‘What we want from our councillors’

Pastor Isaac Basson.

With voters going to the polls to vote for local government representatives next week, Athlone News continues its journey through the 10 wards that fall in our distribution area, speaking to young and old about the challenges their communities face and what changes they hope those elected will bring.

With wards 49, 60, 50, 42 and 48 covered last week (“An overview before the big election,” Athlone News, July 20), this week we speak to people in wards 31, 44, 45, 47 and 46.

In Ward 31, which includes Montana Extension, Nooitgedacht, Valhalla Park, Montevideo, King David Country Club, Durheim, Charlesville, Boquinar Industrial Area, Kalksteenfontein and parts of Bonteheuwel, currently served by DA ward councillor Nas Abrahams, 15 079 voters are registered to vote on Wednesday August 3.

In 2011, there were 8 627 registered voters and Mr Abrahams won, with 53.49 percent of the 4 615 voters who turned out at the polls voting for him.

Twenty-three candidates are contesting Ward 31 in this election.

Shannon Ross, 21, told Athlone News that gangsterism, crime and unemployment were very high in Bonteheuwel.

“You find that people do things before elections, and there is also stealing of property by the thieves to sell to the scrap yards,” she said, adding that “the challenge is to get the born-frees to vote because they do not know about the freedom struggle and the value of freedom they have today.”

According to Pastor Isaac Basson, 71,“the biggest challenge is safety, because of gangsterism, drugs and drop-outs from school”.

“In our community, there are law-abiding people but when it comes to crime, people don’t give information to the police so that those criminals can be arrested,” said Mr Basson, who is also the chairman of the Bonteheuwel Community Police Forum.

With regard to the candidate who is voted into the position of ward councillor, he said: “That person should be visible, hands-on, a people’s person and eager to dirty his or her hands.

“The person should make funding possible for sport, because it is suffering due to the stealing of cables, and, at night, the lights are cut as a result.”

In Ward 44, which includes Gugulethu, Heideveld, Vanguard and Welcome estates, currently served by DA ward councillor Anthony Moses, 18 580 voters are registered to vote in next week’s municipal election.

In the 2011 local elections, there were 16 641 registered voters, with 53.40 percent turning out at the polls. Twenty-two candidates are contesting this year’s election.

Hendrietta Evelyn Diedericks, 77, has lived in Heideveld for 40 years.

“The services here are a bit dodgy, but, in the end, councillors come and fix the problems in our community,” said Ms Diedricks, who added that she would like the municipality do things they used to do for the elderly, like taking them out to places such as Kirstenbosch.

Amirah Gamieldien, 22, told Athlone News that drugs, crime and disrespect of the elderly were some of the challenges they faced in their community, and that youth unemployment was high, pupils dropped out of school because their parents were unemployed and that their ward councillor didn’t deal effectively with problems plaguing the area.

She said the candidate who wins the ward election should provide security, be on the floor,see the problems of the people and tell the hospital staff to be friendly to the community.”

In Ward 45, which includes Gugulethu and Manenberg, currently served by DA councillor Siyabulela Mamkeli, 15 118 voters are registered to vote in the upcoming elections.

In 2011 local elections there were16 043 voters, with 62.46% turning out at the polls and Mr Mamkeli, who is also the City’s mayoral committee member for health, winning the ward. Twenty-one candidates are contesting the election in Ward 45.

Asked for her take on the challenges facing her community, Manenberg resident Amina Kayla,41, said: “There aregangsterism and drug problems with the youth, but if they had sports facilities in the community, (that would help).”

The elected ward councillor, she said, should provide sports facilities for sport codes like martial arts since they instil discipline in young people. She also added that they need speed humps in Jordaan Street where accidents often happen.

“The ward councillor should also build another clinic since there is a lot of fighting next to the current one,” she said.

Cookie Peterson, 71, also from Manenberg, said while there used to be people cleaning the streets, it was now dirty.

”The economy is bad. Things have changed. There are no jobs for the children,” said Ms Peterson, adding that she hoped whoever won the ward election would improve the condition of the area.

In Ward 47, which includes Hanover Park, currently served by the DA’s Antonio der Rheede, 15 232 voters are registered to vote in the upcoming elections. In the 2011 local elections there were 8 526 registered voters and Mr Van Der Rheede won 62.23% of the votes of the 8 697 voters who went to the polls. Twenty-onecandidates are contesting this year’s election in Ward 47.

Joseph Smith, 53, also highlighted gangsterism and drugs as problems in his community.

“The kids are more into gangsterism and drugs. One of the reasons for that is that they grew up with one parent, may be a single mother or father,” said Mr Smith.

He said in his community they have become security conscious, with residents burglar-proofing their homes to the point that they feel like they are in prison.

”The sports facilities are lacking and that has an impact on the youth,” said Mr Smith, adding that many children prefer to study outside Hanover Park because of confrontations between high school pupils.

Mr Smith said incoming ward councillorshould be a local person who will be hands-on when it comes to community matters.

Rapper Zunaid Begg, 21, also called for sports facilities for young people, adding that they needed programmes which helped build self-esteem.

“If people are smoking and doing drugs they must not be laughed at but be helped because the youth have a lot of talent and that has to be nurtured,” said Mr Begg.

He said there was often shooting and therefore they needed more police patrols in Hanover Park.”The new councillor should make Hanover Park a better place to be, where people can come together in meetings and help each other. Hanover Park should be like the old District Six and people must show their talents,” said Mr Begg.

In Ward 46, which includes Hatton Estate, Mount View, Newfields, Penlyn Estate, Pinati Estate,Sand Indusria and Surrey Estate, currently served by the DA’s Junade Hoosain, 15 248 voters are registered to vote next week.

In the 2011 local elections there were 15 889 registered voters and 64,03% turned up to vote, with Mr Hoosain taking the ward.

There are 23 candidates contesting this year’s election in Ward 46.

Jenine Singh, 79, from Penlyn Estate, highlighted break-ins and drug use as problems in here community.

“The police should patrol here from 6pm until 6am in the morning,” she said.

“There are also ‘trolley guys’ who take people’s staff and sell them.”

Ms Sing said the electric boxes are sometimes opened by thieves who are there to steal the wiring inside them.

Ms Singh said the incoming ward councillor should ensure that grass was regularly cut because council workers no longer come to the area as frequently as they used to.”

The new councillor should also close the canal next to Gamsa and Doris streets and bring more law enforcers in the area,” she said.

Rashida Kaskar, 55, also from Penlyn Estate said her house was broken into three months ago.

”The Turfhall bus stop should be monitored because there is lot of crime in that vicinity,” said Ms Kaskar, who also wants the incoming ward councillor to arrange buses to take Penlyn’s seniors shopping.

The municipal election takes place on Wednesday August 3. To find out if you are registered to vote, and where your voting station is, SMS your ID number to 32810.

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