Two Independent candidates from Parkwood (Ward 65) and Cafda, Retreat (Ward 110) have made a promise to sacrifice 70% and 20% respectively of their salaries if they are elected for ward councillor this year.
Independent candidate Rashaad Allen, from Parkwood, said he has been active in the community for the past 15 years – assisting with drug rehabilitation, abused women and children, being the founder member of an orphanage and foster home, feeding communities, facilitating school holiday programmes, youth-at-risk counselling and much more. “When we established the Parkwood Leadership Forum nine years ago, organisations in the current ward worked on plans as to how we as organisations could assist each other, faith based, feeding, youth and elderly and the founders and chairperson at these organisations nominated me to run as Independent ward candidate.”
Mr Allen said he was born in District 6 in 1971 “and thrown into Parkwood” in 1974.
“I would describe myself as a God-fearing person. I value integrity, honesty and fairness. I love the work that I’m doing.”
Mr Allen said people need change drastically and that if elected, 70% of his salary will go back into the community. “Representatives from different areas in my ward will meet monthly and decide what that 70% will be spent on. I will try my utmost best to live out our motto For Us By Us (FUBU),” he said.
Mr Allen said he will “try his best to be the mouthpiece, (for the people), but the instruction mandate comes directly from the people who live in my ward. The long term vision is to tackle unemployment, housing and service delivery.”
Democratic Alliance (DA) party leaders William Akim (Ward 66) and Shanen Rossouw (Ward 110) are also running to maintain their positions as ward councillors.
Mr Akim said Parkwood was included in Ward 66 while he was ward councillor. However, after November 1, Parkwood will fall under Ward 65 due to the demarcation process.
He said when he served the Parkwood community he tackled “challenges such as safety and security, unemployment and illegal dumping.”
While Mr Akim shifts away from Parkwood he will be focusing on areas such as Ottery, Ferness Estate, Grassy Park and Freedom Park informal settlement which will fall under Ward 66.
Mr Akim said: “Service delivery will be my focus as well as installation of CCTV cameras, upgrade of parks, assisting ECD (Early Childhood Development) centres with equipment, funding for soccer poles, funding for Ottery library, sound equipment for Ottery Civic and wellness programmes for seniors, as well as encourage and support neighbourhood watches.”
Aubrey Robinson said he has decided to stand as an Independent candidate because he has always seen himself as a worker for the people, “assisting as far as I can whatever the issue might be”.
He was born in 1963 in Cafda Village, Retreat, where he still lives. “My passion started in the early months of 2002 before I joined the Cafda Residents Association.”
Mr Robinson said Ward 110 included five areas and he will first have to put in place a strong ward committee representative of all the important sectors before addressing the issues.
“In Grassy Park, Retreat, Steenberg, Lavender and St Montague Village each section has its challenges.
“In Grassy Park we are experiencing big issues with homeless/street people and a shelter will take away the problem around the Busy Corner business section.
“Other concerns are the need for more unpaid facilities as lots of parents can’t afford it and then kids can’t freely make use of Rooikrans sports field, Retreat swimming baths, Allenby sports field and the newly built facility next to Prince George Primary and Lavender Hill High.”
Mr Robinson said a safety and security plan is urgently needed as crime, especially shooting and gangsterism, are increasing daily. “More importantly there haven’t been any infrastructure changes in the areas at all.”
Mr Robinson said he will “guarantee to give 20% of my salary every single month and plough it back to my community of Ward 110.”
“The 20 % from my salary will be spent on our seniors establishing groups which will keep them busy with various forms of art while enjoying refreshments. For the youth we can pay ex-matriculants a stipend to assist our children with homework. These are just two of the things which the money can be used for. The needs will be assessed on a monthly basis.”
Mr Robinson said it is important to “prioritise what is the most important projects for the first two financial years ahead. I picked up that the ward allocation funds are currently used for projects that could be funded by a certain department, for example CCTV cameras can come out of the safety and security departments budget and not from ward allocation funds.”
Ms Rossouw (Ward 110) said “safety is a main priority in my ward therefore I have allocated funding from my ward allocation for CCTV cameras in the following areas: Steenberg, Lavender Hill, Cafda Village and Grassy Park and also a camera room to monitor the cameras which is run by my neighbourhood watches.”
She identified three main concerns in her ward: dumping, unemployment and crime.
Her accomplished projects to combat crime, she said, included installation of side-walks in Cafda Village, which is still ongoing.
Ms Rossouw said some of the projects she endorsed included the Code 8 Drivers project where 80 people had the opportunity to obtain their driver’s licence, which in turn assisted many of them to find employment; and first aid training – fire and Disaster risk management workshops were made available for all Ward 110 neighbourhood watch members.
Ms Rossouw said the focus was also on youth. “Over 100 youth turned up for a six month capacity building training under the Forest Whitaker Foundation which consists of: entrepreneurship training; business training; conflict resolution; life skills; career guidance.”
She said another need in the community was for an electrification backyarder project in Cafda Village /Lavender Hill, which would involve the installation of pre-paid meter boxes for backyard dwellers.
When asked what her vision was for the community, she said: “ My vision is to start a Ward 110 community forum to discuss service delivery issues (not only with my ward committee but with the greater Ward 110 community).
She said her drive is to improve maintenance service delivery in rental stock, establishment of neighbourhood watches, street committees and flat committees in Cafda and Lavender Hill as well as to assist with finance linked individual subsidy programme (FLISP) workshops around upcoming housing projects like Crestway housing development and Pelican park development.”