Alan Winde: I've got big shoes to fill
As premier of the Western Cape he will have big shoes to fill, but with almost two decades in government, he's got the track record to prove that he's up to the challenge, says Alan Winde.
Winde, 53, who's been a member of the Western Cape Provincial Legislature since 1999, has been chosen as the DA's candidate for premier of the Western Cape in the upcoming election.
With the 2019 election around the corner and polls suggesting that the strife between the DA and its Cape Town mayor, Patricia De Lille, may have hurt support for the party, Winde knows that he has his work cut out for him.
"I agree that we have a lot of work to do. Over the past months, we have been involved in a campaign called 'Let's Talk'. When you're out there talking to the electorate, you can tell that they are angry. You can understand that," he says. "When you have division in politics, it starts the process of dissatisfaction among people."
It is for that reason he is especially pleased to have Dan Plato replace De Lille as mayor. As someone who has done the job before, Winde says he knows what it takes.
"If you have a good, cohesive, focus-led team, you get things done. That's what we need in Cape Town and that's why we will also be looking at how the provincial government can support the local government there even better. Local government is the face of service delivery and, when society doesn't feel like they're being looked after, you're in trouble."
Winde, who currently serves as Western Cape MEC for agriculture, economic development and tourism in premier Helen Zille's provincial cabinet, says he will be taking a different approach to his predecessor, should he be elected.
"It's been a privilege working with her and I certainly have big shoes to fill. She has her talents and her ways. I know that what I bring is a more entrepreneurial and innovative outlook to what we do. She's laid a solid foundation in the first five years of her premiership, moving to delivery in the second five years. Now my job is to see how we ramp that up."
Winde will continue to work on education, health and housing, with a specific focus on safety and security, public transport and resilience.
"When you speak to people on the ground and you look at the crime stats… people feel unsafe. Even the national minister has admitted to dropping the ball. If you don't have a safe environment, you can't fix anything else," he says.
Having been credited with creating more than 640 000 jobs in the province over the last years, Winde says that the public transport system, especially in the City of Cape Town, is a major priority as it adds strain to the economy when people cannot get to their jobs.
There will also be some reflection on the lessons learnt in Cape Town regarding the water crisis.
"We're going to be asking ourselves lots of questions around what we have to do to be more resilient to further climate change and the fourth industrial revolution and how that's going to affect jobs and people's lifestyles in the future."