Cape Town Mayor Says Clean Government and Pro-Business Policies Are Keys to Development
A Conversation With Patricia de Lille
Mayor, City of Cape Town
Broadcast Director, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University
Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille joins Ann Cooper of Columbia University to offer her thoughts on recent events in South African politics. De Lille explains her initiatives to improve Cape Town's physical infrastructure and service delivery as well as her efforts to promote the city as a business-friendly gateway to the rest of Africa. At the national level, de Lille discusses the problem of corruption in the current ANC-controlled government and her hopes that a viable political opposition movement will eventually emerge.
The Darryl G. Behrman Lecture on Africa Policy is held in memory of Darryl G. Behrman, who was originally from South Africa and had an abiding passion for Africa and international peace. The annual lecture is funded by members of the Behrman family.
COOPER: Welcome to all of you. I'm very pleased to be moderating this event with Patricia de Lille today. I'm Ann Cooper, and this is the Darryl G. Behrman Lecture on Africa Policy. I hope it's going to be much more of a conversation than a lecture. And I do want to thank Darryl Behrman's son, Greg, and his wife, Janine, who are both here today to join for this. We will have questions—we'll have a conversation for about half-an-hour and then we'll go to questions from the audience.
As you know from the bio material, Patricia de Lille is executive mayor of Cape Town, but she's had a long and distinguished career outside and inside government. She was a trade unionist and a leader in the Pan Africanist Congress during the years of liberation struggle in South Africa. And in historic 1994 elections in South Africa, she won a seat in parliament from the Pan Africanist Congress.
Her many accomplishments before and after are detailed in your program, but there were a couple of things I really wanted to make sure everybody knew about. One is that in 2003, you formed your own political party, the Independent Democrats, and that she has been the mayor of Cape Town since 2011, when she was elected on the Democratic Alliance ticket. Nelson Mandela once described her as his favorite opposition politician; that's the kind of thing you might want to have on your resume.
And here's an item that you do not see on many resumes: whistleblower. When Patricia got to parliament, one of the things she did in 1997 was to use that very public political forum to name the names of African National Congress members of parliament who she said had spied for the apartheid regime. Some years later, during Thabo Mbeki's presidency, she used the parliamentary forum again to call for an investigation of corruption in the Mbeki administration's defense deals—defense weapons purchases with European suppliers. You know, like most whistleblowers, that drew threats, it drew a lot of criticism, but she has survived and survived very well in the often tumultuous political situation in South Africa.
This year, of course, marks 20 years since those historic elections when you and so many others came inside and could finally begin to take control of the destiny of South Africa. And we've seen—because of the elections earlier this year—lots of assessments, you know, what's changed, what hasn't, what still needs to be done.
There were—Global Post put together a listing of some of these benchmarks a few months ago. I thought some of these were interesting. Access to electricity, which was available to only half of all households in 1994, now 85 percent of South African houses have electricity. The murder rate—this surprised me—fell by half, because I still see constant stories about terrible crime rates, you know, in South Africa. Decent housing has become more widely available to some of the people who have, you know, lived in informal settlements.
On the other side of the ledger, economic inequality greater than it was 20 years ago, corruption is greater according to Transparency International ratings, unemployment still obviously a staggering issue, maybe a third of the workforce. But, you know, we could go on and on about all these.
Share with us what you think the important yardsticks are. How should we look at South Africa today, 20 years later?
DE LILLE: Most definitely. And thank you for the opportunity to be with you this afternoon. The 1994 elections was a very historic moment in our lives. In fact, I still—you know, when I think about that day, you could not really believe it. And I'm glad that my sister is here, Gail McDougal (ph). If you look at the 1994 elections, the lady next to Mandela when he cast his vote was, in fact, Gail (ph). She came as one of the observers from America. And she was also assigned to a province where the Chief Watalesi (ph) didn't want to join the new democratic order. So it's lovely to see you again, Gail (ph).
But we have emerged from a very sad past, a past of division, of hatred, and a past where if we had to choose the option of going for a war was going to turn into a civil war. But we choose the option of peace. We decided to negotiate with the enemy, which in itself took two years. But with a lot of determination and good leadership, the caliber of leaders that we had could see us through a very difficult period.
And I'm just—I think as part of the generation, you know, I think we—I feel so fortunate, I mean, to be part of that generation that's actually lived to see the day of our freedom. We are the chosen generation. And to be party to negotiating that peaceful settlement and taking us over many, many hundreds of years of—of war and resistance, as a nation, I think that we chose the right option, and that is to choose the option of peace, of course, under the able leadership of Nelson Mandela.
