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There is a growing sense of despair in South. Faced with stage-6 loadshedding, a cholera outbreak that points to failing water and health systems, spiralling food prices, crumbling infrastructure, rampant crime, growing unemployment, and the recent news that 81% of grade 4 schoolchildren cannot read for meaning, people everywhere are asking: Is there hope?
My answer is yes, there is hope. But you must look for it in the right place. Not in the President’s empty promises, nor in his government’s short-cut policies such as race quotas and BEE. Real hope comes from real evidence of governing successes.
Many people are calling for a new vision for South Africa, but the DA is doing it already. In practice, not in theory. Where we govern, we are making real progress, pulling people out of poverty and into prosperity. Here is some recent evidence that the DA’s approach to government improves the lives of all residents.
The DA-run Western Cape created 98% of all new jobs (167 000 out of 169 000) in Oct-Dec 2022 while the eight ANC-run provinces together contributed just 2%, as reported by StatsSA. This didn’t happen by accident. It happened because the DA’s approach is to say to entrepreneurs and investors: What can we do to help your business succeed?
We make it our business to deliver the conditions for job creation: working infrastructure, safe streets, access to quality education and health services, clean water, electricity and public transport.
Joe Biden famously said: “Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget and I’ll tell you what you value.” Compare the budgets of the big metros. DA-run City of Cape Town will spend more on infrastructure (R43 billion) than Joburg (R22 billion) and Durban (R19 billion) combined, with 73% directly benefitting poor communities through sewer upgrades, new MyCiti bus route for Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain, CCTV safety technology, clinics, libraries, informal settlement upgrades and more.
Crime statistics released this week show that while crime has gone up in the rest of South Africa, it has come down in the Western Cape. Year-on-year, the murder rate is down 14% and the rape rate is down 10%. This didn’t happen by accident, but because the province has determinedly pursued its Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP) which has put 1300 trained officers on the ground to work with SAPS and neighbourhood watch groups to tackle crime.
Cape Town recently received a global Water and Sanitation accolated, becoming the first city on the African continent to be added to the Leading Utilities of the World list.
Cape Town protects residents and businesses from 1-2 stages of loadshedding through excellent maintenance of its Steenbras pumped storage system and is on track with its plan to offer protection from four stages of loadshedding by 2026.
The recently released PIRLS literacy report was devastating. It showed that 81% of grade 4 schoolchildren cannot read for meaning. The Western Cape reading rate is double the South African average, but it is also the only province to have launched a comprehensive programme to reverse learning losses from covid lockdowns. They’re spending R1.2 billion on this Back on Track programme.
This week also saw the release of the Auditor General’s latest findings on municipal finances, which revealed that DA-led municipalities lead on clean audits. DA-led Midvaal in Gauteng returned its ninth consecutive year of clean audits, while 21 of the 38 clean audits were from Western Cape municipalities. Clean audits are hard evidence that DA governments spend public money honestly.
So, it should have come as no surprise last week when Ratings Afrika released their annual report showing that the five top-ranking municipalities and the top-ranking metro are all DA-run.
Imagine how much more progress the DA would make if we weren’t held back by national government which controls policing, rail, ports, energy and trade. This is our motivation behind the Western Cape Powers Bill which we recently tabled in the provincial legislature. It creates a framework for the province to assert its existing powers and seek delegation of further powers from national government.
DA governing successes and devolution legislation offers a blueprint for other provinces and local authorities to follow the same route. Nine parties are currently in discussions over forming a pre-election Pact that can offer voters a clear path to victory. The latest opinion polls already have the Pact at 43% in Northern Cape, 45% in KZN and 48% in Gauteng.
There is real hope that voters will elect a DA-led Pact government in these three provinces in the 2024 national election. Together with the Western Cape, these provinces account for over two thirds of SA’s economy. But we’re not stopping there. In 2024, the Pact is coming for the whole country. So please make sure you and your family and friends are registered to vote DA in 2024, for real hope backed by real evidence.
Submitted by DA leader John Steenhuisen