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02 Mar 2009 19:03
Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille on Monday dismissed claims by Congress of the People (Cope) Western Cape premier candidate Allan Boesak that her party has not made a difference to the lives of the people of Cape Town.
“When politicians resort to propagating falsehoods like this, it is because they have run out of ideas,” she told a public meeting in Bedfordview, Gauteng.
“Boesak is trying to divert attention from the deep tensions in Cope over his premier candidacy, and to cover up for the fact that his party lacks an alternative policy platform,” she said.
After only three years in office, the DA-led multiparty government had established a track record in Cape Town.
“Although we still have a long way to go before we achieve all the policy outcomes we are aiming for, we have so far gained a reputation for improved efficiency and service delivery.
“I believe in the principle ‘show, don’t tell’, but let me use this opportunity to set Reverend Boesak straight by telling him a few truths,” Zille said.
Under the DA, the economy in Cape Town had grown and more opportunities had been created. Among other things, Cape Town’s gross geographic product increased by more than 12% from R116,6-billion in 2005—when the African National Congress (ANC) governed—to R130,77-billion in 2007, under DA rule.
Unemployment declined from 20,7% in 2005 to 17,9% in 2007, which was below the national average of 23,2%.
Within a year of taking over the city, the DA cut debt by nearly R1-billion.
“That allowed us to extend the capital available for service delivery by 15%.
“And we have put the money to good use: for example, we have begun supplying electricity to informal settlements that fall under Eskom’s jurisdiction—such as Happy Valley and Site B Khayelitsha—areas to which the ANC sought to block electricity provision,” she said.
The city had also been able to write off debt for the very poor to the value of R1,5-billion, speeded up service delivery, provided free basic services for all, and was busy installing electricity and water in the areas that did not receive them when the ANC was in government.
“We have doubled the average annual rate of housing delivery, from the ANC’s average of 3 000 per year between 2002 and 2006 to an average of 7 000 per year between 2006 and 2008.
And we have introduced fairer housing allocation procedures.
“Under the DA, Cape Town has become safer.
“The ANC brought Cape Town to the brink of collapse, but the DA saved it and we are busy turning it into a success.
“And we will do the same in those provinces that we win after the election—either on our own or in coalition—by implementing the policies that give life to our vision of an open, opportunity society for all,” Zille said.—Sapa
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