Now, having said that, we then produced one of the best constitutions in the world, very progressive, a bill of rights, second-generation human rights for our children, and also the first five years of our new democracy under the leadership of Nelson Mandela did a lot of work around nation-building, around working to make sure that we work for peace and reconciliation.
Now, reconciliation is not an event. It's not something that you can wake up one morning and say, "I've now reconciled." It is a process where we need to get the whole of the country involved. And where we are today is actually difficult to talk reconciliation when you have to deal with poverty, with inequality, when it's just a struggle to survive.
So just to sum it up, the first five years of Nelson Mandela's leadership, we've made lots of progress under his leadership. We all were confident we could see where he was leading the country to. When Thabo Mbeki came in, Thabo Mbeki had to find something to be different from Nelson Mandela, and then came with an African renaissance and had—we called him the visiting president, because he was more out of the country than inside the country.
And then—but still things improved. Then under the leadership of President Jacob Zuma, sadly to say we are going backwards. So all the gains that we've made in the past 15 years, we need to work very hard to sustain what—what we have achieved.
"Where we are today is actually difficult to talk reconciliation when you have to deal with poverty, with inequality, when it's just a struggle to survive."
So the process of reconstructing and rebuilding our country is no easy task. And, you know, now that I am a mayor for the past two years, I can see that that is where the real transformation can take place at local government level, not at national—because there you are the cold face of delivery. You have to make sure that there's infrastructure, people have access to basic services, and so we—as a country, we've come a long way.
But there is room for improvement. And certainly, if it was also not for corruption, that really is—I won't say it's a crisis, but it impacts on—the resources that is available to rebuild and to reconstruct our country, because corruption basically steals from the poor. So we have to arrest the expansion of corruption within our government, because it's giving us a bad name all over the world.
And I also have to acknowledge that in our struggle against apartheid, the role played by America and other countries to bring us where we are today, we must always acknowledge. So, yes, the challenges are a lot, but I don't think it's insurmountable, because what you've seen in the country is that although you've got the sea of poverty and inequality, what has developed over the past 10 years in a little corner within South Africa, the Western Cape, first in 2006, the administration of the city of Cape Town changed with the opposition-led party, and then in 2009, the province. So you've got this small center of excellence in the middle in South Africa where, where I'm sitting from, I'm certain will never give up hope.
COOPER: So I'm imagining that your last words here may be part of the pitch that you've been giving to—you've been here meeting potential investors in the States, trying to get them to come to Cape Town. Tell us what your pitch is. And, you know, so you can say Western Cape, Cape Town, this is different, but, you know, they would still be doing business in South Africa. What are you saying when you meet people this week?
DE LILLE: Well, certainly in this century, economic growth and change within the world, that change is being driven by cities all over the world. And so in the past three years, as the city of Cape Town, we started working with likeminded cities in the world, and New York has been one of them, develop a close working relationship with Mayor Bloomberg. We're working together with New York City when Mayor Bloomberg said that he wants New York to become the digital city of America. I said to you, Michael, and I will build Cape Town to become the digital city within Africa.
So just yesterday morning, I met Mayor Bloomberg. And thereafter, we had a meeting with the New York City Digital Department, because there's a lot that we can learn from America. Instead of reinventing the wheel, they are miles ahead of us, but we have just put out our open data policy for public comment, and already we are the only city in South Africa where we rolled out broadband, the fiber optic cable over 350 kilometers. That's our investment that we are making. And then the extra space that we create with the rollout of the network, we are renting it out to independent service providers. And so we also stimulate competition.
And so we've been working very closely with that—with Mayor Bloomberg. But also, we've been working with the United Nations on building safe cities. And so the deputy president of South Africa, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who is now the head of the U.N. women development, we're working with her. And in August this year, we'll be launching the safe city for women in Cape Town.
And then, of course, because we—31.8 percent of the foreign direct investment into Cape Town comes from America. So we've made a conscious decision that we what to build on that. Give you one example that we are busy with. We are trying to bring back a direct flight from Cape Town into America via Miami. Those of you who've traveled it before will know it used to be there.
So we're working with the mayor of Houston and the mayor of Miami to get that flight back from Cape Town to Miami, from Miami to Fort Lauderdale, and then from Fort Lauderdale to Houston. Now, Houston has got a big oil and gas sector. And in the west coast of the city of Cape Town, you also have the oil and gas sector.
