Councillor and community activist to face off in election

Henriette Abrahams is contesting in Ward 31 and Ward 50 as an independent candidate.
Ward 50 councillor Angus McKenzie will again represent the DA in the upcoming elections.

A Bonteheuwel ward councillor and community activist will go head-to-head in the upcoming local election on Monday November 1.

The feud between current Ward 50 councillor, Angus McKenzie and Bonteheuwel Development Forum (BDF) chairperson, Henriette Abrahams, is well documented – especially on social media – and the two are now both ward candidates.

Ms Abrahams is contesting the elections as an independent candidate in both Ward 31 and Ward 50, while Mr McKenzie represents the DA.

Ms Abrahams said her nomination to stand as a ward candidate had come from the community.

“As the BDF, we had a discussion last year about the upcoming local government elections. It was decided to draw up a survey, so that the community could share what the issues are that need to be seen to, how they felt about independent candidates, and how often they think their representative should report back, among others.

“From the 1 000 sample surveys we did – by going door-to-door – in Ward 31 and Ward 50, the majority of the people indicated that they would like me to contest in this election,” Ms Abrahams said.

With her history in the ANC movement of the 1980s and working as a community activist over the past 30 years, Ms Abrahams is no stranger to the challenges facing her community, she said.

Asked about the feud between her and Mr McKenzie, she said: “As a community, we want councillors who are answerable and accountable to the community, and not to political parties or business interests.

“He has sowed division in the community – he excludes organisations if they don’t sing to his tune. He undermines women and his constituents, and I can’t deal with his disrespect, lies and arrogance. All the other candidates and I don’t fight. We are cool. We live on the same streets. Angus wants people to believe that I represent the ANC, but this is not so.”

Mr McKenzie, however, said he had no issues with Ms Abahams, “but I’d rather have her be honest about her political affiliation than bamboozle the people”.

He also denied sowing division among residents.

“It is difficult to sow division when you have the majority of the community supporting you. I don’t know where the division comes from, when the whole community benefited from the positive changes that came about since 2016. This includes providing Covid-19 relief to 6 500 residents, which amounted to R15 million, and that 400 families will soon be having their own homes.

“Crime has also come down over the past five years, and this is because we have enabled our community to speak up against it in various platforms, including WhatsApp and tip-off lines, as well as law enforcement. We laid a strong foundation, and now we must just build on it,” Mr McKenzie said.