Although not a seasoned politician, Ricardo Johnson, the Patriotic Alliance (PA) Ward 49 candidate, said because he is a community worker, he is familiar with the challenges and ready to tackle them head-on, should he be elected in the position.
As a born-again Christian, Mr Johnson said, he often had to explain to the community that the PA is not a “gangster political party”.
The PA was founded by former gang leader and bank robber turned motivational speaker and multimillionaire businessman, Gayton McKenzie.
Said Mr Johnson: “People often ask me who is the PA, and a lot of people thought it is a gangster party. Yes, Gayton brought in all these guys, but he himself realised that it didn’t work – that it was a mistake to involve them. The stigma is still attached to the party, although there’ve been a lot of changes. Sometimes people are scared of change. I’ve observed the political arena in the ward and see what’s happening. Very little development has taken place in our ward, and I’m standing as a ward councillor, not for self-gain, but to uplift the community. A ward councillor must be the heartbeat of the community.”
Initially, Mr Johnson said, he was sceptical about getting involved in politics, but was convinced after he realised that the role of a ward councillor was to “speak up for the community and contribute towards positive change”.
Speaking about the social challenges faced by residents of Ward 49, Mr Johnson said his party already knows how to tackle these.
“Why is the crime rate high? It is because of empty promises and the high rate of unemployment. When it comes to job creation, we have a three-step plan that can be implemented immediately, as well as a longer five-year-plan. The idea is to create business opportunities, and use a data base of skilled people to transfer their skills. We have many artisans in the community, and many youths doing nothing, but loitering. Our children must learn to do things for themselves, and not wait on hand-outs. And just like we pay teachers, these artisans must be paid for transferring their skills.
“Housing is another big challenge. Anyone who has been renting from the City for more than 20 years, whether it is a house or a flat, must be given ownership of that property. We must also relook the housing waiting list and how houses are allocated. Illegal evictions also need to stop,” Mr Johnson said.
* A total of 18 candidates, all from political parties, are contesting in the upcoming local government elections for Ward 49.
* Marcus Haupt of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP)
* Nomfanekiso Noqa of the ANC
* Izgak de Jager of Al Jama-ah
* Whaleed Noordien of Al Shura
* Mogamat Sedick Isaacs of Cape Muslims Congress
* Valerie Brooks of Cape Party
* Catherine Lewis of the Christian Democratic Party
* Fahdia Jackson of Coloured Voice
* Thobeka Mphahlele of the Congress of the People
* Rashid Adams of the DA
* Elizabeth Ruiters of the EFF
* Zainuniesa Waggie of the Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa (ICOSA)
* Achmat Williams of National Party South Africa
* Michelle Calitz of National People’s Party
* Mongezi Sigidi of the Pan African Congress of Azania
* Ricardo Johnson of the Patriotic Alliance
* Shamila Hansen of Sizwe Ummah Nation
* Muhammad Mutaaz Aspeling of the Vryheidsfront Plus