Alan Winde, Western Cape MEC for Economic Opportunities.Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Alan Winde, Western Cape MEC for Economic Opportunities.Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

Long-serving Western Cape MEC Alan Winde, who has led the province’s economic growth over the past 10 years, has been chosen to succeed Helen Zille by the DA.

The Western Cape economy has in recent years outperformed the national growth rate and has created more jobs than other regions in SA.

The IMF projects that SA’s economy will grow by around by 1.9% in 2019, while the Western Cape is expected to grow at 2.8%.

Winde has also been credited with creating a business-friendly environment in the Western Cape. He championed initiatives to reduce bureaucracy with his “red tape to red carpet” project, which is meant to make it easier for businesses to do business in the province.

“No other person is more responsible for the economic growth and job creation that we’ve seen in this province than Alan. His track record is simple: 640,000 new jobs under his watch, benefiting every community and particularly the unemployed and the poor,” DA leader Mmusi Maimane said on Wednesday after announcing Winde’s selection.

“He is also passionate about internships, particularly for young people who need work experience to get their foot on the jobs ladder. With a track record like this, the fact is that when Alan is elected, he is going to be the jobs premier.”

The province is the DA’s electoral stronghold which it has governed with a majority since the national elections in 2009.

Winde came out on top of the DA’s hopefuls to take over the baton from Zille, beating MP David Maynier and Western Cape DA leader Bonginkosi Madikizela for the top post.

Winde is largely seen within the party as someone who is focused on his job and does not get involved in political infighting.

The move by the DA to put him up for the position was hailed by the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Cape chamber president Janine Myburgh said Winde’s nomination was a “positive move for business and the local economy.”

“What we like about Winde is that he has stayed clear of the political scraps and concentrated on creating economic opportunities and jobs and that is what we need,” said Myburgh.

He is also remarkable for his “open door” evenings in which he welcomed entrepreneurs and business people from all sectors of the economy, she said. “He is one of those rare politicians who spends more time listening to people than making speeches.”

Maimane said Winde had “vast experience at every level of politics”. He became MEC of finance, economic development and tourism in May 2009, shortly after the DA won the Western Cape.

He said Winde has led the DA’s job creation effort in the Western Cape over the past years, and many of his ideas and policies have led to the economic growth seen in the province.