So that has been our involvement in a number of cities within America. And because certainly we're living in a global village. I don't want to compete against Johannesburg or against Durban. I'm pitching Cape Town to be competing against the best in the world, New York City, San Francisco, Singapore, and all of those cities.
COOPER: But what concerns do you hear when you say this to investors? What do they say back to you? What worries them or makes them, you know, hesitate about investment?
DE LILLE: Well, the—some of the concerns expressed by some investors are certainly the issue of crime. And we have been able to deal with crime in the city center of Cape Town at least, where we've been able to bring down crime by 90 percent. So the city center, the central business district within the city of Cape Town is quite safe to work and to live.
We do have problems with the outlaying areas of Cape Town because of alcohol and drug abuse and gangsters, and there we are still doing a lot of work, so those are one of their concerns.
We tell them what we can offer as the city of Cape Town. You know, my role as the mayor is to make sure that we create the conditions conducive for the business to operate, for the economy to grow. So I must make sure that the water can run, the electricity can be switched on, that we remove solid waste, that we've got a good infrastructure, transport infrastructure, and that is where Cape Town is beating the other cities hands-down.
So that is what we offer to investors. When you come, this is what you will find as a contribution from government, but also in terms of your lifestyle. We have got four universities in the city of Cape Town. We've got very good restaurants. We've got the best wines in the world. And so we are saying to them, come and open up your headquarters in Cape Town, if you want to start working into the region, because we're also promoting Cape Town as the gateway into Africa. And this is what we are doing now with wanting to become the digital city of the continent and the investment that we are making is that we want to be that, whereby investors can come and invest in the city of Cape Town.
And we've been very successful so far. I mean, yesterday I had a meeting with an American company from Chicago that has already made up their minds to come to Cape Town, a big utility company, and so we came and we said, "Welcome. This is what we can offer."
I've also put in place for investors to come invest in the city of Cape Town an incentive scheme whereby we offer property, city property, city land that we make available to investors who want to invest in the green economy. You know, as a coastal city, we are—we want to make sure that we are positioning ourselves to deal with climate change, to deal with global warming. It's already impacting on us, so we're very strong on the green economy and we find there are a lot of similarities that we can find from cities in America. But cities is really the drivers for change in the world today.
COOPER: You were talking about the need to provide the basic services. You also have to get people to pay for those services. And I was interested to see a letter that you sent recently to ratepayers basically congratulating them for keeping to your side of the social compact, which reminds me of the ungovernability campaigns. And I recall in 1994 much concern about, you know, once we have this political transition, will people who out of protest have not been paying for their services, will they start paying for them? So what percentage of people are actually paying in Cape Town? Is that still an issue?
DE LILLE: It's still an issue. We've got a very small rate base. But because Cape Town...
COOPER: What does that mean, a small rates base?
DE LILLE: A small rate base are people who are paying for their services, people are paying their rates in taxes, people are making a contribution. And that is why—because we—our collection rate is about 98 percent to 99 percent. And...
COOPER: That means that 98 percent are paying?
DE LILLE: 98 percent are paying in the higher income brackets. They are paying diligently. And that's why I—in this particular year, I wrote to each and every one to say thank you for paying your services, but also showing them how we spend their money, because we do a lot of cross-subsidization. With the rates that we collect from the very rich in Cape Town, we co-subsidize the poor people. We give 60 kiloliters of water—no, 350 liters of water free a day to the poor people. We also give 60 kilowatt of electricity free a day.
I'm calling it free, but somebody still has to pay for it. It is just that, you know, the poor and marginalized, they can't afford to pay it. The city put in, in that money.
So keeping that balance right—and you find that the—the higher-income bracket and people that we charge 30,000 rand a month who live in their own homes, they are prepared to pay, because we have good infrastructure, we keep the water running, you can have your electricity all the time, and that is the balance that we have to keep right.
The protests that you are talking about, yes, we have got a lot of protests in the city of Cape Town. Of course, a lot of it's political engineered and motivated. But it's because also of urbanization. We are the fastest-growing city in South Africa. In the past 10 years, we've grown by 30 percent.
"We do a lot of cross-subsidization. With the rates that we collect from the very rich in Cape Town, we co-subsidize the poor people."
