New Ward 67 councillor Gerry Gordon says her main aim is to be accessible to residents. Her ward includes Vrygrond, Seawinds, Rooikrans, Phumlani, Zeekoevlei and Pelican Park.
Ms Gordon, who replaced Shaun August as councillor, says she has already started engaging with the community to find out what their needs are.
“I have so many informal settlements in my ward, which is challenging, but one needs to keep an ear to the ground to find out what problems they have.”
She said three major problems identified at the informal settlements are access to basic services, such as water and sanitation, poverty and unemployment.
“I have visited Military Heights and Village Heights as well as Phumlani and spoken to the camp leaders where I have gone out to see for myself what challenges they are experiencing and to make an effort to take care of it.”
She said people have already come to her to thank her for small tasks tackled by the City of Cape Town. “People, not only give me bad feedback, but for a small deed, such as unblocking a drain, they come to thank me.”
Ms Gordon said she was given orientatation by the City of Cape Town as a new ward councillor and she now she feels better informed.
“The training was awesome. Being able to understand how the City works has been very insightful because it helps our day to day work. For exmaple, to be able to comfortably access various departments to get information to help the community.”
She said the training would be ongoing. “We needed to find out how to engage with the community with the knowledge we have received. It is not the easiest thing to see people going from pillar to post, so I must be able to assist them to guide them to the right department.”
Ms Gordon said another challenge in the community was poverty. “People do not always have the means to go to the relevant department to sort out their problems due to poverty. The important thing is to find out what the problems are.”
She said one of the big issues is, “the longing of the people in informal settlements to live in brick (homes) and to have the basic service of water and sanitation”.
The issue of unemployment was another focal point for Ms Gordon. “The City’s link to an integrated development plan for the whole of the ward includes interventions to create employment through skills training programmes.
These skills or tools may help them build their own businesses,” she said.
She said the City focuses on giving local people job opportunities through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), which aims to alleviate poverty.
When asked what motivates her to get up in the morning, Ms Gordon said: “My passion is to see if the people are listened to. That is a requirement, to not just hear but to listen to people. Sometimes we can’t please everyone, but as long as we have made an effort to help.”
Ms Gordon’s experience in the community as the former executive director of Mother’s Unite, an NGO, in Seawinds, makes her task as ward councillor a little easier.
“I’ve been a community practitioner for nine years. I have the experience of working alongside the community and the heart of people is what drives me.”
Ms Gordon is from Retreat and said she had been a community-orientated person since a young age.
“I went to St Augustine’s Primary School, St Mary’s, Central High, and then I went to Crestway High. I am a people’s person.
“I have no qualms in making friends. I was very active in school extramural activies, such as drama.”
However, she said when it comes to work she is serious and realistic.
“I deal with things as they come. Obviously I need to have the insight of the issue first, then find out how to deal with it”
She said community leaders are constantly sending her messages and communicating with her.
“There is an open line. If there is no feedback I will tell them and keep people in the loop.”
Ms Gordon said interacting with NGOs and other entities who play a pivotal role in bringing about transformation in their ward was important to her.
“What also drives me is to give selflessly and to make a difference in the lives of the communities.”
Call Ms Gordon on 082 825 0511.