Western Cape Premier Alan Winde Reshuffles Executive And Introduces New Portfolios… Western Cape premier Alan Winde reshuffled his executive on Friday after the departure of two MECs.
Winde announced the new team at Century City after firing community safety MEC Albert Fritz after a sex scandal and accepting the resignation of education MEC Debbie Schäfer.
In the reshuffle he announced the following changes:
- David Maynier takes charge at education;
- Tertuis Simmers is MEC for infrastructure;
- Daylin Mitchell is MEC for mobility;
- Mireille Wenger is MEC for finance and economic opportunities; and
- Reagan Allen is MEC for community safety and police oversight.
Winde also announced a new entity to fight violence, the violence prevention unity, in the renamed department of health and wellness.
He said the Covid-19 pandemic necessitated changes to his executive. “When I was elected as premier in 2019 it was unthinkable that within less than a year we would face a challenge the size and severity of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It has caused so much loss of life, of livelihoods, but also in the resources that we have at our disposal to respond to the escalating set of challenges our residents face. The demands on government across the board are greater than ever before.
“That is why in my state of the province address earlier this year I said that we can’t just go back to the way things were done before Covid-19, now that the threat of the virus has diminished.
“We rather need to be bold and push forward to do even better. And to do so, we must be agile, we must constantly rethink and we must innovate.
“I also said we must be courageous and unafraid to try new things. We must tackle the obstacles in our way head-on and with tenacity, just as families and residents across our country and in the Western Cape do each day.”
His priorities include job creation and safety.
“We are motivated to succeed because we know that if we do, that if we deliver our ‘north star’ priorities of jobs, safety and dignity for our people, the quality of life across our province will improve. And we know that to succeed under the circumstances facing us, in our changing world, we need to set a new course.
“This process of ‘refresh’ means that certain changes are needed in the composition of our government. That’s why I announced that we would create dedicated departments for infrastructure and for mobility to focus on the challenges we face and of equal importance, the major opportunities we can garner within these portfolios to drive jobs and dignity.”
“I am excited by these changes and by the momentum I believe they will create so that we keep on making sure that, here in the Western Cape, action speaks louder than words,” he said.
A new department of infrastructure will be up and running by the next financial year.
“It will consist of the department of human settlements and components of the department of transport and public works, including our road programmes and our public works portfolio,” said Winde.
Simmers has been the MEC for human settlements since 2019. Winde said he “therefore has a strong understanding of the importance of enabling infrastructure in our province. Our focus will be on leveraging our infrastructure to enable private sector-led growth, while also addressing the painful legacy of our apartheid past so that our people live with dignity”.
“He will work with all levels of government on a common strategy to ensure that there is job-creating, dignity-enhancing and world class infrastructure in the Western Cape which drives our economic growth. Our ports, our rail, our municipal infrastructure and our roads must work, no matter who is in charge of them,” Winde said.
Mitchell, who has been MEC for transport since 2021, had a baptism of fire. He has had to take on the taxi industry during deadly taxi wars and strikes.
Winde said he “has already adopted a courageous, hands-on approach to addressing some of the challenges that we face in this sector”.
“Our focus on mobility will go much further, however, by establishing the partnerships and strategies that are needed to fix what is broken so that people can get to work, to school and to family safely through an affordable and reliable public transport system. It will also oversee our provincial traffic operations, using new technology to keep our road users safe.”
Winde said Maynier had “championed efforts to remove barriers to growth as well as supported small businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic” during his time as MEC for finance and economic opportunities.
“He, therefore, has a first-hand understanding of the major unemployment challenge that our country faces, especially among our youth, as well as the serious fiscal challenges that impact our core mandates, including education.
“We believe strongly that skills development through a quality education system is a fundamental way to solve our country’s youth unemployment problem and so David’s passion for job creation, skills development and innovation, as well as his commitment to excellence and his ability to work with partners outside government, will add new momentum to this important core mandate.”
Wenger, who takes over from Maynier, was a standing committee chairperson in the legislature.
“She has an excellent grasp of policy and as chair of the ad hoc committee on Covid-19 understands the impact the pandemic has had on the economy. She has the energy, the integrity and the passion for innovation that is needed to lead a jobs recovery in the Western Cape while ensuring that we maintain our excellent record of good governance and sound financial management,” Winde said.
“Mireille will look to facilitate private sector-led growth by focusing on the ease of doing business and through cutting red tape, ensuring energy resilience and unlocking barriers to trade and investment in the province.”
Allen, who replaces Fritz, served on the standing committee on community safety, cultural affairs and sport in the legislature.
Winde said Allen had developed a detailed knowledge of this portfolio and the challenges faced in improving safety through his oversight of the department of community safety.
“Like Mireille, Reagan also joins our [executive] for the first timeas the newly appointed MEC of community safety and police oversight. He will begin in this role imminently,” said Winde.
“Reagan has demonstrated through this role that he has the energy required to take the police oversight function of this portfolio to the next level, especially the lack of policing resources in our poorest communities.
“He also has the personality and approach that will maintain and build on partnerships with important stakeholders including communities and the SAPS.
“In addition to our ramped-up focus on constructive police oversight, we will continue to implement the Western Cape’s safety plan, which aims to halve the murder rate by 2029.
“With over 1000 Leap (law enforcement and advancement programme) officers already launched and the imminent establishment of the violence prevention unit in our department of health and wellness, Reagan will play a key role in taking this plan to the next level.”