So people are streaming into Cape Town. We are victim of our own success. And so people arrive, and they want—immediately they want water, they want the basic services, they want electricity, they want homes. And it's humanly impossible to do that, because I have to make sure that we are fair and that we—the people that have been on the waiting list the longest, who have been waiting long for services, long for houses, we need to provide services to them first. Otherwise, I will also be accused of allowing people to jump the queue.
So sometimes you see these protests where people demand water, they demand—now, I say you can demand and you can scream and shout and you can do whatever you want to do, but if it's not possible, it's not possible, because you've got a limited tax base from which you can operate.
But we are still the best-run city in South Africa, irrespective of the increase of people coming and of urbanization. Currently, we've got 98 percent of the people of Cape Town having access to clean drinking water, 100 percent have got access to sanitation, and then we are just sitting with a waiting list for—of about 400,000 of people waiting to still get homes. So it's managing that balance.
So what I've done also this particular financial year, I did not increase the service charges for water, electricity, and sanitation and rates, because you cannot kill the goose that lays the golden egg, because they also complain about, you know, the economic conditions, the meltdown of the world economy in 2008. A lot of companies are struggling, so juggling those two balls, you know, to keep everybody happy, it's not always an easy task.
COOPER: So would the national government, which is in the hands of the ANC, agree with you that Cape Town is the best-run city in the country?
DE LILLE: In fact, they are saying that. The president, Jacob Zuma, has got a minister in his office responsible for monitoring and evaluation. And that minister monitored the service delivery of all the metropolitans, and we've got five, six big cities in the city—I mean, in South Africa. And so every six months, they release the results. I'm sure it's very painful for them to admit that, but that is the truth, because the research shows that all the time, yeah.
COOPER: So one thing that hasn't changed much in 20 years is the share of the national vote that the ANC still wins, as we saw well over—or comfortably over 60 percent in the last elections, the fifth election since 1994. You know, people talk about the liberation legacy, the liberation dividend, but, you know, come on, it's been 20 years. Why is it that there—you know, there are a number of other parties out there. Why are they not making inroads, especially when—if I could paraphrase you—Jacob Zuma is no Nelson Mandela? You know, why can't more be made of that or—in terms of the political results?
DE LILLE: We must be careful as to what we read into the figures, because the voter turnout has decreased substantially since 1994. It's going down all the time. So, yes, the ANC got...
COOPER: But it's still, like, so much better than in this country.
DE LILLE: I agree with you. But if you then take 60 percent in 2009, example, say, of 10 million people that voted, and now you take 60 percent of 6 million people that have voted, you will actually see that the ANC's vote is decreasing.
Now, as people begin to understand the role of opposition politics to hold government to account, that is where that will finally change the voting pattern in South Africa. I think after 20 years of democracy, there's still a big slice of blind loyalty, vote, because the ANC brought liberation, which is also not altogether true—they didn't do it alone—and because if you look at the voting patterns now, the people above the age of 40, between 35, 40, up to 65, that is the bloc that's still voting ANC.
And we can say—but, you know, in the face of all of this corruption and all of these things we see on a daily basis, why do people still vote? And therein lies the challenge that we have to build a strong alternative to the ANC. And I'm sure if we build that alternative, people will vote for that alternative.
The Democratic Alliance is the only political party that has grown every election since 1994. This now in 2014, we've grown by 6 percent.
COOPER: And are you talking about grown—so the total number of votes that you're getting?
"We have to build a strong alternative to the ANC. And I'm sure if we build that alternative, people will vote for that alternative."
DE LILLE: The total number of votes, 4 million people voted for the Democratic Alliance, of which 5 percent are black people. So that shift is slowly happening. But we actually need to help to move that shift quicker. And I believe the way we can move that shift quicker is by beginning to educate people about the value of their vote. Those days of fighting with each other is over. The only way you can bring about change is by voting.
And so we need to do a lot more, because our independent electoral commission in terms of voter education only teach people how to vote. If you vote there and you vote outside the boxes a spoiled ballot, what we need in South Africa is a massive civil—civic campaign to teach people why it is important to vote, how you can use your vote to bring about change.
And I always say to people, the only way to bring about change is that the ANC has been voted in, and to bring about change, they need to be voted out. And so, therefore, as South Africans in these all political parties, and I've actually raised this with Helen Zille, the party leader, that we must now assume that responsibility to do some voter education, to teach people the value of their vote.
But I think that the opposition is very much fragmented. That is why I joined Helen Zille in 2010, because, you know, I set myself a goal in 2002—I said, you know, we've got this new constitution. We've got all of these rights for women, and I said, I wanted to become the first woman in South Africa to start a political party, contest elections, win seats in all three spheres of government, and I set myself that task, and I achieved that.
