Independent candidate, Mavuso Gqola believes Mfuleni deserves a better leader and better service.
Mr Mavuso, is contesting in ward 114, has been the domain of the ANC for 10 years, under councillor Themba Honono. Mr Mavuso says he has been a member of the ANC and South Africa National Civic Organisation (Sanco) all his life and has been campaigning for the ANC since 2004.
Mr Mavoso said growing up in Mfuleni has given him good and bad memories. He said many promises were made to the community but – because of corrupt former councillors, a lack of jobs and poor service delivery – unemployment and crime is escalating.
The former Sanco treasurer wants to introduce young people to development programmes and create job opportunities. He has vowed to open youth centres to keep young people busy and away from crime.
He also pledged to make Mfuleni streets safer by negotiating with the City of Cape Town to employ more young people. He promises to address the on-going sewage overflows and to keep the streets clean.
But his main goal is providing housing for people who live in the shacks and backyards.
“There is no development in Mfuleni at all. People have been voting for all these years but there is no difference in their lives. Crime is out of hand. Young graduates are sitting at home with no jobs. This has to end with us as independent candidates,” he told Vukani at his Child Power Centre offices.
He said residents asked contest the elections because of the many programmes he has rendered in Mfuleni.
“During the hard lockdown I was the only one feeding hundreds of people in Mfuleni. The building that I am in today has been abandoned because of crime. This was a place for our seniors and children but was stripped of everything by criminals. I am reviving it now. I have started to install electricity and other security measures. We are running a soup kitchen here. We also have seniors coming here to do beading. We will continue even after the vote,” he said.
He wants to remake a positive image for Mfuleni.
“There are shacks everywhere in Mfuleni. That is something that was never there. We need to build houses. We need to build the confidence of business people to come and invest in Mfuleni. The ageing infrastructure must be replaced and we do not want sewage all over the place,” he said.
His election co-ordinator, Mawaka Tomose, was confident that they would win the upcoming election and ready to occupy the office and provide services to the people of Mfuleni.
“We have prepared well. We nominated Mr Mavuso to represent us because he has been doing a good job in Mfuleni. We are not a political party but we are residents who are tired of being treated as stepchildren,” he said.
Contenders in the race include front-runner ANC’s Mongezi Madikane, the DA’s Xolisile Qwesha and the EFF’s Mzwethemba Sofika. Other parties, such as the UDM and the PAC are also contesting..
The ANC is seen widely as the front-runner. Candidate Mr Madikane has committed to keep the ward as an ANC one and promised to deal with previous mistakes. He said he would step up security and would lead with transparency.
“There were mistakes, that can not be disputed. I am in this position because people want change. I am that change and I have to deliver to them,” he said.
He promised to revive the community policing forums (CPFs) and neighbourhood watches and invited the community to be part of thes initiatives. Mr Madikane said people need to be involved and be hands-on in crime-fighting.
“I truly believe only I can steer this ward to a better one. We need CPFs and neighbourhood watches to be revived. They must also work with our police. But I will be fighting for a police station here. People cannot walk such a long distance. We told the president when he was here last week about it. Bheki Cele and Fikile Mbalula have come here and we told them about but this is something we have to fight for,” he told Vukani.
He acknowledges that people cannot just risk their lives for free. He promised to approach the City for incentives for volunteers.
“Imagine clashing with these boys from their dirty jobs and you get hurt. At least people should get something for their efforts and their families. The City needs to pay something even if it is little,” he said.
Job creation for youth was also high on his agenda, she said.
“You will never defeat crime if the bulk of young people are unemployed. We need skills development and training for young people. By so doing, we will overcome half of our problems.”
Voters go to the polls for the local government election on Monday November 1.