Final showdown for Ward 53

Union Avenue circle in Pinelands is part of Ward 53.

Better service delivery for all, social housing, jobs and the environment are some of the issues Ward 53 candidates are vowing to tackle as they campaign for the upcoming municipal elections on Monday November 1.

Thirty-four candidates are contesting the ward, which covers Pinelands, Maitland Garden Village, Ndabeni, Thornton, Epping Industria, parts of Bokmakierie and Koeberg Road Station.

In 2016, the DA won the ward with 87.57% of the votes followed by the ANC with 5% and the EFF with 2.95%.

DA ward Candidate Riad Davids

The long-serving current DA councillor, Brian Watkyns, is stepping down, and Riad Davids, of Pinelands, will be running for ward councillor.

The 57-year-old businessman has served as vice-chair of the Pinelands Ratepayers’ Association and vice-president of Tennis South Africa. He is a founding member of the Pinelands Muslim Association and the Pinelands Street Camera Project.

“At present, I am having informal discussions with residents who are raising concerns. If elected, I will formalise these concerns and we will meet with the operational departments within the City of Cape Town to set timelines and targets of what can be achieved,” he says.

In Pinelands, Mr Davids says he wants to pay attention to noise, air-pollution and sewerage problems; in Thornton, he says, there are sports and community facilities that are not open to the residents and he wants to address this; and in Maitland South and Maitland Gardens Village, he wants to assist with housing opportunities and work on youth and skills development.

Mr Davids says he also wants to help residents who are renting the railway cottages near Koeberg Road Station to open a dialogue with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa about the possibility of them claiming ownership of those cottages.

ANC ward candidate Brenda Skelenge

The ANC’s candidate for the ward is Brenda Skelenge, 47, of Pinelands, who brings over 20 years of experience as a special-needs teacher for Pinelands North Primary School and Observatory Junior.

She is the director of Leaps Development and Advocacy, a non-profit. Ms Skelenge says she is running for office to bring fresh, progressive and innovative perspectives from “less-heard” members of the community.

“I want to transform this ward into one that works inclusively, irrespective of economic, social and racial background,” she says.

“We cannot begin talking about balance where communities like Garden Village and Bokmakierie have not been prioritised in the provision of services to improve their quality of life,” she says.

If elected, she wants to leverage existing good service delivery, improve the living conditions for neglected communities and ensure that every street in the ward gets the same “attention” as Forest Drive and that ageing infrastructure is restored and used fully.

Freedom Front Plus candidate Cecil Africa.

The Freedom Front Plus ward candidate, Cecil Africa, 75, from Durbanville, has over 40 years of municipal experience working in different locations. He worked for the City of Cape Town municipality in 1969 as a young housing practitioner. He moved to the Oostenberg municipality as director of housing from 1997. In 2001, was appointed CEO of the Housing Association of Blaauwberg. More recently, he was a municipal manager of Swellendam from 2013 until 2017, when he retired.

He says he wants to ensure that services rendered are equitable and efficient, offer value for money and match the communities’ need.

“To this end, I will ensure that any discrepancies in service standards between areas are eradicated and that funds for infrastructure services are equitably utilised,” he says.

He says he will balance community needs by using a bottom-up approach by allowing regular interaction with the various groups in each community to state their cases.

Land Party candidate Lana van der Berg.

Lana van der Berg, 56, from Thornton, is the Land party’s candidate.

“Since joining the Land Party, I have become aware of the importance of land ownership in South Africa, and I have become aware how we, as black women, are kept in bondage by the landlords and the City of Cape Town,” she says.

In Thornton, Ms van der Berg says she would like to see the development of a mosque on the abandoned bowling green and build a complex to house College of Cape Town students. And she wants to set up outdoor-gym parks on pockets of vacant land.

She wants to find ways to grow the economy in Epping and Ndabeni and use vacant land and abandoned buildings there for social housing.

Ms van der Berg says her party will form a business chamber in Pinelands so businesses and entrepreneurs can trade with each other.

She would also like decent housing developments for the Pinelands domestic workers who live in small dwellings on their employers’ properties.

The EFF’s communications office was approached multiple times for comment and did not respond to media questions.