Newly-elected councillor Ebrahim Sawant says he is ready to serve the people of Ward 19.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) retained the ward in the by-election, held on Wednesday November 13, following the death of councillor Ricardo Saralina.
Mr Saralina had suffered a severe stroke and his life support was switched off on September 1 (“Farewell, councillor”, Northern News, September 4).
The African National Congress (ANC), African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), Democratic Independent Party, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), GOOD party and The Organic Humanity Movement all contested the by-election.
The DA won 49.28% of the vote compared to 66.44% in the 2016 municipal elections.
There were 19 375 registered voters in the ward, but only 4 214 residents headed to the polls last week.
Mr Sawant, 68, claimed the victory with 2 062 votes.
Ward 19 is split into seven areas which each face various challenges.
They include Highbury, Kalkfontein, Sarepta, Kuils River Common, Stellendale, Wembley Park and Wesbank.
Mr Sawant was an ANC ward councillor in Kuils River between 1995 and 2008 but resigned from politics because of “drastic changes” in the council and party.
He then joined the DA in 2014 and became a proportional representative councillor in 2018.
“I had always had a passion for working in communities and I am happy that I can incorporate my past experiences of being a councillor and community involvement as I take on the task of serving the people of Ward 19.”
He says communities such as Kalkfontein know him and he hopes to build good relationships with community leaders and activists.
“I believe that I cannot change these people’s lives in the blink of an eye but I am familiar with the needs of my area and have to work hard at changing communities for the better,” said Mr Sawant.
He added that there were a number of issues that needed attention in the ward but the most important thing was to “remove the filth” in the areas such as Kalkfontein and Wesbank.
Although some Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) workers had started in Kalkfontein, he said residents needed to be educated about hygiene in their communities.
Mr Sawant said he is working out a plan of action to “see to the basic needs, safety and security and unemployment. I am ready to bring positive changes to these communities,” he said.