Ward 7 candidates dig in for municipal poll

Crime in Ward 7, including regular gang-related shootings in and around council flats in Scottsdene, will pose a major challenge to whoever fills the councillor’s seat after the municipal elections.

Crime and unemployment will pose big challenges for whichever candidate wins Ward 7 in the municipal elections.

The ward covers Scottsdene, Northpine and a small part of Brackenfell bordering Northpine.

In 2016, the DA’s Grant Twigg won 87% of the votes, up from 82% in 2011. The ANC trailed well behind the DA with 6%. The ANC has presided over a steady decline in the ward, having polled 12% in 2011 and 24% in 2006.

Mr Twigg, a 54-year-old businessman who has been a DA councillor since 2004, says his passion for solving the community’s issues will propel him into another term of office.

But he will be facing competition from 31 other candidates, including Neil Simons, the candidate for former Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille’s Good party, which is fighting its first municipal election; the EFF’s Theresa Snyders, who was born in the ward; and ANC activist Susan September.

Ms Snyders will be looking to improve on the 1.9% her party scored in the 2016 elections, putting it just ahead of the ACDP with 1.8%.

Grant Twigg fancies his chances for another term.

Reflecting on the 2016-2021 term, Mr Twigg says a lot has been done, including housing developments in Bernadino Heights, road repairs, Expanded Public Works Programme opportunities and attending to many service delivery queries.

“But I also accept that we have much more to do now that we are also confronted with the pandemic.“

For the new term, he promises to bolster infrastructure, maintain roads and fast-track the development of low-cost rental houses.

Asked about his campaign finances, a coy Mr Twigg says campaigns cost “a lot of money” but adds that the DA foots much of the cost of election material. Without giving a figure, Mr Twigg says he covered some of his campaign from his pocket.

Susan September is the ANC’s Ward 7 candidate.

Ms September, is a 47-year-old single mother-of-two who is in the construction business. She believes the ANC is ready to arrest its decline in the ward.

She says she’s paid her dues working for the community and is ready to fill the councillor’s seat.

Ms September says her campaign was funded by the ANC, but she wouldn’t give figures.

Under Mr Twigg, service delivery has deteriorated, sewage pipes have been neglected and overflowing stormwater is a common sight in poor areas, she says.

“The incumbent has been in power for more then 15 years. During his time, the socio-economic conditions of the poor and vulnerable members of our community have worsened.”

She says there have been no positives to take from Mr Twigg’s term. “He must go.”

She vows to speed up access to the housing process for backyard dwellers if elected.

“The majority of Scottsdene residents are not owners of their homes, although they have been paying rent on a monthly basis for the past 40 years.”

Neil Simons is the Ward 7 candidate for the Good party.

Mr Simons, a 50-year-old married man with three children, believes Mr Twigg’s time as councillor is up and he says he has splashed R70 000 of his own money on his election campaign to prove it.

Ward 7, says Mr Simons, is weighed down by an aloof councillor, a lack of resources, high crime, substance abuse and “children out of wedlock“.

“The biggest problem is that the incumbent is out of touch with the needs of the community. Very little is being done to address concerns. It may be true that people don’t acknowledge when things are being done, but to hear the same story throughout the ward means that something is wrong.“

Mr Simons, who is the founding member of the Homeless People’s Association in Ward 11 in Kuils River, promises to concentrate on job creation and improve access to funding and opportunities for small businesses.

Theresa Snyders is the EFF’s Ward 7 candidate.

Ms Snyders, a 49-year-old, married mother-of-five, says unemployment, gangsterism, housing and water are her top priorities.

She accuses Mr Twigg of “playing a big part in the problems faced by the ward” because he’s out of touch as he stays in Northpine.

“He doesn’t know our people. When he comes to our ward, he comes in the company of police or bodyguards. That’s so crazy. He’s an outsider.”

She says her campaign has been funded by the EFF.

Running for a second time against Mr Twigg, Ms Snyders believes a combination of hard campaigning and the mantra “second time lucky” will see her dethrone the DA.