Winde’s Call to Action at Presidential Imbizo
At the sixth Presidential Imbizo held in Paarl just outside Cape Town, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde used the platform to challenge President Cyril Ramaphosa. Winde drew attention to the province’s most urgent issues, including the energy crisis and unemployment.
The Premier captured the mood of the gathering, stating, “We face significant challenges in our country and province. Load shedding and the energy crisis affect each citizen here. We all feel its impact daily.” He went on to highlight unemployment and housing shortages as other key issues needing the President’s attention.
Highlighting the Potential Amidst Challenges
Winde lauded the Western Cape’s labour force for its high skill level, acknowledging, “We have amazing people here. They can do so many things. As a government, it’s our job to tackle challenges to make things easier for them.”
The Premier proudly pointed to the recent statistics indicating 380,000 jobs were added to the province’s economy, noting the region’s significant contribution. “This region is 10% of the Western Cape economy, but it provides 15% of the jobs in our province. It creates more jobs than any other region in the province.”
A Balance Between Progress and Persistence
Although the Western Cape fares better than other provinces, Winde was clear that ongoing issues persist. He underscored the importance of focusing on the unemployed and reviewing policies that disproportionately concentrate on the employed. He challenged, “We must not focus on how we bring in legislation that determines outcomes based on race.”
A Billion-Rand Bet Against Load Shedding
Winde moved on to the energy crisis and discussed his administration’s strategy. His administration, in conjunction with several municipalities, has allocated substantial funding to reduce the impacts of load shedding.
“We know we need to address the energy crisis. We have set aside R1.1 billion for energy. The municipality has joined us, and together we’ve earmarked over R7 billion to fight against load shedding,” Winde explained.
He extended an invitation to partner with the President, the Minister of Electricity and the Minister of Energy to work towards ending load shedding.
Unified Against Crime
On crime, Winde stated, “We might have political differences, but in crime, we must stand united to make our region safer.”
While Ramaphosa did not respond directly to Winde’s remarks during the event, he later asked his ministers to provide answers. The event served as a platform for Winde to highlight the pressing issues faced by the Western Cape and propose tangible solutions, emphasizing collaboration between provincial and national authorities.