Mon, 19 Aug 2019

Newly elected Western Cape Premier Alan Winde says he plans to change the structure of the provincial Cabinet as he starts his tenure with a focus on creating jobs, boosting the economy and protecting society and investors from crime.

"One of the first things that I must do is put together a Cabinet and there are some adjustments we are considering to improve efficiency. I cannot say too much about it right now [..] but we will definitely have some changes," Winde told Fin24 last week. The provincial Cabinet is expected to be announced on Thursday morning.

Winde was on Wednesday sworn in as premier in the Western Cape Legislature, taking over from Helen Zille who served two terms.

The DA has 24 seats in the 42-person legislature, the ANC 12 and the EFF 2. The ACDP, Al Jama-ah, the FF+ and Good each have a single seat.

A member of the provincial legislature since 1999, Winde has served as MEC for Community Safety and MEC for Economic Development and Tourism.

Speaking to Fin24 last week ahead of his swearing in, Winde said that as premier one of his biggest challenges would be to improve the provincial economy and create jobs.

The Western Cape has the second lowest unemployment rate and the lowest expanded unemployment rate in South Africa, according to the most recent Quarterly Labour Force Survey released by Stats SA.

At 19.5%, the province's official unemployment rate is almost half that of the Eastern Cape's 37.4%. But is is still high when compared internationally and far above estimates of the global average.

Winde said that, as the DA's manifesto pledged, his government would also focus on reducing crime and improving public transport. Crime and the economic health of the province's economy were correlated, he said, and investors were more likely to commit money if they did not view measures against crime as an additional expense.

One area he believes has room to grow is the province's fintech startup scene.

"Tourism and agriculture[are important] in the Western Cape and our focus on them certainly won't change, but we would like to look at other aspects of the Western Cape economy, like fintech, because we have become something of a Silicon Cape on the African continent in recent years."

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