Zille on blessings of a DA win in W Cape

The leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA), Helen Zille the mayor of Cape Town, has outlined an idyllic picture of what life will be like if her party wins the April 22 election and takes control of the Western Cape provincial government.

Writing in her weekly internet newsletter, she said on Friday that both the local and provincial spheres of government are closely interlinked in many ways—such as housing, transport, economic development and planning.

“We can attain exceptional outcomes if we all pull together, rather than in opposite directions,” she said.
“Despite improvements in recent months, we are nowhere close to optimal cooperative governance between the DA-led City of Cape Town and the ANC-run provincial administration.”

In fact, she said, for the last three years the province has actually worked to undermine the city’s delivery programme in housing, in community safety, in public transport, in tourism and other crucial areas.

“The province has still not granted the City of Cape Town housing accreditation, which would transfer authority to approve housing projects and subsidies to the city. With full accreditation, the city would be able to approve housing projects in two to three months, compared to the current provincial housing department’s time of eight to 18 months.

“When the DA, or a DA-led coalition, takes control of the Western Cape after 22 April, we will move to grant housing accreditation to the city, which has a more efficient administration than province. We will transfer former housing board land to the city, and focus on getting the remaining provincial housing projects outside of Cape Town working properly. We will also ensure speedy planning approvals for housing projects and timeous transfer of infrastructure funding to the city.”

The mayor claimed that the ANC-controlled provincial department of community safety has undermined the City of Cape Town on a number of key initiatives.

“During the outbreak of xenophobic violence in 2008, it refused to take the lead role in supporting about 20 000 displaced foreign nationals, even when the situation was declared a provincial disaster,” she said.

“Instead, the city’s disaster management team had to shoulder over R100-million in costs, and the city had to provide over 90% of the accommodation for displaced persons.

“The province has also put obstacles in the way of a coordinated response to drug abuse in Cape Town. Instead of working with the city to shut down drug dens, the province has instead attacked me in my capacity as mayor, going so far as to arrest me unlawfully in Mitchells Plain during an anti-drug dealer protest in 2007.”

As for public transport, Zille said, the most serious problem for the city is the province’s inability to run the Minibus Taxi Permit Office.

“This has resulted in about 10 000 unlicensed taxis operating in Cape Town,” she said. “Together with a total failure of law enforcement by province, this has surrendered Cape Town’s public transport to mob rule, factionalism and protection rackets for unlicensed taxi operators in the National Taxi Association.”

Zille promised: “When we win the Western Cape, we will significantly increase enforcement capacity to deal with taxis, and work with the city to introduce more stringent laws [especially impounding vehicles], to bring greater order to the industry.”—I-Net Bridge

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