Premier Zille said her administration’s top priority has been to create an environment that encourages job creation, through investment and growth. Picture: Marvin Charles/Cape Argus
Premier Helen Zille has delivered her final State of the Province address in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament on Friday morning.

In opening her speech,  “There is a way forward for South Africa”,   the Premier said:

“Ten years ago, voters stood before two roads, that diverged, in a yellow wood.  Those in the Western Cape chose the road less travelled.  And it made all the difference.  My speech today will explain why.

Since May 2009, together with many partners, the Western Cape Government has made progress towards our long-term vision of a “highly skilled, innovation-driven, resource efficient, connected, high-opportunity society for all”.

Our first term was dedicated to establishing and embedding sound systems to secure good governance.  This created the foundation for our second term, during which we have gone further, focusing on game-changing interventions that, over time, will make a significant positive impact on people’s lives. 

We also pioneered a delivery methodology to turn strategy into reality in a focused and effective way, using data as never before to measure impact.  I hope it has become sufficiently embedded to leave a lasting legacy.

Speaker, to put it plainly, South Africa’s greatest problem is unemployment.  That is why our top priority has been to create an environment that encourages job creation, through investment and growth, the only sustainable way of beating poverty. 

We have raised the quality of basic education and laid the foundation for the digital future our children will face.

We have supported land reform like no other province, made more South Africans home owners through title deeds, and refined a game-changing model for well-located housing opportunities, which we know can be replicated country-wide.

As a caring government we have expanded social services to the disabled, our youth, the elderly, and those in need of protection, substance abuse treatment, and counselling.

We continue to build the partnerships necessary to foster safer communities within our limited oversight mandate, and to hold the SAPS and the national government accountable for their policing mandate.

The progress we are making is cause for optimism for every South African. There is a way forward for South Africa.”

Lowest Unemployment in SA

Premier Zille said her administration’s top priority has been to create an environment that encourages job creation, through investment and growth, the only sustainable way of beating poverty. 

“We have learnt first-hand how an economy responds to good and stable governance. Our key economic strategy – known a Project Khulisa – has succeeded because of its focus on sectors with high-growth potential, low barriers to entry, especially for young people, and rural impact. The sectors are agri-processing, tourism, oil and gas and the green economy,” said Zille.

Running through the province’s key achievements, the Premier listed the following:
  • We have South Africa’s lowest unemployment rate at a full 14 percentage points below the national average on the expanded definition.
  • We’ve created 508 000 new jobs in the Western Cape since the start of this administration’s first term, based on this week’s latest official statistics compared to the 3rd Quarter 2009.  It is worth mentioning that if every province had done that, South Africa would be close to the 5-million job opportunities Jacob Zuma promised the country by 2020.
  • Employment in the Western Cape grew by 24.8% between 2009 and 2018, well ahead of Gauteng (18.6%) and KZN (8.8%).
  • We have South Africa’s lowest rural unemployment rate at 15.7%.
  • Cape Town was named the top financial centre in sub-Saharan Africa, overtaking Johannesburg in the 2018 Global Financial Centres Index.
  • Cape Town is the city with the most job opportunities, based on an analysis of over 140 000 vacancies in January 2019 by Jobs search engine Adzuna.
  • We are Africa’s Tech Hub. The Cape Town-Stellenbosch tech ecosystem is the most productive in Africa, employing over 40 000 people. This is more than Lagos and Nairobi combined according to the Endeavour Insights Report 2018.
  • We are now Africa’s Green Economy Hub – 70% of SA’s renewable energy manufacturing takes place in the Western Cape. This is the driving force behind our country becoming the fastest growing green economy in the world, according to Moody’s.
  • Cape Town was named Top Events and Festival Destination in the World at the 2018 World Travel awards. This is, in part, the result of our support to 163 major events since 2011, including the Cape Town Cycle Tour (the world’s largest cycle race), the Cape Town Carnival, and the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees.
  • And for the 10th consecutive year, we were named the top meetings, events and conferencing destination in Africa by the ICCA.

