The Western Cape Government’s delivery to poor communities
Helen Zille, Leader of the Democratic Alliance
30 August 2012
Today, I am presenting an overview of the Western Cape Government’s expenditure and redistribution to poor communities in the province. (Please see attached Presentation on Expenditure and Results here: Click Here to Download)
While I stand by my response to the ANCYL – I will engage with them in a constructive manner on issues that are relevant to our service delivery mandate if they retract their unlawful threats to make the Western Cape ungovernable – I wish to rebut the narrative the youth league is trying to create and which has been reported by the media namely: The Western Cape Government does not deliver to the poor.
This narrative is completely false. Our government’s primary focus is on reducing poverty. If we were able to implement all our policies, starting with the national government, we believe the majority of poor people would be able to take a pathway out of poverty within a one generation.
We recognise that poverty is the primary obstacle to living a full life for many of the people living in the province and we are doing all we can to address this untenable situation. This is why 76% of our budget is redistributed to poor communities. This is how it should be.
But before I present a breakdown of this expenditure and provide more detail regarding our interventions aimed at reducing poverty, it is important that I set out what provincial governments are constitutionally required to deliver and more importantly, the philosophy that underpins the Western Cape Government’s approach to creating opportunities for the poor.
Constitutional competencies of the three spheres of government
First, the Constitution clearly sets out the competencies of national, provincial and local government.
The following are functional areas of national, provincial and local competence: the provision of housing, health services, public transport and urban and rural development. National government and provincial governments also share the responsibility of providing basic education.
Areas of exclusive provincial competence include: provincial roads and traffic, oversight over the SAPS and city police services, ambulance services, libraries other than national libraries, museums other than national museums, provincial recreation and amenities and provincial sport.
Finally, some of the areas which local government is exclusively responsible for are: rates collection, the provision of electricity (in areas not serviced by Eskom), sanitation services, water, street lighting, City police services, municipal roads and fire-fighting services.
It is important that citizens know and understand these competencies, so that they approach the correct sphere of government when they have a service delivery complaint or concern.
The Western Cape government’s philosophy when it comes to defeating poverty
The Western Cape Government takes its constitutional responsibilities extremely seriously and has developed a comprehensive policy agenda designed to achieve quantifiable outcomes in order to meet our obligations.
However, there is a core philosophy underpinning all our policies and programmes. It is based on the approach taken by every country that has been successful in reducing mass poverty. The role of the state is to create and extend opportunities so that citizens are given the chance and the wherewithal to improve their circumstances and become economically independent, fulfilled and contributing citizens.
In other words, our role is to facilitate opportunities for citizens so that they can take the pathway out of poverty. This is a combination of many inputs, from the state and its institutions, to communities, families and individuals themselves.
A critical component of this philosophy is that citizens recognise that they are active partners in development and not doomed to be permanently dependent on state handouts.
With this in mind, I would like to address the demands made in the ANCYL’s memorandum to the Western Cape Government, which they handed over on Monday.
The content of the memorandum reveals the league’s ignorance of the competencies of the three spheres of government as most of their demands do not fall within the Province’s constitutional mandate.
Response to the ANCYL’s memorandum
ANCYL: “We demand that land that is owned by private people and companies be made available for the building of decent houses…..
We demand the land in Rondesbosch Square (Rondebosch Common) among many so that our people will live together as the constitution dictates so. This land must be made available for the poorest of the poor.”
- This would require wholesale expropriation of residential property resulting in the collapse of the economy and the rates base of the City of Cape Town. There would be mass job losses and a dramatic reduction in the tax revenue needed to subsidise free services and provide infrastructure in poor communities. If government were to comply with this demand of the ANCYL it would result in mass impoverishment. Poor people would become much poorer.
- Rondebosch Common is a Natural and Historical Monument and an important conservation area for the critically endangered Cape Flats Sand Fynbos. Human settlement development in this ecologically sensitive area is thus not feasible.
2. Service delivery
ANCYL: “We demand that electricity is an essential service and it ought to be given to the people without being made to suffer for it. We demand a speedy electrification of our poor and disadvantaged areas. It is inhumane for people in 19 years of democratic government to still live in darkness and only rely on candles and paraffin for energy.