And once I've achieved that, I've said now the next years of my life I want to spend in helping Helen Zille, the Democratic Alliance, and opposition parties to vote this alternative. And I think therein lies the answer finally for South Africa and the hope for South Africa, lies in that we need to use our vote more to bring about that change.
COOPER: And how many more national election cycles until we see someone other than the ANC victorious?
DE LILLE: I think for the first time in this election, what we've seen is the emergence of the economic freedom fighters, Mr. Julius Malema. Now, that you can see is a breakaway from the ANC, and what it's really representing in people that have voted for Mr. Malema, it's anger. Anger, that is what he represents. He's not come forward with any substantive policy issues, very populist, you know, speaks about nationalizing the mines, nationalizing the banks. And it does seem, with getting a million votes in this election, that part of that message did find resonance with young, angry people in our country.
So there's a strong challenge from the sort of—I won't say the left, I will say the confused left that Malema is representing. And then, of course, the ANC have got this unholy alliance with the South African Communist Party that is nothing but a parasite. They've never contested elections on their own. They—and then, also, the alliance with COSATU. But that seemed to be sort of fragmented now, with one of the major unions, the National Union of Metalworkers, seem to be wanting to break away and form a workers party.
Now, we've seen in the rest of the continent—you've seen in Zambia, where Frederick Chiluba led a workers party and finally took over. We've seen an almost takeover by Morgan Tsvangirai in Zimbabwe, also coming from worker, a trade union background. And then we now see it in South Africa. So the next five years will be interesting.
COOPER: OK. I want to open this up now to questions. I think we have microphones, so raise your hand if you want to ask a question. Wait for the microphone. And please identify yourself. Yes?
QUESTION: OK, hi, Patricia. My name is Craig Charney. I worked—lived in South Africa for a while and, in fact, I was one of the people who's responsible for that campaign about putting the cross in the box. I know, though, that you are a very good politician, so I want to ask you a political question. Sometime ago, it seemed that the DA had scored a masterstroke bringing together Helen Zille and the other woman to found a South African political party, Mamphela Ramphele. Then it fell apart. What went wrong?
DE LILLE: So let's take maybe another two or do you want me to answer immediately?
COOPER: Oh, go ahead and answer and then we'll move on.
DE LILLE: Oh, OK. Yes, I was part of the discussions and negotiations with Dr. Mamphela. I've got great respect for her. She's one of the outstanding sisters, sisters of the soil of our country. And, you know, we share the same values; we share the same principles.
What has happened is that after we had an agreement that she was going to be the presidential candidate for the Democratic Alliance, which she agreed to and—I know because the deal was struck in my office. And I remember Helen Zille still writing it down that we were going to announce it the next morning. What happened in between was that some of her—the people around her and some of the people that saw an opportunity to get a platform to use Agang as a political party get into parliament, they were not happy about it.
Mamphela could see the bigger picture. She bought into—she could see the value of coming together, but then internal pressure from the party from within then caused the whole deal to—I mean, the whole agreement not to succeed, which is really a pity. She then decided to go on her own and contest the elections on her own and, unfortunately, only produced two members of parliament. But I'm still hopeful that we can try again. Yes.
QUESTION: Thank you. Isobel Coleman with the Council on Foreign Relations. Ann referred to youth unemployment, which is such a massive problem in South Africa. Could you talk a little bit about what you are specifically doing to address the very high levels of youth unemployment and the quality problems with education, both access and quality problems that persist in South Africa and in Cape Town?
DE LILLE: Yes. The youth unemployment is a major, major challenge for us in South Africa. The way we approach it in the Democratic Alliance is that about five years ago, President Jacob Zuma announced the introduction of a youth wage subsidy, a youth wage subsidy whereby government will subsidize the salary if any company are prepared to take in a young person and young person can get some experience. After announcing it in a State of the Nation Address, the labor union protested against it, objected to it, and it was never implemented.
But what we did in the Western Cape province, we went ahead and implemented our own youth wage subsidy. And in one year, we were successful with almost 6,000 young people being given job opportunities. And we are continuing to do that.
But we also opened up government to what we call internships. The first year, we had about 100,000 into government departments, giving them an opportunity to gain experience. In the city of Cape Town, we have opened up our utilities departments, electricity, water, solid waste, where we train apprentices. Once they qualify, we've got an accredited course in the city, they become qualified electricians. And then they're taken up by the private sector. So our focus in our job creation is targeted towards the young people.
