CT Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis: Dear Mr President, time to devolve energy, policing, and rail to well-run local energies

Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis has issued an open letter calling on President Ramaphosa to devolve more powers to local authorities in key areas of national state failure. Read more below:

Dear Mr President

Welcome to Cape Town, it is our pleasure to host you at City Hall for the 2023 State of the Nation Address.

Decline is not inevitable. In Cape Town, it is our daily mission to restore hope in South Africa by turning our city into living proof that we can roll back poverty, that we can overcome the long shadows of our past, and that our country can still realise the society dreamed of in the founding document of our democracy, the Constitution.

We are ready to work with you, your Cabinet, and the national government on reversing key areas of state failure, but we need your help. You have the power to announce the changes needed to devolve more powers to well-run local authorities.

We believe it is particularly urgent to incentivise energy generation by households and businesses; devolve more policing powers for municipal law enforcement to help SAPS fight crime; and to get our trains running again by devolving passenger rail to the City of Cape Town.

Below I summarise high-impact measures you can take right now, in this week’s SONA, to bring about immediate positive change. We further look forward to constructive outcomes on the range of additional advocacy points we continue to engage yourself and our national colleagues on.

Energy Security
Cape Town will now pay cash for power directly from businesses and residents. We need national government’s support for households and businesses to rapidly scale up solar power generation to help us end load-shedding over time.

  • Tax rebate incentives to go solar* while staying on the grid to sell power for cash
  • A national solar PV subsidy for local authorities* to rapidly install small-scale embedded generation at public buildings and rental stock

More Policing Powers
Our municipal law enforcement officers are taking guns and drugs off the streets daily, but with more policing powers we gain convictions to bring lasting change in high-crime areas.

  • Devolve investigative powers to municipal law enforcement* so our officers can build prosection-ready case dockets, especially for guns, drugs, and gang crime
  • Take urgent SAPS resourcing measures* to bolster the fight against crime, especially in precincts showing the highest murder and violent crime rates

Devolving passenger rail
Cape Town’s Rail Feasibility Study is already laying the foundation to run passenger rail in the best interests of commuters who desperately need affordable, safe, and reliable public transport daily. But recent statements by the ANC, and the delay in national government’s Devolution Strategy with no definite deadline, are critical points of concern.

  • Announce the fast-tracked devolution of passenger rail to cities* so that we can get Cape Town’s once-strong train service running again together with the private sector.

We believe these simple, immediate measures can make a massive, positive impact in the daily lives of citizens. Making these changes is about people, not politics. Use your State of the Nation address to turn the tide on state failure and give South Africans a sense of renewed hope for the future.

Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis

Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town

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