We demand the DA administration to provide proper sanitation to our communities. 19 years into democracy our people still relieve themselves in Pota-loos. This violates our constitutional right, that of proper decent sanitation. It also perpetuates health hazards such as diarrhoea and ringworms. The bucket system is a mechanism to kill our people as the Premier referred to them “REFUGEES”.”
- This matter refers to a delivery mandate of the City of Cape Town and not the Province.
- However, it is worth noting that the 2012 Universal Household Access to Basic Services (UHABS) report, compiled by the national Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, showed the City of Cape Town to be the best performing metropole in South Africa in every service delivery metric, delivering more to its poor residents than any other city in the country.
- The report showed that Cape Town was a top performer for sanitation services on par with Johannesburg. Both provide 94% basic access – well ahead of other metros like Tshwane (78%) and Durban (85%) – while Cape Town led the way in providing basic access to electricity at a rate of 95% - far higher than 78% for Tshwane, 88% for Durban, 80% for Ekurhuleni, 91% for Port Elizabeth and 90% for Johannesburg.
- It is also worth highlighting that the City’s Electricity Department provides electricity distribution services to approximately 75% of City customers, while some areas in the eastern and northern parts of Cape Town are serviced by Eskom.
- Eskom does not provide electrification to informal settlements. To compensate for this, the City steps into the breach, electrifying areas OUTSIDE of its distribution areas in order to deliver to the poor.
- The quicker the escalation of urbanisation, the more difficult it is to sustain access to basic services.
- The City is prevented by law from delivering services on private land -- where increasingly people are building shacks.
- The National Department of Public Works owns much of the vacant land that is suitable for human settlements. The City has been waiting a very long time for a response to a request for land release from the national Department.
3. Human Settlements
ANCYL: “We demand that the MEC to be dismissed including his department officials with immediate effect and to be replaced by a more competent person who will not be remote controlled by Zille. The department is full of corruption till to date there is no one held accountable for this. Our people demand a speedy delivering of houses to people who have been on a waiting list for ever. We demand that all hostels in Mananberg (sic), Elsie’s River, Hanover Park etc built during the apartheid era to be demolished and that people get decent houses where they will live happily in their new democratic government.
We demand that people get houses closer to the CBD and not far from where they work. The view of locating our people as far as West Coast closer to Malmesbury is ridiculous and absurd. We want houses in Rondebosch Square (sic) and in Constantia. We know the department of human settlement in the City of Cape had a budget of R17 billion and only R1.7 Billion was spent and none of our benefitted out of this. Zille miust tell us where is the money?
We demand an end to TRA’s because the government of Zille has clearly displayed that it does not understand what the meaning of temporary is. People in Mfuleni among other areas are dying in these fridges. A child died in Mfuleni Bosasa TRA’s and nothing was done by government. How many more must die Zille???
We demand that shacks within the City and Province to be eradicated by not later than 2014!!”
- In 2011/12, the City of Cape Town had a total budget of approximately R2 billion. The claimed figure of R17 billion is therefore a complete fabrication.
- It is far more cost-effective for the City to improve and upgrade existing rental stock, (which are not hostels) that it owns rather than demolish it. To do so would be to destroy thousands of housing opportunities!
- Temporary Relocation Areas (TRAs) are a necessary feature of human settlement development, including informal settlement upgrading. When a space is cleared for service infrastructure to be installed and housing opportunities/units to be developed, the former occupants of that space must be placed in alternative accommodation in the interim. The achievement of more decent and dignified living conditions for the poor cannot happen without TRAs. In places like Blikkiesdorp, people who were previously living under plastic in the street now have access to full services and shelter.
4. Safety and Security
ANCYL: “We demand that Mr Dan Plato follow Mr Madikizela as he too proved to be a useless duck. Crime has escalated to its highest levels within the Western Cape and City of Cape Town under the rule of the DA. Nyanga has not once but twice became the murder capital of the nation. Mananberg (sic) and Hanover Park children swim in drugs and guns yet the MEC and Zille smile, say that it is normal.
Why are the police stations in the townships not given the necessary resources they need? Why are all security agencies deployed in Sea Point, Camps Bay and Constantia where there is little crime compared to our areas? The calling of SANDF proves that the government of Zille has failed our people. She is incompetent and a disaster. Madam Zille please do us a favour, JUST RESIGN!!!”
- The high crime rate in Nyanga is a very serious concern and a Nyanga Safety Summit was held by the Department of Community Safety on 21 July to address this very issue. The available evidence suggests that the root cause of the high contact crime rate in Nyanga is the easy availability of alcohol and the extent of alcohol abuse. We are proceeding to implement the VPUU programme in Nyanga (which includes developing the “High Street” model) and applying the provisions of the Liquor Act to address the crisis of substance abuse and crime in the area.
- The allocation of resources to police stations is not a matter for which the Province and the City can be held as neither sphere of government have operation control or management authority over the SAPS.
- The Western Cape Government seeks to assist the police by working to make them more effective through careful oversight. The provincial government has very limited powers when it comes to law enforcement. The legal prerogative we do have, as defined by the constitution, is the power of oversight and we are doing all we can to maximise that:
- We have introduced the Community Safety Bill which, once passed, will clearly define the scope and nature of our oversight work.
- We are supporting and strengthening community policing forums and neighbourhood watches through training and equipment provision so that civilian oversight and active citizen participation is central to efforts to increase public safety in a “whole-of-society” approach because safety is everyone’s responsibility.
- We have recently partnered with the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in an initiative to promote professional policing called “Reward-A-Cop, Report-A-Cop”. The campaign encourages citizens to report instances of bad policing or police service and instances of good policing and effective police service. This will give the police the kind of feedback and information from citizens as users of police services that police management can use to improve their operations.
- We have appointed a Commission of Inquiry to investigate alleged inefficiencies in the Khayelitsha SAPS and to find the causes of an alleged breakdown in relations between the police and residents in that area.
5. Youth Wage Subsidy
ANCYL: “We demand that this subsidy be discarded with immediate effect. This only just complements the labour broking system that is killing our people and youth in particular. We demand that decent employment and interventions to the levels of high employment be implemented. In the City of Cape Town alone, unemployment is at 33% - 40%. And worse there is no Youth policy that seeks to resolve this crisis.
The Youth of South Africa through the National Youth Parliament was here in the Western Cape rejected this Policy. We are saying nothing about us without us. We demand a youth development and a program of job seekers grant to be researched and implemented.”
- The Western Cape Government’s youth wage subsidy programme, the Work & Skills Programme for 100 000, is a pro-poor programme to create first-time job opportunities for disadvantaged youth and has been a solid success.
- Apart from learners being provided with skills training and work experience, the Work and Skills Programme provided employment opportunities for 2966 participants, since 2009. The key to the success of this programme lies in the fact that the project is sustainable because it is demand-led and thus responsive to real market needs in growth sectors of the economy.
- In light of the buy-in from the private sector and documented success in enabling young people to access job opportunities, the Western Cape Government will seek to expand the Work & Skills Programme, not discard it. We will continue advocating to receive the Western Cape’s share of the R5-billion Jobs Fund managed by national Treasury, which has thus far remain unspent because COSATU opposes the Youth Wage Subsidy.
- The implementation of a job seekers’ grant will not address the challenge of youth unemployment. The key point about a Youth Wage Subsidy is that it helps get unemployed young people onto the first rung of the ladder of the economy. On the basis of this foothold, they can gain skills and become productive participants in the economy. This is different from a job seekers’ grant that, on the contrary, would provide yet another grant that would more likely entrench unemployment and even potentially incentivise young people to stay out of work.
- A 2011 report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation Development (OECD) raised concerns about the negative impact that the duration of unemployment benefits had on “duration dependence”. Duration dependence refers to the probability that the longer a person is unemployed, the harder it will be for them to find work. A jobs seekers’ grant would risk breeding such duration dependence because it is based on a misdiagnosis of the problem at the heart of youth unemployment. It assumes that there are many jobs available for young people out there if only they were given the wherewithal and the funding to go and find those jobs. But the problem is that these jobs do not exist.
6. Closure of schools
ANCYL: “We demand that this attempt of closing six schools in our region must come to an end. Again, this proves that the DA government wants to reverse the gains made by our people in 1994. These schools have not only provided quality and meaningful contact time with learners, they are closer to their homes and do not have to travel long distances to reach school. We urge the provincial government to look into the matter and rather provide mechanisms to address shortcomings faced by these schools. Do not close the schools!”
