Who to vote for

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Norman Jantjes, a former independent ward councillor, now chairman of the Mitchell’s Plain United Residents’ Association (MURA) and Mitchell’s Plain Community Police Forum

Vote for the candidate who has the community’s interests at heart.

Make sure you are familiar with all of the candidates in your ward, see which one will serve you, the resident, best.

They must have a track record, must be a community activist and know how the community operates.

Residents must think carefully when they make their cross at the 2021 municipal elections, which is on Monday November 1.

I was a councillor between 1996 and 2001, for Ward 76, including Portland and part of Lentegeur, on the Merrydale Avenue side of railway line.

During my tenure I spent R16 million on various projects including public spaces, instituting groups like Portland Residents’ Association, Westend Community Forum, Montague Community Forum, Merrydale Community Forum; and assisting with the establishing of Portland indoor Centre, Lentegeur swimming pool, Lentegeur tennis courts, various netball and basketball courts.

Back then Wolfgat Sub-council and Sub-council 23 did not exist.

At that time politicians determined the policies and priorities to best benefit the community whilst the officials took care of the implementation of projects.

One thing troubling community organisations such as MURA is the inaccessibility of community and civic centres.

You are often referred to councillors if you want free use of these facilities.

Since when do these facilities belong to the councillors and why can’t community-based structures get free use without the blessing or approval of the councillors?

As an independent ward councillor, not affiliated to any political party, I had to align with the view which best favoured me or the area.

Sometimes I could be seen as insignificant but then again I could be the deciding vote.

I had to maintain good relations with all parties and ensured that I did not threaten the work of officials, like the engineer, who is a specialist in a field and who knows what would be operationally best.

Residents should vote for the person who would best drive issues concerning them, from traffic, street lights, maintenance of municipal properties and infrastructure, and ensure service delivery, like refuse collection, flowing water, sewers are functioning and not flowing in the streets.

This municipal vote is more important than the national elections.

It is important for candidates to pursue the community’s agenda and not that of its political party.

Voter education is important. Every election we have new people entering voting age, who need to be careful and understand what parties stand for.

Political parties have local, provincial and national mandates, which they must fulfil and the ward councillor would be at the cold face of addressing the needs of residents.

It is important for voters to understand the different tiers of government, what their mandates are and whether they will deliver.

Constituents must hold the people for whom they have voted, accountable and responsible for what they had promised.

Housing, safety and job creation are needed in our communities and we need to know how best these can be addressed in building partnerships and working with the councillor and creating synergy between the service provider and the residents.

Be a ward committee member and use your voice to tell the councillor what the community needs and prioritise projects in the area.

It is important not only to vote for the right candidate but to ensure they deliver.

Hold them accountable and tell them what is needed in the community.