Cape Town - During his annual State of the Province Address (Sopa) which took place in Velddrif this year, Premier Alan Winde shared his plans to improve health, education, social housing and economic infrastructure in the Western Cape.
Winde said it is important for the province to push back against “going back to the way things were before the pandemic”.
“The gap between the resources that we have to recover, and the damage caused by the pandemic is too large.
“That is why I instead argued that we must push back against going back to normal, and we must push forward, to do even better. To do so, we need to rethink, we need to focus and we need to innovate,” the premier said.
Some of the major announcements in his State of the Province Address touched on the Western Cape government’s plans to improve health, education, social housing and economic infrastructure.
Winde said that the province is planning five mega health infrastructure projects over the medium-to-long term that will significantly modernise this platform.
These include the Belhar, Klipfontein and Helderberg Regional Hospitals, the Tygerberg Central Hospital development and the Swartland District Hospital.
“Preparation is commencing for the Belhar and Klipfontein Regional hospitals, and detailed planning to enable a public-private partnership for the Tygerberg Central Hospital development has also begun, working in collaboration with the World Bank.”
“The replacement schools of Chatsworth Primary School here in the West Coast, Panorama Primary School in Vredenburg, also in the West Coast, and Umyezo Wama Apile Primary School in Grabouw are all under construction.
“We also have six new mobile schools anticipated for completion in 2022/2023, in Bothasig, Fisantekraal, Nomzamo, Klapmuts (which includes one high school and one primary school), and Silversands,” the premier said.
He added that this is in addition to 10 schools that were successfully completed in the last financial year. This focus will include employing around 1 100 new teachers this year to ensure that the province has the required capacity.
“We will also complete security fencing of another 30 schools this financial year and will increase this number to 60 over the next financial year, as part of our Provincial Safety Plan,” he said.
The province also intends to continue to invest in road infrastructure by launching three new road upgrade projects this financial year. This is in addition to 91 road projects in progress in various phases, worth approximately R3 billion.
“The Atlantis Special Economic Zone (SEZ) which was recently gazetted by National Treasury as a Schedule 3D public enterprise, has now completed the last milestone required to become fully operational.
“This approval now enables the SEZ to transact with Investors, tenants and partners towards creating jobs, increasing business revenue and stimulating the Western Cape economy,” he said.
The premier said that a successful Request for Information for the Municipal Energy Resilience (MER) initiative has been issued, which has solicited information from more than 100 potential energy generation projects.
“This information has informed five potential pioneering projects based on Solar PV and wind energy. And a roadmap to implement these projects has been extensively defined through technical, financial and legal analysis,” Winde said.
Social Housing Infrastructure
He also highlighted the “numerous social housing projects under construction” in the province such as the Conradie Park development, and the Belhar CBD development, in partnership with the University of the Western Cape.
“We will soon be adding another social housing development to this mix through the Founders Garden Artscape Precinct development, which is smack-middle in the Cape Town CBD.
“To get this project off the ground, we have so far determined the project feasibility on a financial, legal and technical level, which are critical first steps. We have also designed the development procurement documentation that includes a Request for Proposal and a draft Sale and Development Agreement,” he said.
Winde said that the province has now received public comment on the Western Cape’s new Inclusionary Housing Framework, which will soon come before the provincial cabinet for consideration.
“This framework, which leverages our development planning powers, will see many other mixed-use developments in the future.”
Social services infrastructure and sustainable development
“The Brandwag modular library in Mosselbay has been completed and is operational, and I will join the launch of the Noordhoek Public library upgrade today.
“We will commence with infrastructure upgrades including new living units and classrooms at the Outeniekwa Child and Youth Centre, which will become operational this month.
“Our broadband roll-out project is currently in phase 2 and we aim to upgrade all 1 910 sites to a minimum of 100Mbps by September 30, 2022. Phase 3 will upgrade minimum speeds to 1 Gbps from October 1, 2022,” Winde said.
He stated that the Swellendam and Hessequa municipalities will benefit from the continued roll-out of the Regional Socio-Economic Projects Programme this coming financial year, and that this programme has already resulted in over 100 projects across 12 municipalities in poor communities.
The premier also said that he has signed the Western Cape Biodiversity Bill into law, and that the Western Cape Climate Change Response Strategy: Vision 2050 is out for public comment.
Read Premier Alan Winde’s full State of the Province speech below: