Premier Alan Winde uses SOPA to attack Helen Bowden occupation
IOL - CAPE ARGUS / 18 FEBRUARY 2021 - 08.07 / MWANGI GITWHAHU
Cape Town - Premier Alan Winde used his State of the Province Address (SOPA) to attack the organisations involved in the occupation of the Helen Bowden Nurses' Home in Green Point and said the occupation was “illegal, immoral and corrupt”.
Winde said: “I remain flabbergasted as to how this government can be attacked for not delivering housing close to the centre of Cape Town by the very same organisations that have either directly encouraged, or silently supported, the occupation of the previous Helen Bowden Nurses’ Home.”
Premier Alan Winde delivering his State of the province Address in Genadendal.
Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency
“This is a crucial development for housing in the inner city of Cape Town. It is actually one of the most prime pieces of real estate on the African continent and it has been hijacked, illegally occupied and opportunities have been taken away from other law-abiding citizens.This is absolutely unacceptable.”
“Quite frankly it is immoral, it's illegal, it's corrupt. We will continue with our process through the courts to end this, so that we can actually get on with our work and make sure we make key differences for citizens in prime spaces of our province.”
Other key points in Winde’s 41-page speech included a promise that the province would be the first in the country to beat load shedding via the Municipal Energy Resilience Project, which will assist municipalities in taking the necessary steps to generate, procure and sell their own power.
On the key issue of transport, Winde said: “I announced last year that we will start an initial engagement with our partners and other stakeholders around the creation of a single transport authority for the greater Cape Town region, something which all modern cities have.”
“Sadly though, this is not a quick fix. It will take time, co-ordination and of course financing over the longer term,” said Winde.
Reacting to the speech, provincial leader of the opposition Cameron Dugmore (ANC) said: “It is clear to us as the ANC that when Premier Winde talks about leading from the front, he’s actually talking about leading from the front to protect those in the Western Cape, a minority, who have benefited from colonialism and apartheid.”
“We have seen that the province has been undermining national programme policies and laws aimed to benefit historically disadvantaged people. They are undermining B-BBEE and national laws on land redistribution.”
Good MPL Brett Herron said: “The delivery of inner-city affordable housing remains zero. Last year the premier promised to settle the Tafelberg School litigation. This would by implication mean rescinding the sale of the public property and making it available for a public purpose, like affordable housing.
“The premier did not settle the dispute and it was litigated to the end. The province lost the case and instead of announcing that the property will now be used for affordable housing the premier is appealing the court decision.”
Meanwhile, in a break with tradition Winde chose to table his speech and send it to all members of the legislature via WhatsApp.
The move disturbed FF Plus MPL Peter Marais who said he would bring the issue up with the Speaker during this morning's debate on the SOPA which will again be a hybrid session with some members in the legislature chamber, some online at home and others in Genadendal.
Speaker Masizole Mnqasela, whose idea it was to hold the SOPA in the Overberg district, said: “I am proud that we had the opportunity to host this year’s official opening and SOPA in the historic town of Genadendal.”
“Six of our standing committees made use of the opportunity to focus on the circumstances of the people of Genadendal during oversight visits leading up to today’s event,” said Masizole.
Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER