ANC ward candidates tackle community issues

Mandy van Willingh.

Crime and a lack of facilities for the youth are the main problems identified by Mandy van Willingh, the candidate for Ward 43 (Strandfontein and parts of Philippi), who has been a resident of Strandfontein for the past 39 years.

Mother of two daughters, aged 14 and six, and English sign language teacher, Ms Van Willing said the establishment of street committees on every street and block is necessary to rid the area of drug houses and to curb criminal activity.

“We need to address the idleness of our youth as well as socio-economic problems. Youth facilities, employment and study opportunities are priorities. The problems in informal settlements in the greater Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA) relate to service delivery. The inhumane conditions people are living under are unacceptable. The proposed developments for housing on the PHA, a private prison and two private schools, will not benefit anyone in Ward 43. I am opposed to this development because it will affect food security, a natural water source and contribute to homelessness of farmworkers as well as ensure increased rates and further traffic congestion for residents of Strandfontein.

“Why should people vote for me? I am from here, I live here and I raise my children here. I care about the people and the area. I am not afraid to fight anyone in council who wants to run rough-shod over my community.”

Lentegeur resident Wayne Carstens, who is the current president of the Mitchell’s Plain Local Football Association, is the ANC’s candidate for Ward 75 (Colorado Park, Highlands Village, Hyde Park, Morgen’s Village, Philippi, Rondevlei Park, Weltevreden Valley, Westgate, Wildwood and Woodlands).

Describing himself as passionate about the community, sport and politics, Mr Carstens said unemployment, gangsterism, drugs, safety risks posed by tracts of vacant land and lack of business influx were major issues in Ward 75.

He said small business was very active in the employment of community members and this sphere of business and entrepreneurship were ideal opportunities to address this problem.

On the issue of safety, he said the affects of gangsterism and drugs made normal living almost impossible. He said CPFs, neighbourhood watches and street committees must become more structured and organised.

Another priority was decent sports facilities and upgrading of existing infrastructure. “This is such an important factor in assisting with a child’s holistic development – the integration between education and sports will be a potent formula for the enhancement of our children’s social skills levels.

“The discussions around forming a sports trust is gaining momentum to alleviate our sports people’s dependence on donations when funds are required to fullfil their ambitions. Vacant land must also be used to the benefit of the community and corporates should be encouraged to open businesses. This will go a long way in addressing some of the aforementioned issues through partnerships between business and the community organisations.

“My strength lies in my intricate knowledge of this community and its challenges. Work, live and play is achievable if the communities interest becomes the priority.”

Abobokar Dramat, a New Lentegeur resident and chairperson of the Salaamudien Mosque, is the ANC candidate for Ward 76 (Lentegeur, Ikwezi Park). He has launched a community vegetable garden in his neighbourhood and said a multipurpose hall and formal shops in the ward would greatly benefit residents.

Mr Dramat said he had been involved in his community for the past 30 years, creating employment through his spraypainting and panel-beating business, involved with youth and seniors’ programmes as well as TB and HIV/Aids prevention programmes.

Westridge resident Pastor Hankee Mac Master of the Assemblies of God Church is the candidate for Ward 78 (Westridge, Westgate, parts of Portland, the Mitchell’s Plain CBD and parts of Beacon Valley).

Serving as the co-ordinator of the Mitchell’s Ministers’ Fraternal, Mr Mac Master, who has certificates in human resources and project management from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, said crime, “the two-legged monster that holds our communities hostage and in a grip of fear” was a major priority. This was followed by unemployment and associated ills such as a lack of capacity and skills to make people employable. “Some new entrants to the job market are struggling because they are not workplace ready. Individuals need to become industries to sustain themselves and their families,” he said.

Asked why people should vote for him, Mr Mac Master said: “I’m not afraid to address issues, be they civic issues or community concerns within our society. I enjoy the respect of a broad section of the community, respectable residents as well as those of ill repute, such as gangsters and druglords. They know I stand for righteousness and equality and have zero tolerance for crime.”

Founder member of the Mitchell’s Village Civic Association in Tafelsig, Sulyman Stellenboom, who is the candidate for Ward 82 (Tafelsig), felt humaness (ubuntu) and human rights should be central to the way challenges facing his ward were tackled. Mr Stellenboom said youth employment was a priority for him and he also described himself as someone who is very vocal when it comes to employment and issues of accessibility for the disabled. “Through my upbringing I was always there to assist people in need when life or society dealt them a severe blow,” he said.

Ward 99 (Eastridge, west of Don Carlos, Alpine) candidate, Bongile Patrick Ngcani, is the chairperson of the South African Civics Organisation (SANCO) in his area.

He said to realise the objectives of a united, democratic, non-racial and prosperous society, he would work to firstly unite the ward, which has a black and coloured community, “so that they can see themselves as one race – the human race”.

“This ward is poverty-stricken where hunger, poverty and unemployment is the order of the day,” said Mr Ngcani.

Information technology specialist Zolile Tyholweni, who is the chairperson of the Mandalay Montclair Business Forum, is the ANC’s candidate for Ward116 (Montrose Park, MontClaire, Mandalay and parts of Beacon Valley).

Mr Tyholweni, who also has a higher diploma in education from the University of the Western Cape, regards youth and young people as the future of this country and therefore believes we should not compromise on the quality of education.

Challenges for him include strengthening structures that deal with combating crime, poverty and unemployment. He said it was important that developers and sub-contractors employ people from local communities. “As for crime, I’ve worked very closely with the community policing forum and I believe that is one way of dealing with crime, poverty and unemployment.

“We need to strengthen street committees, revive and reinforce neighbourhood structures. One way of dealing with crime within the ward will be to ensure that we get more people employed. This will be achievable through opportunities related to the Expanded Public Works Programme projects.”

On the issue of youth unemployment Mr Tyholweni said: “We need to consider skills development opportunities for school leavers to increase their chances of employability. Young people who passed matric but who are not sure what their next step will be need to be exposed to bursary opportunities and encouraged to apply to tertiary institutions.”

Asked why people should vote for him, Mr Tyholweni said: “Visiting people in the ward, I’ve found that a lot don’t know their ward councillor. Remember, the beauty of democracy is that if you voted in a certain councillor and that councillor disappeared after the elections, now is your chance to try someone else. There is no way that people should allow themselves to be used by people who disappear after elections.”

* Next week the Plainsman will feature more candidates contesting the upcoming elections.