For the upcoming local government elections, approximately 25% of the African National Congress (ANC) candidate list is comprised of young people. The Daily Vox team spoke to Busisiwe Nxumalo. Nxumalo is an ANC candidate running in the Dullah Omar Region of Cape Town (Wards 58 and 59).
What inspired you to run for Ward Councillor in the upcoming #LGE2021?
Wards 58 and 59 are largely populated by students. I am acutely aware of the struggles they face, given that I was once a student myself. Moreover, I consider myself to be both an activist and a humanitarian. I believe that I understand the struggles of the people. Thousands of individuals in the Dullah Omar region are facing problems which, should I be elected, I will address. The city must work for all. I, like hundreds of others, have grown disgruntled watching the City of Cape Town serve only a few individuals.
26-year-old Nxumalo holds a Bachelor of Social Science degree from the University of Cape Town (UCT). They majored in International Relations and Political Studies. Nxumalo served on both the student representative and faculty council.
Why did you join the ANC and for how long have you been a member?
I joined the ANC when I started at UCT and have been a member for a few years now. The ANC’s manifestos and campaign promises instilled faith in me, both as a young person and a queer person. Recently, the ANC introduced the LGBTQ+ desk. Seeing their promises manifest physically inspired me.
The ANC LGBTQ desk is dedicated to magnifying and resolving problems faced by members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
What are some of the most pressing issues facing Wards 58 and 59? Should you be elected, how will you tackle them?
Safety and security are huge issues in my area. Students are often mugged on their way home at night. In addressing these issues, the voices of the community must be heard. It is the residents of the Dullah Omar Region who are affected. They are integral in formulating a solution.
Above all else, we need quick and effective solutions. The City of Cape Town does assist in putting the complaints and proposed solutions of the people forward. However, this takes a long time. People find themselves living with problems they should not have for weeks, if not months. I will ensure that solutions are meted out as quickly and efficiently as possible.
With less than three weeks to go until the elections, what is your campaign strategy?
As members of the ANC, we have been conducting door-to-door visits in the busiest areas of our wards. We also carried out a placard demonstration. One of my most interesting experiences was visiting a voter who was on the fence about which party to vote for. We went to their house and I engaged them one-on-one. Once our time was up, their attitude had changed completely and they seemed to have warmed up to the idea of voting for the ANC.
I think that seeing a young candidate with political experience fills people with hope.
Is your identity a key facet of your leadership style? How will you integrate it into your role as Ward Councillor?
Yes, my identity is a key facet of my leadership style. My personal identity cannot be separated from my political identity. I believe that I can be classified as a minority, and will use this to give the marginalised a voice. I will focus specifically on women and the LGBTQIA+ community.
How do you plan on prioritising the struggles of women and the LGBTQIA+ community?
I am striving for a proactive approach, not a reactive approach. I plan on developing a detailed and effective Integrated Development Plan (IDP). This will put into perspective short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals which I will work toward. I would recommend an increase in security presence, particularly at night and especially at crime hotspots.
That being said, I would like to hear more from the women and LGBTQIA+ individuals in the community.
How do you plan on increasing civil participation in local politics?
I would like to begin by making politics accessible to the people of Wards 58 and 59. Whether it be on Zoom or in-person, I would like to hold monthly meetings. This will allow for continuous engagement between the councillor and residents. It will show people that I will provide them with constant and consistent support, not just make an appearance on the eve of elections.
Interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.