Ursula Schenker stands as independent in by-election

Ursula Schenker of Plumstead has been certified as an Independent Candidate for the by-elections in Ward 63 on Wednesday June 30.

Ursula Schenker, of Plumstead, will stand as an independent candidate in Ward 63 by-election on Wednesday June 30.

The by-election was triggered after councillor Monty Oliver died of Covid-19-related complications in April.

Ms Schenker’s candidacy was certified by Michael Hendrickse, the new provincial head of the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC).

IEC officials met the candidates at De Wet Road Hall in Ottery, on Monday June 14.

The new councillor will hold office until local government elections later this year.

This is the first time Ms Schenker, who has lived in the ward for 23 years, has stood for election. She is a community development worker, seniors activist and trauma counsellor.

Ms Schenker said residents who vote at both the Plumstead High School in Basil Road and 1st Wynstead Scout Hall at the corner of Basil and Exmouth roads are all residents of Ward 63 and, as such, fall under Sub-Council 18 based in Lotus River and not Sub-council 20, based in Constantia, as many believed.

Asked what motivated her to run for office, she said: “Because I was so active in the community, people always told me about the issues and how difficult it is to get help from the councillors or officials. There are also many problems with the different ward boundaries and district issues. I realised that the only way I can help is by standing as an independent candidate. When the opportunity became available I seized the opportunity.“

To qualify as an independent candidate, Ms Schenker had to get at least 50 signatures from registered voters within the ward.

“I will register to be a candidate again later this year. I supported political parties before, and we didn’t get the help we needed. I thought instead of giving my vote to a party, I could be the change,“ she said.

“I know what to do and I’ve been doing it. I have the knowledge. I just need the platform, and if I am chosen, people will have direct access to me and not have to work through red-tape to get an answer − they can hold me accountable.”