But now you speak about the quality of education, because education is the key to everything. And unfortunately, our education system is not always producing the kind of skills that is needed in the economy. So there's this mismatch between what we produce and what was needed in the economy.
The way we deal with it in the city of Cape Town and the Western Cape province is that we engage with the private sector to do those projections. What will the skills be that the economy will need 10 years down the line? And even if it means—and together with universities, we then produce a curriculum or design courses that can train young people to become employable in the market.
But education is a competency for—and is a concurrent power in our constitution for national government and provincial government. Our role as the local government, as the city of Cape Town, we only deal with early childhood development. And in our early childhood development, I have redesigned the curriculum also so that the first six years of a young child—that's the formative years—at those years, you must begin to shape that child to do better when it gets into primary, into high school. So we've got a number of programs for young people, because that is—that is our future.
QUESTION: Jeff Laurenti. Mayor de Lille, obviously you are here emphasizing the singularity of Cape Town in order to attract investment. And one of the things that you have emphasized has been Cape Town as a potential gateway to Africa for investors. And yet Africa as a whole may be unfairly seen as a continent in upheaval, a continent that is way, way behind, and so on.
So let me ask not about singularity, but commonality. To what degree does Cape Town share in common enough of the social, the demographic, the economic concerns that other big cities across Africa face that it might be seen in some way as a path-blazer that others can follow? If you think of your counterparts in Dakar or Lagos or, even worse, Kinshasa or Nairobi, what are the things that they could realistically look to your experience in Cape Town as a way for their own, presumably, much greater urban problems can be solved, whether it be political mobilization in poor areas or education, as Isobel had raised, or sanitation or infrastructure? Or is Cape Town so unique that it really has very little to teach the rest of Africa's cities?
DE LILLE: In fact, those years where we used to refer to the continent as the hopeless continent—and I can distinctly remember that front-page cover of the Times magazine—but subsequently, about two years ago, they had another front page that says the continent of hope. You find that seven to eight of the fastest-growing economies in the world you now find in Africa, although it's starting from a very low base, but at least that hope is there.
And that is why we are pitching Cape Town as a gateway into Africa, because we have got this established infrastructure, we've got the—the digital city that we are building, and all of the things that people need or businesses need to start in the continent, they could actually start in Cape Town.
So one issue with the city of Cape Town is also leading at the moment is that we are the world design capital for 2014, and we are using design to see how we can transform lives. And our design capital accolade that we now have for 2014 is very biased towards social issues. I'll give you one example. And we're also representing the whole of the continent with this award.
I approach a university to say that we've got 203 informal settlements in the city of Cape Town. Now can we work together to see how can we use design to remove solid waste out of all of these informal settlements?
I give you the money, you go and do the engagement with the community to find how we can remove solid waste. And all of these attempts to find ways to deal with social issues, we will share that with the rest of the cities in the continent.
In fact, on our international advisory body, we've got a person from Nigeria, we've got a person from Kenya, but we don't want to be seen as a little small dot on the map of Africa where everything seems to be fine and the rest of Africa can learn from us. We actually want to work with the rest of Africa.
I'll be hosting in October a summit where I'm bringing together 40 mayors from around the world. And about eight of them will come from the continent to share those experiences. But Cape Town can also learn from the continent. I mean, Nairobi is quite advanced in terms of digital and the IT sector. So we're not claiming for one moment that we are better or that we can lead the rest of the continent, but we certainly want to work with the continent to improve the whole of the continent. I'm a Pan Africanist by nature.
COOPER: In the back there?
QUESTION: Thank you. I'm George Baumgarten from the U.N. press corps. I write for, among others, The Nation Media Group in East Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania. I guess I'm addressing you now, Your Honor, as a national party leader, rather than just as the—as a municipal executive. Speaking as a national party leader, if you're addressing me as typical South African voter, whatever that may mean, what reasons would you give for voting in the party or group of parties that you represent and, as you say, voting out the ANC?
And as mayor, what—to what accomplishments can you point in your—in your municipal government in Cape Town that would tend to reinforce or strengthen that which you have to pitch, as you say, to the wider electorate?
DE LILLE: Thank you very much for that question. Certainly, you know, where you want to pitch to any voter in South Africa, is that first we have to illustrate that where we govern as the Democratic Alliance, there first of all you find clean government, because clean government in itself assists you to use the resources at your disposal to deliver more and use the money where it's supposed to be used.
