Ward committee schooled on its role

A ward committee is not a place to bring your shopping list.” These were the words of chairperson, Helen Carstens, at a Ward 4 committee meeting at the Blaauwberg municipal offices on Wednesday June 14.

Ward 4, which includes Phoenix, Milnerton Ridge, Royal Ascot, Joe Slovo, Sunset Beach, Summer Greens, Montague Gardens, parts of Marconi Beam and parts of Milnerton, is where a by-election is set to take place in August following the suspension of the DA’s Thando Jafta after complaints from residents about his unavailability (“Voter drive gets cold shoulder”, Tabletalk, June 14).

Last week’s meeting, however, did not go as committee members had hoped.

Instead of discussing the matters that they thought were of serious importance, they were treated to a lecture on how ward meetings work and the function of such meetings.

Ms Carstens, the chairperson of Sub-council 3, said the more the members come to committee meetings, the more they will understand the meetings are not the place where they can get feedback.

The ward councillor is responsible for giving feedback to the ward members.

This was a bitter pill to swallow for the committee members because Ward 4 currently doesn’t have a councillor.

“Your job is to spread the word to your organisation,” said Ms Carstens.

This basically means that the ward councillor would give them feedback on operational issues.

Then it is the job of these committee members to go back to their respective sectors and relay the message, whether it be a neighbourhood watch, the residents’ association or education sector and so forth.

Ms Carstens explained what type of things the members can ask for at meetings.

“If it is something to do with a park or you need a street light, we can do that. Street sweeping, we can do. The cleaning of the stormwater drains, we can do.

“We can make sure that those things are done but everything that falls out of our authority, we won’t be able to do. If the community has a problem with SAPS, we can’t help with that.”

It was explained to the ward committee members that their role as the ward committee is to work with the councillor to help things get done.

Ward 4 will now have to await the election of a new ward councillor. Registered voters will go to the polls on Wednesday August 2 to choose a new ward councillor.