Mitchell’s Plain to host parliament

2020-01-28 06:00
Premier Alan Winde will deliver the state of the province address in Mitchell’s Plain next month. PHOTO: Samantha Lee-Jacobs

Premier Alan Winde will deliver the state of the province address in Mitchell’s Plain next month. PHOTO: Samantha Lee-Jacobs

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Mitchell’s Plain will make history as being the first region to host the provincial parliament away from its Wale Street home.

Premier Alan Winde will officially deliver his state of the province address (Sopa), in conjunction with the official opening of the Western Cape provincial parliament, in Rocklands next month.

Speaker of the house, Masizole Mnqasela, announced the decision to bring the official sitting of parliament to the community last week.

Winde welcomed the announcement, with the event scheduled to take place on Thursday 20 February.

“I fully support the Speaker’s initiative to have this year’s official opening of provincial parliament and Sopa in Mitchell’s Plain as it signifies the Western Cape’s commitment to putting its residents at the centre of its service-delivery agenda,” says Winde.

The decision to hold the official opening and Sopa at a remote venue was made last year, says Mnqasela, who then identified Mitchell’s Plain as the venue.

“The initiative forms part of a wider commitment by the Sixth Parliament to put the people of the province at the centre of what it does. The intention is that, over the remainder of the term, the provincial parliament will be hosting such events in all the regions of the province,” says Mnqasela.

“This will be the first time that the official opening and Sopa will be held outside the parliamentary precinct.”

Parliamentary officials are currently in the process of identifying a number of community representatives from Mitchell’s Plain who will be invited to attend the event.

Mnqasela says this presents a great opportunity for the Sixth Parliament to fulfil its promises.

“It is the aim of the provincial parliament to actively engage with the citizens of the province through a series of public engagement initiatives that will take place over the next four years. From being defined by a building in Cape Town city centre, the provincial parliament seeks to reach out to the furthest corners of the province in order to strengthen the relationship with the people that it represents,” says Mnqasela.

Ricardo Mackenzie, a member of provincial parliament and a Mitchell’s Plain constituency head, says as one of the largest areas in the Cape Flats, this is a great honour for the area.

“This is incredible for Mitchell’s Plain and will put Mitchell’s Plain on the map. This is also just not a once-off event. I am really excited about this as this is the first time that a Sopa will be held in Mitchell’s Plain,” he says.

“This is significant as the focus will be on the area as a whole and I hope that, post the Sopa, government departments not already operating in Mitchell’s Plain and other business will invest and develop Mitchell’s Plain further and with urgency.”

The debate on the Sopa and the premier’s reply to the debate will take place the following day (Friday 21 February) at the same venue.

“By holding the debate and the premier’s reply in the same venue, we are realising our desire and commitment to connecting with the citizens of the province,” says Mnqasela.

“Members of the public will be able to see the representatives of the seven political parties in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament (WCPP) robustly debate the premier’s Sopa and the government’s plans for the next year and the rest of the term,” says Mnqasela.

In the period leading up to the opening and address, various standing committees of the WCPP will be conducting special oversight visits in the Mitchell’s Plain area.

“This will provide the members of these standing committees the opportunity to gain further insight into the challenges facing this community and place them in a better position to oversee the Western Cape government’s efforts in addressing these problems and holding the government to account.

“Various standing committees will be focusing on some of the core challenges in Mitchell’s Plain such as unemployment and small businesses by the economic development committee. The safety and security committee will meet with neighbourhood watches and police; the transport committee will visit Mitchell’s Plain stations and look at the challenges around transport and will obviously make recommendations in this regard,” says Mackenzie.

Winde also recently announced his R1 billion safety plan which will directly affect the Cape Flats.

“I am looking forward to engaging with the residents of the area to understand their service delivery needs and their hopes for their futures. My key priorities are safety for all our residents and job creation. I am looking forward to sharing our plans with the community when we deliver the Sopa next month,” says Winde.

Mackenzie says this will contribute to the conversation around developing the Cape Flats.

“I am delighted and hopeful that the premier will give more details on how the 1 000 additional officers will be deployed in the Cape Flats. I hope that Mitchell’s Plain will be one of the first beneficiaries of these 1 000 law enforcement officers to make the area safer,” says Mackenzie.

“I am sure the premier will make some exciting announcements that will not only benefit the people of Mitchell’s Plain but the people of the Cape Flats and the Western Cape as a whole.”

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