The second part of it is that, as a government, you need to create the conditions whereby the private sector and the economy can grow. So what is our contribution as the city of Cape Town to making sure that we grow the economy of Cape Town? Our contribution is that we invest in infrastructure.
Every year, we put in about 6 billion rand, and this year, we went as far to say we're going to use 3.5 billion rand to build new infrastructure and 2.5 billion rand to renew old infrastructure. So that is the example that we are setting by the way we govern in the city of Cape Town.
And the voters are beginning to see that. The voters do know that, when it comes to any national election, they will vote for the ANC based on a liberation ticket. But they will vote for the Democratic Alliance because they want better government, they want cleaner government. So people are beginning to split their vote between province and national, which is a good sign.
So I can confidently say to you that our experience in the past 10 years is that where you provide clean government, where you are committed to make sure that the private sector become a partner in government, where you make sure that you create the conditions to create jobs, there you will see change. And that is the visible change that, whoever comes to Cape Town, they always say, you know, that we can see the change or we can see the difference between you and other cities.
But I must also not be misleading you. These are all the good things, but we also have still got a number of challenges in the city of Cape Town, which we are dealing with on a daily basis. You know, the issue of inequality, the issue of poverty, you know, hunger, food security, I have just identified all the open spaces of land in the city that belongs to the city to open it up for urban agriculture, you know, getting NGOs to work with us, to train people how to—to plant the crops, how to market it, how to sell it, and in the same time, taking some fall (ph) for themselves. So we are dealing with all of these multiple challenges that you've got in any other city in South Africa or in the continent.
QUESTION: So thank you very much for your candor and willingness to speak to the local level as well as the national issues that are on your mind. I'm concerned with the national trade deficit, and more specifically, the surge that we saw in the first quarter of this year as a result of the local demand for oil.
You alluded to oil and gas and that sector, in particular in west of Cape Town. I'd be very curious as to what incentives may be in place to attract further exploration locally to reduce the dependency on foreign oil for the country and also maybe what local incentives may be in place, as well.
COOPER: Can I just ask you to identify yourself?
QUESTION: Of course. Eric Barkley with Encima Global.
COOPER: Thank you.
DE LILLE: To balance the books of South Africa—yes, we've got a growing deficit on our books—we need to start looking first internally as to how to reduce the deficit. We spend millions, billions on employment for people working in government. So the wage bill of government is substantial. It's very, very high.
And if you just look now with the new government coming in about a few months ago now, President Jacob Zuma appointed a cabinet three times the size of where we were in 1994. So we need to start learning to cut costs internally so that we can deal with part of the deficit.
Yes, oil, it—we still import all of our oil, except Sasol. Sasol is where we produce oil from coal. But they only supply about 7 percent of what we need in the market.
But the good news is that, on the west coast of South Africa, we are now drilling for oil at a place called Saldanha. That's about 200 kilometers from Cape Town. And government has declared that a special economic zone, meaning that in that economic zone there will be some tax incentive, I think something like 15 percent that people—I mean, companies will pay less tax in that area.
But we still have got a long way to go to become self-efficient. But we rely a lot on coal for our electricity. We must look into finding a mix of—for energy use. If you look in the rest of the developing world, you'll see the price of energy has actually gone down when in South Africa, the price of energy has almost increased by 300 percent.
So we have to go renewable. We have to go green. We have to stop just talking about reducing our carbon emissions and really go green big time. And I'm sure that will also help us with reducing the deficit. But you need a government that must have the political will. If you lack the political will to get our country out of this economic quagmire that we're in now, where we—our credit rating has been downgraded, too, it's because of that deficit and many other reasons. We need that real political leadership that can show leadership and take the country out of this mess.
QUESTION: (inaudible) Hunter College. I just thought, because we're having the World Cup now in Brazil, and there's been this huge sort of workup towards the World Cup where a lot of Brazilians were objecting because they felt, where is the money being invested? And since South Africa went through the—well, you know, was I think the first—well, anyway, in 2010, South Africa had the World Cup, and in Cape Town, I know you weren't mayor at that time, but they have this incredible stadium that was built with a botanical garden nearby. And I'm wondering how—if we look at Brazil and the questions that are coming up with, are they investing in things for the poor and where is the money going that's bringing the World Cup and who are the commercial benefitters, how you saw that happen in Cape Town and what you think can be done about it, and particularly even about the stadium and the investments in making it easy for people to come from elsewhere, what does it do for the people on the ground?
