Deputy President David Mabuza spoke glowingly on Wednesday of Western Cape Premier Alan Winde, calling him a “very good man”.
He also outlined some of the plans to deal with the availability of urban land in the province.
Mabuza was giving an oral reply to questions in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) in parliament.
ANC MPL Mandla Rayi kicked things off and asked Mabuza whether the government had developed strategies to revitalise and bolster provincial economies to create jobs and economic opportunities.
“We are currently working with provinces to align their provincial economic development plans with the broader goals of the National Development Plan (NDP), and to ensure that we develop a clear pipeline of high impact investment projects that will drive growth in each of the nine provinces, based on individual comparative advantage,” said Mabuza.
In a follow-up question, DA MPL Hildegard Boshoff asked if the deputy president would consider rolling out plans that have led to the creation of an enabling “economic ecosystem” in the Western Cape at a national level and whether he would meet with Winde.
To this, Mabuza said: “[The] Western Cape is part of South Africa. We are one country.
“If we want to address the challenges that are faced by our country, we must look at the country in totality and we must be one if we want to address economic challenges that face us. We are happy if there are good examples in one space but that example must be taken across the entire country. So, at the end of the day, we have got a country that has got its economic strategies well on track.
“I’m open and I’m going to meet with the premier here to discuss a number of issues.”
He continued that “… I can tell you the few interactions that I had with the premier, I felt very encouraged.
“He’s a very good man, very positive. He’s not really playing politics while he’s on duty. He’s focused, he’s focused and I can tell you that this time, you have made a good selection of a premier,” said the deputy president.
ANC MPL Eric Landsman, in a follow-up to a question dealing with government’s land reform policy, noting that the land question extended to issues of urban land availability, asked what progress was being made in accelerating land reform, particularly in the Western Cape.
To this, the deputy president once again expressed his confidence in Winde.
“We are working together with the premier of the Western Cape, Mister Winde. I am confident you have the right person for the job. You’ve got the right person for the job,” said Mabuza.
“Currently, in the land reform IMC (inter-ministerial committee) … we are dealing with land parcels that we are going to redistribute to people. We are dealing with land parcels that have been claimed by the people, that we want to give back, but we are also dealing with parcels of land that are owned by government. Some of them are here in the Western Cape where we want to settle people.
“We are going to settle people here in the Western Cape,” he said emphatically, fingers pointing.
Answering an earlier question, Mabuza said the government had identified 278 parcels of land, almost 2.9 million hectares, owned by the state that had been earmarked for redistribution.
“We have been assisted by the Department of Public Works. The minister [Patricia de Lille], the new minister has moved quickly to release those parcels of land, hundreds of them have been released. They are there now.
“Very soon the Minister of Human Settlements [Lindiwe Sisulu] will announce exactly where she’s going to build integrated human settlements where people are going to get titles,” said Mabuza.