Punish politicians for false promises, say voters

Voters say more should be done to hold politicians accountable for the pre-election promises they make.

Politicians who knowingly make false promises during their election campaigns should be punished and investigated by the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), say voters.

Residents from wards 23, 55 and 107 who spoke to Tabletalk last week outlined some of the expectations they have when they go to the polls on Monday November 1.

There are 19 288 registered voters in Ward 23, 15 798 in Ward 55 and 20 779 in Ward 107.

Brenden Fourie, of Ysterplaat, says he has seen the area deteriorate since he moved there in 2001. Illegal dumping continues to be a problem, despite Ward 55 councillor Fabian Ah-Sing’s promises to introduce recycling bins.

“The area itself is a dumping ground,” says Mr Fourie. “On nearly every street corner, you are welcomed by filth as you turn into the streets in Ysterplaat.”

More frequent garbage collection, educating residents about the impact of illegal dumping and doing more to catch and fine culprits would help, but nothing is being done, certainly not by any of the parties who have been putting up posters and handing out flyers in the neighbourhood in the past week, he says.

The IEC should investigate parties who can’t or won’t deliver on their promises, he says.

“Why wait until you are voted in? If they say they are here for the people and hope to benefit the community, they should do so by making an early start.”

Clive Paulsen has lived in Brooklyn for 15 years and says there has been no improvement in the ward.

Koeberg Road is an eyesore because it has been neglected over the past five years, he says.

“Businesses on the main road and the City should work together and come up with a plan to revamp the main road.”

Councillors make promises to fix Brooklyn but instead focus on other areas in the ward, he says.

“Councillors should be held accountable for making promises to taxpayers,” he says.

But Ward 55 councillor Fabian Ah-Sing says he does not make empty promises and regularly communicates with residents.

He knows what needs attention in the ward and continues to work hard in the communities, he says.

Teresa Ann Johnson, of Melkbosstrand in Ward 23, says her appeals for youth-upliftment programmes in the ward have fallen on deaf ears.

“So far, the councillor has not done anything to benefit the youth in the area,” she says.

City Law Enforcement needs to be visible in the area and councillors should work closely with all policing agencies, she says.

Councillors should communicate with the community and tell residents why they can’t deliver on certain promises.

Ward 23 councillor Nicky Rheeder says she “has never and will never,” be a councillor who makes empty promises.

She says that while specific needs for the ward run through different departments in the City, such as youth development, she aims to tackle one task at a time and do it properly.

Bridget Locke, from Parklands, says she did not register to vote in this election because nothing has changed since she started living there in 2007.

Professor Cathy Powell, associate professor in public law at UCT, says there is very little control over the promises politicians make on the campaign trail but the public can use the ballot box to punish those politicians who don’t deliver by voting them out of power.

“This is the only way a democracy can ultimately work,” she says.

Tabletalk sent questions to the IEC on Thursday October 21 and on Tuesday October 26, but it did not respond by time of publication.