DE LILLE: Yes. Yeah, now, I've been watching closely what's happening in Brazil. And, you know, I'm not that familiar with the actual economic conditions on the ground, but the issue that they've been raising, why spend money on stadiums when you could have spent the money on social—socioeconomic issues, well, we passed that. We built these stadiums. The challenge now in the city of Cape Town is, how do we maintain and sustain this stadium?
It costs us in Cape Town about 80 million rand per year. That includes the regular maintenance and repairs. For the first time last year, we were able to raise about 11 million through concerts and other events in the city of Cape Town, but we're still not there even of breaking even with the amount of money that we have to spend on that.
But we have now worked on a special strategy to get—to commercialize the stadium, whereby we will be able to allow shops to come in and restaurants to come in and people to have functions and events in the stadium, because you've got all of the parking area. Why not just use it? And the city of Cape Town's stadium is close by the waterfront. So we have come up with an economic model to make that stadium economically viable, but it will take at least another five years.
So the legacy of the World Cup, what it's left behind for the people of the city of Cape Town, I think you can't measure in the amount of money or dollars the value of just the exposure that we got as a city of Cape Town during the World Cup.
COOPER: Has the stadium been used for the last four years?
DE LILLE: Yes. We use it for concerts, for other big events, yes.
COOPER: OK. Yes?
QUESTION: My name's Gail Gerhart. You said that one of your plans in Cape Town was to make the city safer for women. Can you expand on what you're doing to achieve that goal?
DE LILLE: Unfortunately in our country, we have got a lot of woman abuse and child abuse. Very painful for me to open up the paper when you see a 4-year-old with 2-year-old was raped and murdered. We also have a number of missing children in the city of Cape Town where they just disappear off the face of the Earth.
We have done some profiling of the missing children, and the profile that we come up with seemed to be the same. You know, young girls, curly hair, light in complexion, because there—you know, the whole human trafficking must also never be underestimated. And I think a lot of our children have become victims of human trafficking, because, you know, I put out an award, because in one month, in one street, two children went missing. I put out an award for 50,000 rand for each of the children, and after today, not a single one of them have been found. I saw the mother about two weeks ago, and she was still crying like as if it happened yesterday.
So what are we doing? The United Nations has got a program for—to build safer cities for women and children. Now, we partner with the United Nations to bring that concept to the city of Cape Town, and we're launching it now in Woman's Month, month of August. What that will entail is that we will go out into communities, we will make sure that we profile our children in a particular area or in all the areas. We will also do some family education. Sometimes it's just parenting, also, parents who are not responsible. I mean, in terms of our own constitution, you remain a child until the age of 18 years, so parents must also take responsibility.
So we will be doing a family parenting education for women and fathers. And you find there are a lot of missing fathers. You know, I once—with Premier Helen Zille, we led a campaign for fathers to pay maintenance, because I said the least that you can do is to pay for your child. So those are the kind of programs that we will start doing to—which will add and help us with the safety net, building a safety net around women and children.
Also, you find that the unemployment rate is very high amongst women, so they become dependent on abusive husbands and partners and—and so if we can help them through entrepreneurship to start a business of their own or to help them, to upskill them, they don't need to stay in that abusive relationship, but they can actually leave.
And then where we're also investing money in the city of Cape Town is that we've got a number of safe houses where, you know, if things are really bad in abusive relationships, we can take women to there.
So that is just part of the programs, but it's more long term, because you'll never be able to put a policeman in front of the door of every family. But you also have to break the silence in our communities, because they keep quiet. People keep quiet about the abuse, because they more think about the stigma that will be attached to the family name, because this is an uncle or a brother, then thinking about the abuse of that particular child is only until that child get murdered when people want to cry out. And so part of the campaign is also to break the silence around family abuse and woman abuse and children.
COOPER: OK. I have a feeling we could go on, except we're not allowed to go on. The plug is pulled at 2 o'clock. I want to thank the Behrman family again for sponsoring this, and especially thank you, Mayor, for spending your time here and being very candid and insightful in what you've shared with us today. Thanks so much.
DE LILLE: Thank you.
Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille joins Ann Cooper of Columbia University to offer her thoughts on recent events in South African politics.
Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille joins Ann Cooper of Columbia University to offer her thoughts on recent events in South African politics.
Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille joins Ann Cooper of Columbia University to offer her thoughts on recent events in South African politics.