82% Budget on the Poor & Highest Clean Audits in SA

Premier Zille said:

“At 83%, the Western Cape received the highest number of clean audits in South Africa in 2018/19 across all entities and departments. 

Once again we were well ahead of the next Province, Gauteng, with 52% clean audits.

Today we are the cleanest government in South Africa, quite a turnaround from the situation of zero clean audits when we took office in 2009.

However, the requirements of achieving clean audits (a concept unique to South Africa) are often so constraining, that they throttle innovation and progress.  We need, therefore, to move to a system of auditing for impact and results.

But what is undeniable, is that good governance enabled us to spend 82% of the Provincial Budget on delivering services to the poor.”


Youth Opportunity

Premier Zille said that over the last 10 years, we’ve spent R171 billion on education, skills and social opportunities for our youth.

“In 2018 alone, we spent over R24.8 billion (38% of our Budget) on child and youth-related services, including eLearning, Broadband infrastructure, education, early childhood development and child protection services.

During this term, we connected over 80% of schools to free internet, refreshed 1160 computer labs, delivered over 28 800 devices, created an online portal with 11 000 resources, and trained 70% of teachers in e-learning techniques,” said Zille.

 

Over 200 000 Housing Opportunities since 2009

Premier Zille said that since 2009, the Province had delivered 212 967 housing opportunities across the Western Cape.

“In the current term we have exceeded our combined target for housing and serviced sites in every financial year since 2014/15. And we are on track to meet 100% of our targets by end of term.

As a result of our human settlements delivery during this term, we injected R19,3 billion into the construction and real estate sector, and consistently ensured that not less than 50% thereof benefits SMMEs. 

This has facilitated an estimated 2400 job opportunities in the construction industry, with 342 young people completing our capacity building programme.

Going forward, a total of 105 500 housing opportunities are in the pipeline for completion by 2022 as part of our Catalytic projects, which are at various stages of construction, design and planning.

Opportunities are aimed at the poorest residents, and will benefit amongst others, informal settlement dwellers along the N2 in Cape Town, farm workers in Transhex (Breede Valley) and Vlakkeland (Paarl), and residents in the Southern Cape areas of Thembalethu, Wilderness Heights and Syferfontein (George).

We are also placing a particular emphasis on property ownership as a pathway out of poverty.

Since 2009, 103 000 people have received title deeds across the Western Cape.

In every financial year of the current term, the Western Cape has exceeded its title deed delivery targets by a minimum of 2000. 

This has reduced poverty as beneficiaries are now property owners. Through our efforts in the Western Cape, we have brought the title deeds backlog down to 25%, compared to 59% nationally.

This has been possible through a dedicated team tasked to expedite the transfer of title deeds in this Province,” said Zille.

 

Highest Access to Healthcare in SA

Premier Zille said that today, overall, life expectancy in the Western Cape is the highest in the country, supported by a functional public healthcare system.

“Since 2009, life expectancy for men has increased from 59 years to a projected 66 years, and for women from 64 years to a projected 72 years.

The Western Cape has the highest percentage of households living within 30 minutes of their nearest health facility, at 91.5%, according to Stats SA’s General Household Survey 2016.

To ensure rural access to healthcare, our HealthNet patient transport system operates at around 230 pick-up points across the province.

Every year over 150 000 patients are transported to healthcare facilities, through this R90 million service. This system is unique to the Western Cape.

At the start of this term, we added a School Wellness Mobile service, which has so far reached over 400 000 learners across 3000 school visits in the metro and rural districts.

To make it easier for stable patients to collect chronic medication, we launched the Chronic Dispensing Unit from 6000 collection points - other than health facilities - for medication sent by courier.

This service has grown to a point where, on average, 380 000 patients receive parcels from the CDU every month, and over 4.5 million medicine parcels are distributed per year.

And Speaker, we are only the province to digitize patient records in public healthcare.

All in all, our digital records now cover 54 hospitals, around 300 primary healthcare facilities, and currently host about 13 million patient records, spanning more than 25 years,” said Zille.

@TheCapeArgus