Ward 73, which includes Meadowridge, parts of Heathfield, Bergvliet, Southfield, Plumstead and Constantia, is traditionally a DA stronghold, with the party taking 96.13% of the votes there in the 2016 municipal elections, but how will the chips fall come Monday November 1.
We spoke to some of the candidates in this year’s poll to find out how good they think their chances are of taking the ward.
Beverley Strong, 60, from Naruna Estate in Plumstead is deputy chairperson of the residents’ association and is running for ward councillor in wards 63 and 73 under the United Independent Movement (UIM), which she joined almost one year ago.
“My respect, faith and admiration for this new party and its president, Neil de Beer, is boundless. I am very proud to be one of the founding members.”
Mr De Beer is a former national security advisor to President Nelson Mandela and a former Umkhonto we Sizwe intelligence agent. He was an ANC member for about 30 years before resigning in November last year.
Ms Strong says she is standing because they have never had a councillor who has ever done anything for the people. “I will change that,” she says. “In fact, I am already doing that. I have been feeding the less fortunate in our community for over a year. From my driveway twice a week as pleas for help fell on deaf ears.”
She says crime is rampant in the area and the first thing she will do as councillor is form a community safety group. “We need a phone number that people can use when they have an emergency and then a group of people can go and help. We would also patrol our area.”
Housing is also an issue and she says she has secured pro bono legal support to help those facing threats of eviction. “We need someone who gets up and does it and not just someone who says they will do it. Actions speak louder than words,” says Ms Strong.
The Good party, led by current Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure and former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille, is contesting its first municipal poll and its candidate for Ward 73 is Mercia Edith Phillips, 53, a mother of three adult children with her husband of 34 years. A Steurhof village resident for over 21 years, she says she is a Christian with strong family values.
The community has seen a rapid decline in recent years, she says. Residents of the council homes are faced with broken water meters, blocked drains, broken and dilapidated boundary walls and leaking roofs, and the pavements are a death trap for seniors, she says.
Early childhood development, education and social development are also priorities for her.
Ms Phillips says many families face unemployment and are struggling to pay high water bills and keep their lights on. There are families facing eviction from council houses, despite being exemplary neighbours, while nothing is done about drug peddling, she says.
Her goals, she says, are to restore, equip and rebuild a safe, secure and clean ward and serve with humility, integrity and honesty. She says she will increase visible policing to restore safety to the ward and will hold monthly report-back sessions and be approachable and accountable.
Edwin “Eddie” Andrews, 44, is assisting outgoing councillor Carol Bew and is standing as the DA’s candidate to take the baton from her come election day.
He is a former Springbok rugby prop, chairperson of the City’s spatial planning and environment portfolio committee and the former councillor for Ward 78, which includes Westridge, Westgate and Portlands in Mitchell’s Plain. In 2007, he and Tonderai Chavhanga founded the Joshua Foundation, a mentorship programme which uses rugby skills to encourage youth to reach their full potential.
Mr Andrews attended Steenberg High and lives in the ward. He is married, has three children, aged 19, 16 and 13 and recently competed in the Cape Town Cycle Tour, riding with his son. Mr Andrews made it to Muizenberg, his son completed the race. He also cycles within the ward when undertaking some site visits.
Mr Andrews says he has been inundated with requests to attend meetings about service-delivery matters. In response, he created WhatsApp groups to ensure communication between the residents and himself.
Other priorities, he says, include addressing the needs of the Steurhof community and homelessness.
“With regards to communicating with residents, I have already divided the ward into the following sectors, namely Steurhof, Diep River, Plumstead (only the section abutting Gabriel Road), Constantia (east of the M3), Meadowridge, Bergvliet and Kreupelbosch.”
Joyce Hector, 64, a candidate with the Cape Independent Party (Capexit), previously Cape Party, did not respond to questions sent. Instead, the party’s leader, Jack Miller, sent a general statement asking residents to vote for Capexit as it would help them exercise what he said was their constitutional right to vote in a referendum to declare the Cape an independent country.
We also sent questions to ACDP candidate Grant Haskins; Jeffrey Xaki of the African Freedom Party; Mapeyi Mkhululi of the African Independent Congress; Joyce Sakati of the ANC; Anwar Adams of the Democratic Independent Party; Mzubanzi Damuza of the EFF; Gerald Siljeur of the United Progressive Party of SA; and Benjamin Titus of United SA, but they did not respond.