- The proposed closure of certain schools is about improving opportunities for our learners by placing them at schools that are better equipped to provide a quality education. This is part and parcel of an education system that is responsive and caring. By placing learners in schools that are better equipped and staffed, the system provides learners with a chance to receive a better quality education.
- School closures are not unique to the Western Cape. Across the country, many hundreds of schools are being closed. Each provincial education department needs to apply its resources efficiently to accommodate the changing realities within its province, and seek to provide the best possible quality to the greatest number of learners on the available funds.
- The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) is currently busy with public hearings in terms of applicable national legislation in respect of each of the 27 schools proposed for closure. The public hearings are being taken very seriously. No final decision has been made on the future of these schools.
7. Non-delivery of textbooks
ANCYL: “The DA administration upholds the constitution of South Africa supreme. However it does not deliver to (sic) basic rights of our people, the right to education. The no (sic) delivery of textbooks to our schools is a disgrace and an indication that the DA administration undermines the rights of the people of South Africa, black in particular because the only schools that do not have textbooks are those found in black communities like Kraaifontein.”
- It is completely untrue that there has been no delivery of textbooks to schools in the Western Cape. The WCED has ensured the delivery of all textbooks which were ordered by schools at the beginning of 2012, and which were available. In isolated cases where textbook shortages have occurred subsequent to delivery, they are caused where there is unanticipated growth in learner numbers during the school year; where the school has not ordered sufficient books; and/or where the publisher or service provider is unable to provide the books ordered immediately.
- The fact is that the WCED has gone above and beyond the norm for textbook allocation to schools. The WCED is currently preparing to deliver about 1.6 million textbooks needed for the 2013 school year. This is over and above the additional R240 million that schools can spend on textbooks from funding allocated to them in terms of national norms and standards. The WCED has publicly committed itself to provide core textbooks free of charge to learners in Grades 4, 5, 6 and 11.
- This is in line with the commitment made in 2011 that over a three-year period all children from Grade 1 to 12 will receive a textbook in every core subject that they are taking. This year learners in Grades 1, 2 and 3 received maths textbooks and readers and Grade 10 received textbooks in all the core subjects they are taking. The WCED is now preparing to roll-out the next stage of its plan to include learners in Grades 4, 5, 6 and 11. In terms of this plan, the WCED is investing R144-million during the 2012/13 year on textbooks for schools.
8. The IRT
ANCYL: “The introduction of the IRT system in the transport industry has disabled the taxi industry. It has taken away jobs and businesses of taxi owners and drivers. 54 taxis had to stop operating due to this system that robbed families of their household income. We urge the provincial government to embark in a program that will revitalise the taxi industry and provide mechanical support to taxis that need service for the safety of passengers. The IRT costs taxpayers millions and we have seen in recent times that it is running at a loss!”
- This matter is also a delivery mandate of the City of Cape Town, not the Province.
- The roll-out of the integrated rapid transit (IRT) system is intended to integrate all transport modalities, including minibus taxis, so that they operate in a complementary fashion to serve the needs of public transport commuters. It has been deliberately planned to create links to other forms of transport with the aim being to have a single, integrated public transport system with all modes working together efficiently, on the basis of a single ticketing system, to ensure that public transport fulfils its functions adequately. Ultimately, the IRT has been implemented to give residents and commuters greater choice, mobility and access to opportunities.
- The phased roll-out of IRT bus lanes along minibus taxi routes will always be accompanied by consultation processes involving all stakeholders. We do not believe that the improvement of public transport through the expansion of the IRT system constitutes a zero-sum exercise that entails mutually exclusive trade-offs between current taxi operators and the new bus lines. Opportunities exist for all stakeholders to operate in a manner that increases access to safe and efficient transport for all Cape Town residents.
- The IRT is furthermore a social project that is intended to benefit the poor and improve the quality of life for all residents, particularly those who are reliant on public transport. Before the system breaks even, it has to achieve “economies of scale” which requires further roll-out across the City. All new systems, especially public transport, require substantial capital investment up front. The national Department of Transport has been supporting the project and its funding has relieved the burden on ratepayers. However, the percentage of cost recovery has been increasing, placing the IRT on a path to sustainability.
9. Phillipi Small Business Plaza
ANCYL: “We are rejecting the attempts of stripping our people whom are black from the economy. In this democracy, white people still control majority of the economy. The DA in Phillipi is taking away businesses from black people who are a total of 72 entrepreneurs which employ about 300 people around the area.”
