With municipal elections less than two weeks away, residents of some of the more diverse wards on the city’s western seaboard say it will take councillors who truly represent all to bring lasting changes.
Ward 4 is one such area. It covers Joe Slovo, Summer Greens, Phoenix, Montague Gardens, Sunset Beach and Milnerton Ridge.
There are also glaring differences in Ward 55, which spans crime-plagued Koeberg Road and affluent Century City.
Tabletalk is read across eight wards – 1, 4, 5, 23, 55, 104, 107 and 113. Most were solid DA bastions in the 2016 municipal elections.
In Ward 1, which covers the Richwood, Richmond Park and Plattekloof, the DA’s Cheryl Visser took more than 93% of the votes with the ANC trailing at 2.4% and the ACDP with 1.4%.
The DA took Ward 4 with 64%, followed by the ANC with 29% and the EFF with 4%.
Ward 5 covers Bothasig and Edgemead. Its DA councillor, Helen Carstens, is running for re-election. In 2016, she took 96% of the votes. The ADCP scored 1.5% and the ANC 1.2%.
But Ward 104, which covers Dunoon, The Stables and Rivergate, bucked the blue trend in 2016. It fell comfortably to the ANC with 72% of the votes, followed by the EFF with 14% and the DA with 9%.
Current ward 104 councillor, Lubabalo Makeleni says he is not running for re-election and feels he has done more than what was expected of him. Under his watch, Dunoon has seen the construction of the new library (“Dunoon R40m library opens,” Tabletalk, May 1, 2019). The upgrade of the taxi rank is also one major project undertaken recently (“Dunoon transport hub project nears completion,” Tabletalk, August 26).
“Since I came in, we have built two new schools, a soccer field and a new clinic among other achievements. It is time to pass the baton to someone else. We have a new candidate for the ANC, Macy Mpukane. She’s a community leader in the area and I’ve worked very closely with her on many occasions. For me, it is time for self-development and focus on my farm.”
In Ward 113, which covers a large chunk of Table View, the DA won with 91% followed by the ANC with 3% and the ACDP with 2.6%.
It’s clear from even a cursory glance of voting patterns and the demographics of the wards that identify politics, as is the case in much of South Africa, continue to hold sway: wards with predominantly white and coloured constituents fall to the DA and those with predominantly black constituents go the ANC.
In 2016, Ward 4’s Joe Slovo voting district, with a mostly black population, went to the ANC with 73% of the votes compared to the DA’s 18%. But the DA took Ward 4, because of a stronger performance in the other voting districts.
The current councillor, Wandisile Ngeyi, was elected in a 2017 by-election after the previous councillor was ousted by the party for having failed to avail himself to residents, (“More by-election candidates announced,” Tabletalk, July 26, 2017). Mr Ngeyi is not standing for re-election and the ANC will be fielding Cowen Banjatwa instead.
This year, Anthony Benadie, 42, of Table View will contest the ward for the DA. Married for 18 years and the father of a 14-year-old son, he says education is close to his heart. He is the deputy chairman of the Melkbosstrand High School’s governing body. He says he will serve all communities in the ward.
“Ward 4 is one of the most diverse wards in Cape Town, comprised of very wealthy residents as well as impoverished residents,” he says. “Their needs and priorities differ. Practically every aspect of life is a challenge in this ward. Water, sewer, health, crime, drugs, roads, housing, jobs (or the lack thereof) and the list continues. The only way to tackle these issues is to place the residents of Ward 4 at the centre of my focus. The community must lead in prioritising their needs. It goes without saying that not everything can be done at once, but working with the community to make progress in the ward.”
Thandile Xaso, a resident of Ward 4’s Joe Slovo, feels it’s time for people to stop voting for their race and start voting for their own “selfish needs” by choosing a candidate who is willing to represent everyone.
“This ward is very diverse, so I think it needs multiple people to take charge,” she says. “A singular person will not be able to represent the needs of all the people here. That is why things never get solved, and that is why previous councillors have failed.
“If we are still going by this thing of voting for one person, we need someone who can unite the ward. Too many times, we have been divided between ‘us and them’. We all live in this ward, and we want a good quality of life, so let’s get someone or some people who can help with that.”
Mishka Adams, of Phoenix, agrees, adding that Ward 4 is not only divided by race but also by class.
“What matters to me, will not always matter to someone who lives in Joe Slovo or someone from Milnerton Ridge,” she says. “I get that not every community can have their own councillor – that would be a dream by the way. But we have to have people who understand the needs of all the people and make effective changes.
“Joe Slovo has a sewage-and-water-pipe-burst issue, we have a drug-and-vagrant issue, Milnerton has an issue with crime, mostly break-ins. Those are very different sorts of issues, but we need people to come in, work together with the people of this ward and help us make positive and permanent changes.”
Former Ward 4 councillor Dr Joy Solomon says one councillor in the ward can definitely do just this. She says she came in as an inexperienced councillor at a very trying time in her life.
“At the time (in 2011), I lost my mom and stepdad, and my late husband, in 2013, but never missed a beat in caring for my ward. And I retained my full-time research position at UCT at the same time.”
She found that most residents are reasonable and appreciative, she says.
“Most residents understand the City constraints. There are a few who simply cannot be satisfied no matter how you try and one has to make peace with that.”
The 2021 municipal elections will be held on Monday November 1, and last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared the day a public holiday.
Tabletalk was unable to reach the ANC ward candidate for Ward 4, Cowen Banjatwa, and the ANC candidate for Ward 104, Ms Mpukane, by the time this issue went to print. We were also unable to get comment from Mr Ngeyi.