Outgoing Western Cape Premier Helen Zille delivers her State of the Province address. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
Outgoing Western Cape Premier Helen Zille delivers her State of the Province address. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Premier Helen Zille expected to face grilling at Sopa debate

By Tshego Lepule Time of article published Feb 17, 2019

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Cape Town - Outgoing Premier Helen Zille is expected to face tough questions during the debate of her State of the Province Address (Sopa) on Tuesday.

Critics questioned her focus on past achievements during her speech.

Zille delivered her last Sopa at the Western Cape Provincial Legislature on Friday, detailing the work her administration has done in the province during the past 10 years.

Before the second half of Zille’s speech, the ANC stormed out of the legislature, members have promised to take the premier to task.

Zille praised the clean audits since the DA took office in 2009.

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

She also highlighted that the province had the lowest unemployment rates, at 14 percentage points below the national average.

“We’ve created 508 000 new jobs in the Western Cape since the start of this administration’s first term, employment grew by 24.8% between 2009 and 2018, and we have South Africa’s lowest rural unemployment rate at 15.7%,” she added.

However, members of the opposition said her address lacked the true reflection of what was happening on the ground.

ACDP MPL Ferlon Christians said Zille was good at giving statistics that did not match the realities of everyday people.

“I’m a bit disappointed, our education is still in a mess, she was talking about the walking initiative, about resource officers at schools, but our children are still not safe, and that is a big problem for me,” he said.

“There are certain things she omitted and others she did say to make the province look good. You cannot compare yourself to an ANC that is not doing well."

The EFF’s Bernard Joseph said: “I don’t think there was anything important that came out.

“It shows that they (DA) are not serious in addressing the critical issues of the Western Cape.

“She spoke about the annual policing plan, but what does she say about crime, about the gang unit in the Western Cape and how to address it. It’s quite clear that the DA government is not serious about addressing these critical issues.”

Political analyst at the University of Western Cape Cherrel Africa said while Zille’s speech focused on providing achievements, the realities of how people live would be the main focus during the SOPA debate.

“The speech presents an opportune moment to authentically acknowledge the harsh lived reality of ordinary people - which for many continues despite the impressive achievements outlined by the premier.

“This was not explicitly done and so the current vulnerability of citizens will most likely be a key focus of the response to the State of the Province Address,” she said.

Weekend Argus

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