Ward 57 candidates weigh in on the issues

Victoria Main Road in Woodstock is part of Ward 57, which is being contested by 34 candidates in this year’s municipal elections.

Urban decay, housing, homelessness, gentrification, crime, jobs, corruption – these are some of the issues Ward 57 candidates are vowing to tackle as they campaign ahead of the municipal elections on Monday November 1.

Thirty-four candidates are contesting the ward, which covers parts of Rosebank, Salt River, Zonnebloem, Observatory, Woodstock and Mowbray.

In 2016, the DA won the ward with 75% of the votes followed by the ANC with 11% and the EFF with 6%.

DA candidate Yusuf Mohamed

The current DA councillor, Paddy Chapple, is stepping down, and the party is fielding Yusuf Mohamed. It’s the first time he is standing for public office.

Mr Mohamed says he has spent the past 13 years “creating sustainable communities across South Africa and the world”.

The Shaster Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Men on the Side of the Road and Sun Homes Latin America are among the NGOs and charities Mr Mohamed says he has worked for.

He is a member of the Kensington Community Safety Watch and a community liaison in the City’s safety and security directorate.

“Service delivery is something that must be continuously championed, and I view it as a task that needs to be communicated with residents to deliver it seamlessly,” he says. “Currently homelessness, crime and joblessness are the biggest issues. These issues are directly attached to the national lockdown.”

It’s also important to resist the urban decay of the city in the long term, he says.

“By cleaning the ward, we can attract investment and help family businesses grow, which directly contributes to the local economy. We can address crime by removing the opportunities for it to occur. This can be done in the short term. The long-term issues will be tackled as we compound on getting the short-term solutions right.”

ANC candidate Phikolomzi Ngonyama

ANC candidate Phikolomzi Ngonyama, of Observatory, grew up in Johannesburg before he came to Cape Town to study. He is the regional branch chairman of the Young Communist League.

“Gentrification continues to be a big challenge in Ward 57 and the rapid development is adding to this, which is why available spaces of land must be used for sports, recreational activities and housing,” he says.

Mr Ngonyama says programmes are needed to integrate the ward’s large student population into the community. Sponsoring and motivating students to do their driver’s licences and getting businesses involved with the community will help the youth and residents, he says.

EFF candidate Yamkela Mxesibe

EFF candidate Yamkela Mxesibe, of Mowbray, is the party’s branch chairman in Ward 57.

“My first priority is to add more police and security in the area. Our students in the area are not feeling safe because of the poor policing,” he says.

The EFF wants a ward that will be transparent and corruption-free and where there is value for every cent spent, he says.

“Our schools must have access to basic learning and materials. University students will be one of our main focuses for the budget of ward 57.”

Good party candidate Shariefa Job

The Good party’s candidate, Shariefa Job, a Salt River businesswoman, has served on the Woodstock Community Police Forum and was a project and youth co-ordinator for the Western Cape Missing Persons Unit, an NGO that posts about missing persons.

“I have worked in the community since 2018. I have always assisted community members who needed help with their rates, cleaning of roads, logging of calls, including helping students with their homework and accounting tutoring.”

Ms Job says she hopes to make a difference by encouraging the youth and uplifting the community. “I am trying to assist the youth by liaising with the private sector to invest in entrepreneurship and to create internships for new graduates to get experience.”

“I want to assist with municipal-account issues, upgrade parks and soccer fields so that the children can utilise them, provide security cameras for blind spots in the ward and create affordable housing.”