The DA's premier candidate in the Western Cape, Alan Winde, flanked by provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela, left, and City of Cape Town mayoral nominee Dan Plato. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER
The DA's premier candidate in the Western Cape, Alan Winde, flanked by provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela, left, and City of Cape Town mayoral nominee Dan Plato. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry has hailed the nomination of Western Cape economic opportunities MEC Alan Winde as the DA’s candidate for the premiership in the province.

On Wednesday, DA leader Mmusi Maimane announced that Winde would lead the party’s charge in 2019 to grow its majority in the Western Cape, one of SA’s key economic hubs. After days of speculation Maimane declined the nomination for the coveted position saying the DA’s national electoral objectives are his number one priority.

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."

He is also remarkable for his "open door" evenings in which he welcomes 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."

Myburgh said his approach is to enable business and to remove the obstacles to growth, such as unnecessary red tape. "This policy, which was endorsed by the whole provincial cabinet, is one of the reasons why the Western Cape has performed better than other provinces and why our unemployment rate is significantly below the national unemployment rate."

Winde has previously served as the chief whip of the DA in the provincial legislature, and as the party’s spokesperson on environment and planning. He became the MEC for finance, economic development and tourism in May 2009, shortly after the DA won the Western Cape, unseating the ANC. In 2014, he was tasked with leading the newly created economic opportunities portfolio, which includes the departments of agriculture, economic development, and tourism.

"Alan Winde has led our job creation effort over the past terms, and many of his ideas and policies have led to the economic growth we have seen here," said Maimane. "No other person is more responsible for the economic growth and job creation that we have seen in this province, than Alan."

However, the ANC in the province criticised Winde’s nomination. "The ANC is surprised that Alan Winde is now going to head the DA’s election campaign for 2019 as it is clear that the liberal back-room boys’ cabal has won the shenanigans to keep control of its faction in the provincial government," said Khaya Magaxa, the ANC’s Western Cape leader.

"The ANC notes that the liberal faction in the DA has also blocked its national leader Mmusi Maimane to become the Western Cape premier," he added. "Maimane [knows] the leadership pool in the Western Cape is found wanting and therefore he nominated himself as premier candidate — but had to withdraw under pressure."

phakathib@businesslive.co.za

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