- This is not a Provincial matter and must be addressed by the City, subject to say that it is entirely wrong to suggest that the development of Philippi is intended to undermine black business. The opposite is true.
- The attraction of established business into Philippi is the result of the City’s efforts to create an enabling environment for investment and growth and the Philippi Plaza is intended to benefit SMMEs as well as larger enterprises. Indeed, anchor tenants are essential to support smaller businesses, and enable customers to reach shops and spend their money in their local area, thus benefiting the local economy.
- The early success of the Business Plaza is a demonstration of the effectiveness of public-private partnerships to create economic opportunities for emerging and established enterprises which facilitates job creation and local empowerment.
- It is, in fact, the ANC that is destroying jobs and economic opportunities through the sub-council chair in Philippi who has demanded that allocation of spaces and opportunities in the Business Plaza should be decided by the sub-council. This is closed, cronyist ANC mentality at its most obvious (to benefit politically connected people). Again, the ANCYL betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of how economies work and how shared prosperity is achieved that can lift people out of poverty.
Western Cape Government’s redistribution to the poor
The ANCYL and its affiliates are trying to create a false narrative that the Western Cape Government does not deliver to the poor. But one only needs to look at how we spend out budget to see how baseless their statements are.
An analysis of the amount spent by the “big-spending” provincial departments that 76% of their budgets are redistributed to poor communities in order to increase their access to opportunities.
The following table provides a breakdown of this expenditure by provincial department:
Amount spent on the poor
% of total budget
R 11.419 billion
R 10.1 billion
R 1.725 billion
R 1.224 billion
Cultural Affairs and Sport
R 241 million
The attached PowerPoint presentation provides a more detailed breakdown of the money spent by these departments on programmes aimed at benefitting poor communities. Click Here to Download
Some of these highlights include:
- 78% of the provincial department’s budget is spent on providing health services in poor wards in the City of Cape Town and municipalities in the rest of the province.
- 80% of patients receiving treatment at Western Cape hospitals receive free services or pay a nominal fee as they fall into the H1 annual income bracket - R0.00 to R36 000 (single persons) and R0.00 to R50 000 (family units).
- These interventions have led to a number of achievements including: halving the number deaths due to diarrhoea in the Cape Metro from between 2009/2010 and 2010/2011; and reducing the mother to child HIV transmission rates from 3.6% in 2009 to 1.9% in 2011.
- 80.2% (R610 million) of funding allocated to the provision of textbooks, stationery, learner transport and feed schemes goes to the poorest 60% of our learner population
- R516.6 million is allocated to 673 no fee schools in the province. In 2007 (under the former ANC government) schools in Quintile 1 and 2 were declared no fee schools. In 2010 (under the DA government) this policy was extended to include Quintile 3 schools.
- The DA Government has also top sliced the number of teacher posts at better off schools, which means poorer schools are allocated 5% more posts totalling around R500 million.
- These and our other interventions to schools in poorer areas have resulted in a number of achievements including the poorest schools in Quintile 1 improving their pass rate from 57% in 2010 to 70% in the 2011 NSC examinations.
- The number of underperforming schools also decreased from 78 in 2010 to 30 in 2011.
3. Human Settlements:
- 90% of the human settlements budget is spent in poor communities.
- The provincial department is currently funding 12 housing projects in the Cape metro area.
- During 2012/2013 approximately 9691 sites will be serviced and 15053 housing units will be built across the province.
4. Social Development:
- 87% of social developments total budget is spent on the poor.
- There are 1002 ECDs across the province and 70 after school centres.
- There are also 36 children homes funded by the provincial government in the province.
- The provincial department also funds 126 old age homes in the province and 226 service centres for older persons.
- There are also 31 homes for disabled people in the provinces that have space for 1290 residents.
5. Culture Affairs and Sport
- 61% of the provincial department’s budget is spent in poor areas (the money spent on language services, heritage and archives have not been included).
- R29 million is being spent on our MOD (Mass Participation, Opportunity & Development) centres programme. (The MOD Programme is an after-school programme that provides mass participation and access for youth in disadvantaged communities, as well as talent identification and skills development)
- There are around 180 MOD centres across the province and a Sports School in Kuilsriver that has been allocated R9 million and enrols children from poor areas who have shown a talent in sport.