#10yearchallenge: How has the Western Cape fared?

Cape Town – Has Cape Town changed for better or worse over the past 10 years?

In the first month of this year, the #10yearchallenge has swept social media.

Most used the trend to compare their 2008 profile pictures to their much better-looking selfies last year, or to highlight the effects of global warming over the past decade.

We took a look at Cape Town and the surrounding Western Cape to see how they have changed over the past 10 years.

In 2008, Cape Town was furiously preparing to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup, which required massive investment and infrastructure upgrades.

The Cape Town Stadium was a skeleton on the Atlantic seaboard skyline, and there was no MyCiTi bus system.

Ratanga Junction was a hot and happening theme park, the “salt and pepper pot” cooling towers were still a feature along the N2 and dams were almost overflowing after a year of heavy rains.

Ten years later, Ratanga had been dismantled, the cooling towers demolished and Cape Town was in the grips of a severe drought with dams threatening to run dry.

Tygerberg Hospital is so dilapidated it should be shut down, according to the Western Cape Health Department – but in the past decade we’ve also gained Khayelitsha Hospital, Mitchells Plain Hospital and the new Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital.

The city has also been racked by protests about sanitation, service delivery and affordable housing.

According to the DA, which has run the city over the past 10 years, life has changed for the better in Cape Town.

DA premier candidate for the Western Cape Alan Winde said the province had outperformed the rest of the nation in terms of job creation and land reform.

“Since 2009 the employment rate in our province has improved by a remarkable 20%, compared with Gauteng’s 7.5%. “Approximately 650000 jobs have been created in the Western Cape over this time. In the last year, 50% of all jobs created in South Africa were created in the Western Cape,” Winde said.

“Over the last 10 years, 213000 housing opportunities were created for families in the Western Cape. We have handed over 103000 title deeds to families across this province who now own the homes they live in.

“The Western Cape boasts a 62% success rate on land reform projects, compared with an 8% success rate in the rest of the country.”

However, land justice organisation Ndifuna Ukwazi’s Jared Rossouw said affordable housing in well-located areas is still an unattainable fantasy for most families.

“Cape Town property values have increased substantially over the last 10 years, meaning that many families struggle to afford a decent home,” Rossouw said.

“The city has so far failed to mitigate against this exclusion. Not a single unit of subsidised housing has been built in the inner city and surrounds since the end of apartheid.”

Winde said he was pleased with DA’s performance in service delivery and education.

“Since taking office, the DA Western Cape government has built 131 new schools and close to 2400 new classrooms, 40% of our schools are no-fee schools and the matric pass rate has increased from 76% to 82%. The maths and science pass rates have gone up by 11% and 27% respectively in our province.”

Winde cited crime and Metrorail as two massive challenges facing the province and said the DA would be fighting for local rather than national government control of policing and train services.

“Crime remains a serious challenge and our communities are not safe enough,” he said.

“Another area of concern is the commuter rail service. On average 73% of trains in Cape Town are late and the service is unreliable and unsafe.”

Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott said it did not have statistics from 10 years ago, but currently only 44 of 88 train sets are operational.

The ANC takes a dimmer view of the past decade since it was ousted from leadership.

Provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs said the DA had undone the ANC’s work with ruthless determination.

“All that we’ve done to deliver a better life to all those who live in the Western Cape has been dismantled,” he said. “For example, the Bambanani Against Crime initiative was abandoned and the safety of our communities put at risk.

“Today we see how the criminal element has come back to prey on our communities, women and children.”

Jacobs said the DA has funnelled resources to wealthier suburbs where “pockets of DA supporters live”, and also criticised the party’s management of the drought.

“The DA scared Cape Town and the rest of the country with a campaign that said Day Zero was hurtling towards the city.

“They made themselves look incredibly stupid when they announced a date by which Cape Town was expected to run dry. But they changed the date of doomsday and changed it yet again,” Jacobs said.

“Some parts of the Western Cape are still battling a drought that has had devastating consequences. Karoo towns are running dry and the DA has been unable manage the situation.”

Jacobs also noted that the 2018 matric pass rate was nearly 3% lower than the previous year.

“It’s sad to learn that the Western Cape has been slipping down on the table of provinces with the best matric results.”

Weekend Argus

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