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Innovation & the Courage to Do Things Differently

At an engagement between Western Cape business and provincial government, Premier Alan Winde shared his vision for the province and heard from local business on several issues pertaining to the provincial agenda. Convened by Accelerate Cape Town, discussions focused on safe and reliable transport, quality infrastructure, lessons post-Covid, the need for constant innovation together with, critically, the safety and security of all our people.

Ryan Ravens, Accelerate Cape Town CEO, reiterated the need for ongoing business and government engagement saying, “There is no better time than right now for continued discussions and collaboration between government and the private sector”. “Geopolitical tensions, impending price hikes, climate devastations across parts of our country together with the harsh reality of a myriad of daily challenges is not only impacting the economy but, so too, the wellbeing of our people.”

Guest speaker, Premier Alan Winde, highlighted the need to do things differently as a key lesson from the last two years. “Not only are we living in a very different world but, so too, the challenges we face are at times unprecedented. Innovation and the courage to do things differently is key to building a thriving and sustainable economy and country moving forward,” said Winde.

Failing and inadequate infrastructure, a deficient public transport system, and the very real war and gang-related violence taking place daily in some of our communities all require new and dynamic responses. “If we are not currently meeting the needs of our citizens, what hope do we have come 2030 by when current data estimates our population will have increased by 1.4 million in the Western Cape. We need to plan today, for tomorrow,” stressed Winde.

To help drive this, February 2022 saw Winde announce the establishment of two new departments in the Western Cape – Infrastructure Development and Urban Mobility. Its newly appointed Ministers – Simmers (Infrastructure Development) and Mitchell (Urban Mobility) shared their plans for these critical areas.

Agreeing with Winde on the need for innovation, Simmers and Mitchell also emphasized the key role data is playing in real-time decision-making and future planning on a provincial level. The outcome is to create a functional vision for the future, not just for the next five or ten years but for decades to come. The establishment of communities complete with schools and essential facilities as opposed to ‘houses only’ and a safe and reliable public transport system capable of creating economic opportunity were amongst the examples cited.

To eradicate the senseless violence and unprecedented levels of crime, holding so many of our citizens hostage, Winde stressed that whilst more boots on the ground are needed, so too are violence prevention programmes, innovation, and the use of available data. This has seen the recent launch of the Western Cape’s Safety Dashboard. Providing real-time data to provincial safety stakeholders, this Dashboard will not only help to guide deployments based on past incidents but also anticipate where new hotspots may appear to deploy the necessary resources before lives are lost.

“This place we call home, the southern tip of Africa, is worth fighting for. We may have our problems, but we can fix them – as we have done countless times before. We have a plethora of talents and skills – entrepreneurs, businesspeople, citizens, and politicians. We need to put our minds together, talk to each other, innovate together and, where needed, hold each other accountable,” added Winde.

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