The DA has 'hopefully' learnt from their mistakes - Western Cape premier hopeful

2018-08-18 07:05
Western Cape Economic Development MEC Alan Winde in his office in Long Street, Cape Town.

Western Cape Economic Development MEC Alan Winde in his office in Long Street, Cape Town. (James de Villiers, News24)

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The Democratic Alliance (DA) has "hopefully" learnt from its mistakes ahead of the 2019 national government elections, Western Cape DA premier candidate Alan Winde says. 

Seated in his ground-floor office in Cape Town's iconic Long Street, Winde - who has been the Western Cape MEC for Economic Development the past nine years - explains that some DA leaders' choices have had "bad implications" for the party.

He is careful not to name anyone.

"I think [their decisions] damaged the DA over time, but [you] have suddenly begun to see a different DA at the moment," Winde told News24 in an interview. 

"I think the DA has also been looking inwardly now in the last while saying: 'This is what's happening out there. We need to do something about it.’” 

Winde is one of seven candidates, including Western Cape DA leader Bonginkosi Madikizela, vying for Helen Zille's post as premier of the Western Cape in 2019 - a province where the DA enjoys a two-thirds majority.

He cited the manner in which the DA addressed the ousting of several of its mayors in the Western Cape, including Knysna, Matzikama, Berg River and Cape Town, as places where the party "took a hit" politically.

"You would rather that it was dealt with much more swiftly, but legal processes take time and whether it's here [in Cape Town] or in our other councils, legal processes take time."

He says a lot of the conflict people are seeing within the DA - the "screaming and shouting" - is because it's a year before the elections.

"You can deal with it quietly behind closed doors and cut throats, or you [can] deal with it in an open way, which I think is the way it should be," he says. 

"Of course, politically you take a hiding for it, but I think that's the right way to do it: to show that you are busy dealing with it."

But, Winde, who has been in the Western Cape legislature since 1999, believes voters should still reward the DA with a two-thirds majority in the Western Cape, despite frustrations over its management of the water crisis, and the matter of Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille. 

The latest Ipsos poll in July placed DA support nationwide at just 13% - nearly 14% less than what it got in the 2016 local government elections.

"Sure, it was a crisis. I mean we were going to run out of water. We haven't had sufficient water investment. We should have had a lot more over time, but there was management of it. 

"I mean there are other towns [in the country] that have actually already run out of water and no one says a word. I'm not sure what those voters are saying or doing, but at the end of the day, you've got to be judged on how you ran things and how did things." 

Western Cape premier Helen Zille, City of Cape Tow

Western Cape premier Helen Zille, City of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille and Economic Development MEC Alan Winde during the unveiling of a Nelson Mandela Statue at the Cape Town City Hall in July (supplied) 

He says good regional leadership is the difference between a town "flourishing" or failing, regardless of a country's economic environment. 

"What we took over [in 2009] was a place that was known for brown envelopes. It was a place that was implementing ANC policy and it was definitely on a decline," Winde says. 

"We can go back to that if we want to." 

When asked about land expropriation without compensation, Winde - who also heads the Department of Agriculture in the Western Cape - searched for the resolution of the ANC's 54th elective conference in December below a heavy stack of documents on his desk. 

He turned to page 11 of the resolution where he underlined sections of it. 

"The ANC should, as a matter of policy, pursue expropriation of land without compensation," Winde reads from the resolution. "This should [however] be pursued without destabilising the agricultural sector, without endangering food security in our country and without undermining economic growth and job creation." 

Winde says whenever he is asked to speak about land reform to investors, he reads these passages from the resolution. 

"I mean 'hello'! Look at the document, [an] ANC document. Who carries it around? Winde. I mean I just cannot believe that [President Cyril Ramaphosa] has allowed the EFF and the David Mabuzas of the world [to dedicate].” 

"The ANC has failed themselves in this document." 

Winde says the positivity around Ramaphosa's election as president seven months ago has dissolved with the land debate. 

In July, Ramaphosa said the ANC would amend the South African Constitution to "explicitly" allow land to be expropriated without compensation, but did not give details about the changes the ANC proposed.

Winde says the land debate makes him think of the three people tasked by Ramaphosa to bring a trillion rand worth of investment into South Africa over the next five years. 

"The one has already written a piece that says we can't bring in this investment while this [land] debate is going on in South Africa and one of the others I have met with personally and [is] very very frustrated.

The only solution for South Africa, Winde says, is that the ANC is challenged in the electoral box.  

"You know a strong ANC is definitely not going to make our country any better. They've been strong for long enough. Quite frankly, there needs to come some change," he says. 

"You hear all the debate about whether it is a knife's edge until the election and then [Ramaphosa] going to make his move. Well, quite frankly, thousands of people are unemployed that doesn't help any of them." 

Why premier? Winde, a father of two children, believes it's the natural next step for him. 

"I've done what I need to do here. Ten years is long enough in one portfolio and you probably need new blood in that portfolio," Winde says. 

"So either it is do I step up to be premier, or do I look for another challenge?"

Read more on:    da  |  alan winde  |  cape town

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