Ward 5 up for grabs after councillor quits

Ward 5 councillor Helen Carstens has resigned.

The DA’s councillor in Ward 5, Helen Carstens, has resigned, saying she needs to spend more time with her family.

The resignation came into effect on Friday July 15.

City speaker Felicity Purchase said the post would remain vacant until the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) declared a vacancy.

“This will then be followed by a by-election being called by the IEC,” she said.

Ward 5 covers Edgemead and Bothasig.

The IEC’s spokesperson, Kate Bapela, confirmed that the by-election would take place on Friday October 14.

A venue is still to be determined, and a list of candidates will be determined once parties and independent candidates submit candidates to contest the by-election.

“Every by-election must be held within 90 days of a vacancy being declared,” Ms Bapela said.

Ms Carstens told Tabletalk said she had resigned because she needed to spend more time with her family.

“I am currently spending some much-needed time with my son in the United States of America,” she said.

Ms Carstens, who has lived in the ward for 20 years and been a councillor for eight, said her duties were very time-consuming.

“What people do not realise is that your day can go from 6am to 10pm, and that leaves very little time for family time, often not even a dinner together. Also one works Monday to Saturday, and that leaves too little time for meaningful engagements with our families.”

Ms Carstens became the Ward 5 councillor on a DA ticket in a 2014 by-election and served for 22 months until the next election in 2016. She was re-elected in the 2021 elections, when she won 88% of the vote. The runner-up ACDP candidate managed 2.7% followed by the VF Plus with 2.5%.

“I do believe that this job was my passion, and it was a pleasure to meet with many residents, associations and clubs, and to work with them as it is everyone’s intention to provide a better environment,” she said.

She said she was happy to have been part of the project to extend the Edgemead library as it would benefit the community for years to come.

Her other projects, she said, included the completion of the Richwood fence, the Memory Park on Edgemead Drive, dog parks, food gardens and the multi-purpose court at De Grendel Park.

“I am happy that there have been some good projects rolled out that will last for many years to come. I would like to thank the residents of Ward 5 for their good wishes and messages of appreciation. I have truly been overwhelmed. I also served with wonderful colleagues, and I wish them all the best going forward,” she said.

Ms Carstens told the public about her resignation on various Bothasig social media groups, stating that it had been a “privilege and honour” to serve them. Many residents thanked her for resigning, saying she had not done enough for the community, and only a few wished her well.

Ms Carstens said she paid no attention to the “nasty comments”.

She said she would be enjoying some time off and would focus on completing her studies in psychology with a view to doing counselling and coaching in future.

“I am still an avid DA supporter and hope that the residents of Ward 5 continue to support the candidate that the DA will put forward to represent them in Ward 5 in the upcoming by-election.”

Residents’ comments and complaints can be logged at the Sub-council 3 offices. Phone 021 444 4861/2/6 or 021 400 5093 or email Subcouncil.3@capetown.gov.za.