Getting the basics right will aid South Africa's economy to recover post-Covid

Today, I had the opportunity to attend the parliamentary sitting in which President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his economic recovery plan for the country. Amid the many plans presented today, three commitments stood out: ending power outages in the next two years, fixing the Central railway line in Cape Town and bolstering law enforcement resources to fight crime and corruption.

Simply getting the basics right- the provision of energy, a functioning public transport system, and taking decisive action against criminal elements in our communities and in government, will have a significant impact on this country, and the Western Cape's ability to recover post-Covid.

While Covid-19 and the lockdown have had a significant impact on our economy, the reality is that load shedding, the failures of state-owned entities like PRASA and crime and corruption have been major economic stumbling blocks for a number of years. 

In our engagements with businesses both small and large over the past few months, loadshedding has been cited over and over again as a key concern. Eskom put the brakes on economic growth long before Covid-19 ever did. The Western Cape has worked hard to put in place the frameworks to support renewable energy and we will be marking our calendars for 15 October 2022, so that we can finally scratch loadshedding off the list of economic constraints in our country.

For years, the Western Cape's railway systems have been allowed to crumble in the hands of the national government. We therefore welcome their commitment to fixing the central line. An efficient railway system forms the backbone of any economy and should connect people to economic and educational opportunities safely and affordably. The central line is the busiest in Cape Town, and I look forward to more details being shared on how this will happen, and what alternative measures will be put in place while this vital work continues.

The Western Cape has identified safety as one of our key focus areas in our own recovery and I was therefore pleased to see that President Ramaphosa has committed to fighting crime and corruption. Crime and violence have a significant impact on the lives of many South Africans, while corruption robs the fiscus of the resources to tackle it. I note that the President has committed to strengthening law enforcement agencies and providing resources to enable the prosecution of fraud and corruption. While we welcome this, I hope that the same commitment applies to the provision of other police resources such as police officers, detectives, and public order police to bolster crime-fighting resources on the ground in the Western Cape.

This is not the first time the national government has committed to working on these three issues but, the situation we find ourselves in as a country now, requires us to be more serious than ever before in tackling the issues which hinder growth and job creation. I therefore do hope that this is the last time we have heard these promises made, and the first time that we see bold action steps and real delivery happen.

The Western Cape Government looks forward to working with the National Government in making sure that this happens.