Alan Winde: It has all been worth it

Alan Winde. Picture: Supplied

Alan Winde. Picture: Supplied

Published May 28, 2024


I am often asked why I subject myself to the gruelling, unforgiving, and sometimes thankless task of working in government and politics. My answer is simple: I want to do everything I can to make a difference in the lives of the people who live in the Western Cape.

But make no mistake, as easy as it is for me to say this, the work we do is far from simple. Bluntly put, it can be hard, but it is not without reward.

I feel such a sense of achievement when I see government done right, and I believe we are doing that here in the Western Cape. We spend days, nights, months and years putting systems and people in place so that we enable our 90,000 teachers, nurses, doctors, road crews and social workers to work for all the residents of the Western Cape, particularly the vulnerable who rely so heavily on government services.

We face daily challenges. Every day comes with its own issues and we do not close our eyes and hope that things will work out. That is not how I want our government to operate.

Given the magnitude of crime, unemployment, the energy, and climate change crises, delaying tackling these issues is not an option. In facing such large systemic problems every day counts because it takes time for our solutions to be felt on the ground. Urgency and hard work underscore how this government functions.

“Nothing will work unless you do,” the late Maya Angelou once said. And so, we must work harder than ever before, with purpose and determination, to ensure our province and citizens keep succeeding.

We work incredibly hard to provide for our citizens and in some cases going above and beyond our mandate such as deploying LEAP officers to assist SAPS in their work to fight crime.

Whether it is creating an enabling job creation ecosystem or striving to make our communities safer and more prosperous, there is no challenge that we are unwilling to confront in the best interests of our residents.

When I took the Premier’s oath of office five years ago, I swore to uphold and protect the dignity of all our citizens. This has not changed. What has changed, though, is the sobering realisation that we must do even more going forward.

We must do more with less. This involves working smarter, quicker and learning from the past. I am constantly humbled by what we have achieved, and what we still have to achieve.

For example, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit us there was precious little time to plan. We had to think on our feet, employing innovation and creativity. The result was turning the Cape Town International Convention Centre into the largest field hospital in Africa in a matter of weeks.

When the energy crisis ramped up in 2023 – the worst power cuts the country has had to endure since the phrase “load shedding” was forced into our national parlance – I established the Western Cape Energy Council to steadily guide our province to energy resilience and security.

All this was made possible through a shared sense of urgency, dedication, partnerships, and, most critically, hard work.

The next few years are not going to be easy for our country. We are still battling through slow economic growth with our budgets under massive pressure while the needs of a rapidly growing population increase.

But I have faith in our country because I have seen first-hand what is possible when we work with purpose. In the Western Cape, we embody the hope of the entire country. Our province must remain the hope of South Africa.

Being a Premier is not meant to be an easy job. I have no delusions about the challenges that lie ahead. As tough as this job can be, all the sleepless nights, travelling, and being away from my family have been worth it when I see our hard work paying off. The privilege and honour of serving our residents is always foremost in my mind.

Alan WInde is the Democratic Alliance’s premier candidate for the Western Cape.

** The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of IOL or Independent Media.

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