With a week to the local government elections, political parties are gearing up to make sure they win. The DA councillor in Durbanâ€
I first got interested in politics when I was 16, and in varsity is when I started engaging in student politics. I am also a law student at UNISA and this takes up much of my time, I recently wrote exams and it has proven to be very hectic around election times.
I usually start my day at the office for two or three hours so that I can catch up with my emails, see residents and address all other kinds of queries. Then council meetings start at 10 and I serve on two committees, which is economic development and the ethics committee. These committees also meet quite frequently so I am often at City Hall. Then all DA councillors have a caucus on Fridays and discuss issues of the city. Then the rest of my time is taken up by meeting residents, finding problems, reporting things to the city, and there are other bodies that require my attendance at their meetings like different community structures. As a councillor, there are no two work days that are the same.
The ward that I am running in is currently an ANC ward. It used to be a DA ward but we lost it in 2011 so Iâ€
Some of our biggest challenges are social challenges. Prostitution is rife in the area and has been for years. There is also drug abuse and vagrancy. There are lots of people who are begging and living on the streets which results in the surge of petty crimes. Other challenges include basic service delivery. Things like removing weeds in the pavement, cutting of grass in parks and garbage collection. In the past 18 months the municipalityâ€
When you are an opposition in the council it is very hard to achieve some goals because everything is subject to the will of majority of the council. At the moment, we have just finished re-fencing the Queensmead stadium which had been looking quite shoddy. Two years ago we initiated a plan to build a sub-station; this has just been started. The plan for the Bulwer park project is now in its second phase. Another thing I am proud of is that I have been able to help young people get job opportunities.
There are a whole lot of other things I have been trying to accomplish but have been prevented by the council. Most of these things are much bigger than this ward – one of these is the cityâ€
Last year, I initiated regular meetings with the residents but I found that they were not very well attended. I allow people to contact me directly through emails and through the phone. I get over 100 emails per day and my phone rings non-stop despite the office being open every two to three hours a day. What I also found to work better is street meetings where I would meet residents from about three or four streets to discuss their immediate issues. The response to this method has been quite good.
I believe ward councillors should be passionate about their communities. Sadly, people are more in it for themselves than they are for trying to improve the community. You should also be hardworking because the number of issues you are expected to resolve is quite hectic. As a councillor, you also have to have some kind of skill to bring to the table. On the council, your main responsibility is to hold the city accountable for how itâ€
The public response to the campaigning has been very positive, especially compared to past elections in which I have worked on.
In my campaign, I donâ€
I am looking forward to these elections, I think itâ€