The councillor who wins Ward 115 in the upcoming election will have their work cut out for them, as the ward includes the central city – the business hub of Cape Town.
In the 2016 elections, the DA won the ward with 84.22%, followed by the ANC with 7.28% and the EFF with 2.9%.
The DA also won all seven voting districts.
The CapeTowner spoke to candidates of parties which competed in the last election- DA, ANC and Al Jama-ah -about their plans for the CBD, in a ward that also includes Woodstock, parts of Salt River, parts of District Six, Sea Point, Mouille Point, Green Point and parts of Gardens.
We also spoke to the Good Party, which did not run in 2016.
The current ward councillor, Ian McMahon from the DA, won a by-election in December last year, after former councillor Dave Bryant stepped down.
Mr McMahon, from Sea Point, has been living in Ward 115 for over 21 years, and has been part of civic groups within the ward. As current ward councillor, he is also involved as a member of the Cape Town Heritage Trust and the Central City Improvement District (CCID), among other improvement districts, as an observer.
In the inner city, Mr McMahon said he will focus on the continued revival of the CBD and business economy; make doing business easier by unblocking delays in applications; and make Cape Town the go-to business city in Africa.
He said also said he wanted to address homelessness across the entire ward by finding better solutions, and also drive the seven Woodstock/Salt River housing projects to completion.
“I will ensure that there is a continuous kerbside parking plan, to assist bringing retail business clients to the CBD and work with the improvement districts to make the city safer, cleaner, greener and more tourist and public-friendly.
“I plan to focus on making the Company’s Garden, the most prestige public open space in central Cape Town – and upgrade all public spaces, verges and greenery.”
ANC candidate Anwar Peters was very young when his parents were forcefully removed from District Six. They moved to Woodstock, where he still lives.
He is semi-retired from the financial sector and works with the Warmer Estate Ratepayers’ Association.
Mr Peters said his motivation derives from the need to see a better Ward 115, which works for all its residents across the vast geographical area.
He said he would focus on high rates which are forcing people to move further from the city, as well as affordable housing and the homelessness in the ward.
He said spaces such as the Woodstock and Somerset hospitals can be converted into affordable housing units.
“Land must be made available by the government to the people or NGOs, not property developers. With this, more shelters can be built to ensure that we decrease the high levels of homelessness.”
He said unemployment can be alleviated by the establishing of free informal trading areas around the ward.
Al Jama-ah’s ward candidate Nazmie Jamodien, from Salt River, is a journalist and has been running a community newspaper for over 15 years – this is how he gets to know the communities and its issues in the ward.
He works with youth development programmes in his community, and also started clean-up projects in Salt River.
Mr Jamodien wants a cleaner, safer ward across the communities, and wants to tackle homelessness in the city centre particularly, he said, where the makeshift structures being erected everywhere are an eyesore.
Evictions and high rentals are also top of his list. As the areas are gentrified, people cannot afford to live near to the inner city, and eventually communities are broken as people must move out, he said.
Heritage in the CBD also needs to be protected, he said.
Good ward candidate, Joy Davids, from Atlantis, is the deputy director at the South African Law School.
While she doesn’t live in the ward, she said she had a close relationship to it, as her parents were forcefully removed from District Six in the 1970s.
“I work in the CBD and park each day on the vacant site where my parent’s house was. I could have lived here if it wasn’t for forced removals.”
She says homelessness is a growing challenge in the inner city. She will focus on increasing shelters, as well as work with the many NGOs who assist homeless people to up skill and train them.
She said she also wants to address inner-city, affordable housing and use vacant, derelict land for housing. “Housing projects create jobs for the youth and unemployed.”
Other parties contesting for Ward 115 include the EFF, Cape Independence Party, the Cape Muslim Congress, African Restoration Alliance (ARA) and the Dagga Party.
Those approached did not respond to the CapeTowner by the time of our deadline.