Candidates battle to take the lead in Ward 67

Pelican Park is among the areas that fall into Ward 67.

The biggest ward in Sub-council 18 has 37 candidates, including independent candidates, vying to become ward councillor after the upcoming municipal election on Monday November 1.

Ward 67 encompasses a vast area with many different issues ranging from unemployment to lack of youth and skills development, failing infrastructure, socio-economic issues, gangsterism, safety and security and service delivery.

The ward includes Zeekoevlei, Seawinds, Vrygrond, Pelican Park, Pelican Heights, Eagle Park, Peacock Close, the False Bay Coastal Park, the Rondevlei bird sanctuary, some parts of Lotus River and Grassy Park as well as Riemvasmaak and Phumlani Village informal settlements.

Gerry Gordon from the Democratic Alliance (DA) has been the ward councillor for the past five years since the party won 72.45% of the votes in the last election.

Democratic Alliance candidate Gerry Gordon.

The African National Congress (ANC) won 18.73% of the votes, followed by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) with 2.99%, the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) with 1.08% and AL Jama-Ah with 1.48%.

The other parties in the running didn’t manage to get more than 1 percent of the votes.

Ms Gordon was confident that the DA would once again win most of the votes, which will see her continuing in her role as councillor. Among the main issues she would continue focusing on, she said, was safety.

“Clearly safety is an issue in many aspects and often across communities so we will look at how to bring about intervention to keep our areas safe. We have been giving resources to neighbourhood watches and we will continue doing so to bolster safety.”

Ms Gordon said if re-elected, she would allocate more money to CCTV cameras.

She would also concentrate on youth development -including both soft and hard skills – to enable young people to be ready for the job market.

“We also want to do more economic empowerment through entrepreneurship. I will invest more money to create employment and then grow the local economy and make it stronger.”

Patriotic Alliance candidate Raatiqah Tagodien is no stranger to the Pelican Park area as she runs a feeding scheme there and is a community activist.

Raatiqah Tagodien, candidate for the Patriotic Alliance (PA).

Asked what her main focus would be if she were elected, Ms Tagodien highlighted unemployment as a priority.

“There are so many things I want to change in the ward but job creation is one of the most important. Many people have lost their jobs and there are instances where only certain people get recurring EPWP and other jobs,” she said.

Ms Tagodien, who also ran for election in 2016, added: “Ever since then I haven’t stopped working and even if I don’t get chosen I will continue the work because it is where my heart is. Obviously if I get chosen I will have more power to make the necessary changes so I ask people to give me a chance and if I don’t deliver they can hold me accountable.”

Shireen August,a candidate for the Good Party, is also no stranger to the ward as her husband Shaun August was elected ward councillor for the area in 2011.

Shireen August is the candidate for the Good Party.

“I’ve also been working in the ward and certain areas have their own specific needs. Lotus River for instance has overflow and failing infrastructure so that is on my priority list as well as street lighting which is a problem throughout the ward.”

Unemployment and job creation are also on Ms August’s priority list.

“In Pelican Park there is room for an informal trading hub which is definitely needed in the ward.

“In this day and age we find ourselves in, with people who have lost jobs due to the pandemic, I want to create opportunities for people to be able to make their own money and support themselves. That is one of the ways we can strengthen communities.”

The first-time candidate said she understood that there was a lot of mistrust from communities because many political parties made promises they did not keep.

“I’m completely sensitive to that and my intentions with my work that I’ve done with the community is to show them that I want to and can make that change. Give me the chance so that I can show what I am capable of.”

Renaldo Rania, a candidate for the Cape Coloured Congress (CCC) said he has been an activist for change in the community through different community upliftment programmes such as drug addiction rehabilitation, poverty alleviation and job creation.

Cape Coloured Congress candidate Renaldo Rania.

“We as (CCC) plan to get our people skilled, create more equal opportunities, make sure our kids have soccer fields and recreational facilities and many other things.”

Mr Rania said his main focus would also be to help the children of the ward.

“I want to get them off the street and into sports and other activities. I also want to see to the needs of our communities pertaining to water cuts, pensioners rates and medical facilities with long queues and help backyard dwellers get homes.”

He was confident the CCC would garner a lot of support through votes :“The support from the communities has been tremendous, people are supporting the movement and coming forward to want to be part of the change,” he said.

Requests for comment from EFF and ANC candidates went unanswered.