The Western Cape Cabinet this week visited Mossel Bay for a Cabinet Outreach and a Premier’s Coordinating Forum (PCF) meeting. The PCF was an opportunity for the Provincial Cabinet to engage with municipalities from across the province to further solidify provincial-municipal relations and review the work we are doing to make the Western Cape a better province to live and work in. The objective is to promote and facilitate intergovernmental work to ensure integrated, effective, and efficient service delivery.
The forum heard presentations from various Provincial Ministers and officials on key priority areas such as job creation, energy resilience and policing.
Provincial Treasury Head of Department, David Savage, gave an economic overview of the country and the province, giving an honest assessment of the economy. He said despite sluggish economic growth nationally, the Western Cape is still faring relatively well, thanks in part to the resilient growth of our agricultural sector. On the issue of unemployment, the HOD told delegates the Western Cape has the second lowest unemployment rate in the country at 27.5%, but the lowest broader unemployment rate (31.3%) with the smallest percentage point difference between these rates at over 3%.
His presentation showed the various pressures citizens are under, with the rising cost of living and the power crisis putting strain on residents, especially the poor. To offset these challenges Savage said: “The Western Cape Government (WCG) has to significantly reprioritise resources and look at new ways of financing services.”
The forum heard how the Western Cape has established and embedded a system of good governance. The Western Cape’s track record of good governance is attracting more and more people from other provinces. “This presents significant opportunities,” remarked Premier Alan Winde. The Premier added: “We as the WCG have to capitalise on this inward migration, and so sound infrastructure development – among other issues – has to be sustained and become smarter.”
Reflecting on the recent Cabinet Meets Business session and the WCG’s energy summit, Provincial Finance and Economic Opportunities Minister Mireille Wenger told the forum: “We must put in place the plans we need now to create the future we hope for. For me, the future is one of a rapidly growing economy, that creates jobs, that is resilient and private sector responsive.” Minister Wenger concluded: “Local government is at the coalface of meaningful change.”
Safety was also high on the PCF’s agenda. Police Oversight and Community Safety Minister Reagen Allen said ahead of the presentation of his department’s Provincial Policing Needs and Priorities: “I remain committed to seeing that the Western Cape Safety Plan is a success. By utilising our resources optimally and steering in the same direction, our residents will not only witness how committed we are in fighting crime, but it will be easier for our partners, including municipalities, to join us. We are more effective if we work together.”