Read what your ward councillor candidates have to say about the issues plaguing residents ahead of the upcoming local government elections on Monday November 1.
The Plainsman asked candidates from the African National Congress (ANC), Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Good political party to speak about municipal bills, racism and the development of Mitchell’s Plain over the next five years.
They agreed that communities need to be educated on the City of Cape Town’s budget, policies and the rules of engagement.
They also agreed that constituents should hold those voted into council accountable by reporting them to the speaker and be part of ward committees.
Regarding municipal accounts Michael Jacobs, ANC councillor candidate for Ward 75 (Colorado Park, Morgen’s Village, Westgate, Wildwood, Rondevlei Park, Woodlands, Weltevreden Valley – Philippi, Highlands Village, Hyde Park, Westgate and New Woodlands), said residents cannot afford the City of Cape Town’s 13.4% increase in electricity, exorbitant water bills which show they are in debt and are unable to put food on their tables.
“As the ANC we cannot allow our people’s voices to be drowned, not being heard and their lives being irrevocably changed through these – the 2021 budget is unaffordable and not sustainable,” he said.
Pastor Franklin Williams, ANC councillor candidate for Ward 81, said indigent applicants according to the documentation submitted, do not have money, but they are required to pay an amount to have water reconnected in the case of disconnection.
Paul Daniels, Good councillor candidate for Ward 82 (Tafelsig), earlier this month roped in Good mayoral candidate, Brett Heron, to help stay the execution of a warrant to have a Tafelsig’s pensioner’s furniture removed because his water bill was in arrears.
Good councillor candidate for Ward 81 (Rocklands and Westridge), Colleen Patton, said Rocklands residents were battling to keep up with their water bills.
“It is a huge problem. There are high unemployment rates in Rocklands. People are unable to cover their bills,” she said.
Ms Patton said pensioners have to buy R50 electricity every day because their water bills are in arrears and they cannot afford the maximum amount of units.
Fellow party member, Saul Markgraff, the candidate for Ward 79 (Portland and parts of Rocklands), said something sustainable needed to be done.
He said youth were dropping out of school because their parents could not afford school fees or travelling costs to get them to places of learning.
“We need facilities and activities to occupy our youth walking around the community idly,” he said.
“If we teach them a skill and give them a hand up then maybe we can see a difference,” he said.
Outgoing Wolfgat Sub-council (Sub-council 12) chairman Solomon Philander, and DA councillor candidate for Ward 116 (Town Centre and Mitchell’s Plain industrial area, bordered by Morgenster Road, Swartklip Road, AZ Berman Drive and Mitchell’s Plain train station), said: “Yes, water’s been disconnected. Why? The City has an indigent policy. If you earn under R4 500 you can access that service.”
He said residents limit themselves in not coming to the sub-council and the ward councillors’ offices.
Mr Philander said only when the water is cut residents come out and address the issue.
He said not everyone had the same financial status and similarly not all Mitchell’s Plain residents were poor.
He said it was not fair that residents in Constantia, who could afford to pay for water, received free water. As from 2019 only indigent residents have access to free water.
“It is a wasted expense and money could be used to build infrastructure,” said Mr Philander.
Goawa Timm, DA councillor candidate for Ward 78 (Lentegeur and parts of Portland), said scrapping residents’ arrears formed the bulk of what she dealt with daily.
On racism, Vera Minnies, the ANC councillor candidate for Ward 43 (Strandfontein and parts of Philippi), said with her ability to speak English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa, she would bring her community together, “whether you live in a house or not”.
She said informal settlement and formal housing residents had to be brought together and talked to about working together.
DA councillor candidate for Ward 76 (Mandalay, The Farm and parts of Beacon Valley), Avron Plaatjies, said the issue around race was quite complex.
“We need to address it head-on, more education is needed with workshops.”
He said often politicians used the “race card” to politicise a lot of things and to drive agendas.
“The core issue is services. I think race is then used as a particular agenda to drive a narrative, that doesn’t necessarily exist as much as what we emphasise it to be.
“Black and coloured people also live in the area and they face the same issues,” he said.
Mr Plaatjies said when it came to spatial planning and integration there were policies brought about by the administration, which councillors are guided by.
Outgoing Sub-council 23 chairman Elton Jansen, and DA councillor candidate for Ward 43, said that everyone had rights, those from informal settlements and formal residential areas and that as a councillor he had to ensure their rights were upheld.
“We cannot have a them and an us,” he said.
Good councillor candidate for Ward 75 Shahiem van Nelson said: “We are not a party that is based on skin pigmentation. We are not a party that is for a certain race only.
“We need to find ways to work with each and every South African.
“We are a party that says all of our blood is red flowing through our veins.
“Somehow we need to find the narrative to bring communities together instead of splitting communities up,” he said.
Mr Van Nelson said the “swart gevaar thing” comes from the apartheid-led National Party government, which has been imprinted in people’s heads – “that is black people and that is coloured people. We cannot fight race.
“We need to find cohesion to bring together our community. Everyone’s identity document says South African,” he said.
New to politics is the ANC’s youngest councillor candidate for Ward 92 (a new ward that covers parts of Tafelsig, bordered by AZ Berman Drive, Baden Powell Drive, Swartklip Road and Spine Road), Mogamat Saabik Kader, 23, who said he chose this political party to bring change to his community.
“I was sick of seeing how young citizens are being treated as third-class citizens in a country which they can call their own.
“I was sick of the capitalist ideologies being enforced on our community,” he said.
Mr Kader wants to use sports as a vehicle to bring youth together and lower the crime statistics.
“Give our youth alternatives and opportunities to choose to live and not gangsterism and drugs,” he said.
DA councillor candidate for Ward 76, Ashley Potts, said: “We want to be in the game playing the match and not just being a spectator.
“We want to call on the community to understand the realities we (councillors) are faced with and also the policies that we are governed by.
“But also know we are here to listen; this is reality we cannot drive our own agendas.
“The community has to play a part in dealing with issues in the community.”
Good councillor candidate for Ward 116, Youmna Mohammed, said she has been working in her community for 10 years and that “politics is just the cherry on top”.
“Being there for the people is what I love,” she said.
Veteran politician and ANC councillor candidate for Ward 76, Mohamed Ikbal Salwary, said he was in the running to bring development to Mitchell’s Plain.
He said it was a tragedy that councillors, once elected, were absent from their community.
“They do not have feedback meetings, without which we cannot address critical issues of unemployment, poverty and all these social ills.
“I’m back to bring back urban renewal and use it as a vehicle to bring development to Mitchell’s Plain.”
He would be canvassing the local, provincial and national government to turn the tide against poverty and bring much-needed jobs to the area.
Ms Timm said the job of a councillor is 24/7 and that residents should understand the mandate of municipal councillors.