increasing the number of participants on this game changer from 14 900 when it started to 81 000 this year.
Speaker, the target was over 112 000 learners by 2019, not 81 000. Again she failed.
It pains me to read in the news papers that over 6 000 children have not been placed in schools in the province. In the SOPA she said it was 3 000. The learners have missed out on a full term.
Matriculants in the province still wonder what happened to the Youth Gap Year volunteer programme promised to them by the premier, where top matric and university graduates taking part in gap year would tutor children in the MOD centers.
Your record Premier is riddled with half-truths and empty promises.
Not only is the quality of NSC results dropping in the province, but also the quality of the systematic tests results. In terms of languages in Grade 6, the province decreased from 40.1 in 2016 to 38.7 in 2017. In Maths the province decreased from 40.1 in 2016 to 38.6 in 2017. We observed the same trend in Grade 9, with pass rate for language decreasing from 55.1 in 2016 to 53 in 2017, and Maths decreasing from 23.6 in 2016 to 22% in 2017.
Since 2015, the people of Manenberg have been promised a Youth Lifestyle Campus – a network of education and after schools facilities, linked by safe promenades and upgraded lighting and infrastructure.
As she leaves office, none of the above were realized. Instead she tells us about scenarios for how best to deliver 4 upgraded primary schools, and a brand new School of Skills, as well as a 590-bed Regional Hospital in that community.
The challenges of public health care in the province worsened after premier Zille and her cabinet closed down GF Jooste hospital. Khayelitsha District Hospital and the Mitchells Plain have since been turned into places where people go to die.The blame rests solely on the premier’s hands. She is responsible for the state of health in the province.
The ANC as an institution is aware of the mishaps that has occurred. As an organisation we are constantly reviewing and analyzing ourselves – checking our mistakes and self correcting.
The Ramaphoria taking over our province and country is indicative of the changes coming within our organisation and already taking place in our country for the better – and the belief the people have in us.
The tick time-bomb that the socio-economic challenges bring to the people of the Western Cape cannot go ignored any longer. The only true change to the unbearable hardships faced the majority of our people is the strength of well developed policies, best practices of tried and tested implementation mechanisms and the ability to self-reflect, admitted with dignity mistakes, and aim to bring to life the goals of the Freedom Charter – as embodied in the ANC!
Issued by Khaya Magaxa, Leader Of The Official Opposition In The Western Cape, 19 February 2019