Newly-appointed mayoral committee member for finance Siseko Mbandezi rose through the DA ranks working on the ground in Wallacedene and Bloekombos.
Mr Mbandezi, 43, who has almost a decade in the banking sector, as appointed by mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis late last month.
“In the short term, I would like to ensure that we continue to support those residents who are struggling financially,” says Mr Mbandezi. “To that end, we have made an additional R600 million available to provide free basic service to our most vulnerable residents.
“This is not sustainable in the long term; however, it is important that we grow our economy to ensure that more people are employed, and more new businesses are created. This will help to expand our rates base, ensuring that we can continue to deliver and expand on our service offering.”
Mr Mbandezi views his directorate as “the engine room of the City”.
He says the finance directorate is vital to the execution of service delivery and infrastructure projects.
“I plan to ensure that it keeps ticking over smoothly, that we build on our successes, and improve where necessary, ” he says.
“We live in a very challenging time, not only in South Africa, but globally. We increasingly need to do more, with fewer resources at our disposal, so we need to be innovative, we need to work smarter and faster, and we need to do all this within the legislative framework that guides the management of public finances, as well as the City’s Integrated Development Plan.”
He says he’s found a hard-working, competent team in his directorate.
Mr Mbandezi has a BSc from UWC. He was in banking from 2002 until 2011, when he became a councillor.
“I have enjoyed being councillor in Kraaifontein, where the people are amazing. The need is so great in the area as the area is growing every day,” he says.
He styles himself as an activist, who “grew among the people” of Wallacedene and Bloekombos.
“I do not have high or lows (in council work); my work and the people have been my priority regardless of challenges that the job brings,” he says.
On what drove him to politics, Mr Mbandezi says: “I never fell in love with politics, maybe politics fell in love with me. What has driven me all these years in being a community activist was the desire to make change for me and the people of my community.”