Several well-known Mitchell’s Plain community leaders have come together to form the Local People’s Party (LPP), which will contest the upcoming local government elections, which is three weeks away.
Lentegeur pharmacist and former ward councillor for Ward 76, Iqbal Salwary, is president of the LPP and is joined by among others, Michael Jacobs, former chairperson of the Mitchell’s Plain Community Police Forum cluster, well-known community leaders Mogamment Fazloodien, Rosaleen “Rosie” Claasen and Basil Coetzee, who work in Tafelsig, Heinz Park and Lentegeur respectively.
Mr Salwary will be contesting Ward 76 (Lentegeur) where his pharmacy is based and where he was a former ward councillor. Mr Salwary was also instrumental in starting a school health project in the area and he and his family regularly support charity organisations and seniors’ organisations in the area.
However, on Saturday at the party’s manifesto launch at the Pentecostal Church in Lentegeur, fewer than a hunderd people attended. Among the dignitaries attending the launch was Khoisan paramount chief Hennie van Wyk and chief Jeanette Abrahams.
Freelance photographer and New Lentegeur resident, Angelo Kalmeyer, who is the LPP’s national organiser, defended the poor attendance, saying they are testing the waters. “Our party is a national party but we decided to launch it here (Lentegeur) since it was founded here. At the moment we are going to contest only 12 wards in the province. We have eight councillor candidates in Mitchell’s Plain and one in Bonteheuwel, Manenberg, Heideveld and Kensingston,” he said.
Mr Salwary described their manifesto as being about transformation. “We have divided sectors in our communities and among those sectors is a youth sector. Youth is a critical sector and we will force all government departments to ensure that 10 percent of their total budgets must go for youth empowerment to break the cycle of poverty and build a better tomorrow for all. Let’s invest in our young people. Skills and training centres need to be supported in all our areas to bridge the gap between communities and services,” said Mr Salwary.
He emphasised the significance of science and technology in our life time. “Globally most jobs need technology to be done and in Mitchell’s Plain alone we have about 30 percent of people not knowing how to use technology and who need to be trained,” he said.
Mr Salwary also underlined that there should be free education for all. “We endorse the #FeesMust Fall call campaign. There should be free education at all schools in sub-economic areas and every government teacher must get a proper training,” he said, vowing that his party will ensure support for school-feeding schemes at all needy schools. Regarding the issue of housing, Mr Salwary said they will lobby for the fast-tracking of the housing backlog to change the life of disadvantaged people.
“We need to fast-track low-cost housing to alleviate the plight of backyard dwellers, people on long waiting lists and overcrowding and ensure fairness in housing.” He urged communities to stand up against crime. “We need to deploy more police officers and increase Metro police in our areas and also empower street committees and neighbourhood watches and partner them with other community-based organisations and businesses.”
Paramount Chief Van Wyk said he was invited as guest speaker to create awareness for the Khoi people in Mitchell’s Plain for re-emergence and to revive the Khoi tradition and cultures. “I’m here to give blessings to the new party and want the people of Mitchell’s Plain to decide for themselves. But I must say that as the Khoisan community we are intending to call an urgent meeting with the national government to address our grievances,” he said.
Mr Jacobs, a Colorado Park resident who will be representing the LPP in Ward 31 (Bonteheuwel) accused the ruling party of misleading the society and not focusing on serious issues in the community. “The big parties are not focusing on issues happening in our society. Gang groups are fighting each other and nobody is coming forward to resolve their fights. The escalating of youth unemployment is compel them (young people) to join gang groups,” said Mr Jacobs.
Millicent Roberts, who attended the launch, said she hoped that the LPP would bring change. “I was a member of the ANC and in 2011, I defected to the DA but both those parties did nothing to change our lives as ordinary people.
“I believe the LPP will make a difference because it focuses on serious issues that are affecting us as ordinary people,” she said.