In a testament to their dedication to public service, the newly-elected Ward Councillors are entering office with a determined commitment to address the issues plaguing their constituencies. From high unemployment and crime to infrastructure deficiencies, these leaders are resolute in their mission to bring about positive change and create a brighter future for their residents.
Ward 34 – Councillor Melikhaya Gadeni
Councillor Gadeni has taken note of the diverse range of challenges confronting his constituents, which include joblessness, crime, subpar housing, and infrastructural problems like inadequate sewerage and electricity connections, as well as dilapidated roads.
Gadeni is clear about his objectives and states, "We plan to deal with these issues and will advocate for the upgrading of sewer pipes and pothole repairs. We will also try to get people employed on projects initiated by private and government partnerships."
He firmly believes that a proactive approach is essential to improving the quality of life in his ward and providing meaningful opportunities for its residents.
Ward 35 – Councillor Mboniswa Chitha
Councillor Chitha is determined to combat the high crime rate that has deterred visitors from his ward. Chitha emphasizes the importance of community involvement and states, "People think twice before visiting my ward, and that needs to stop. I want community members to work with me – firstly by not buying stolen goods, because by doing so, we are empowering these kids or criminals to continue terrorizing our people."
Chitha is particularly passionate about reinstating the Neighborhood Watch, explaining, "My wish is to have the patrols again and for our entire community to participate." He is concerned about juvenile crime and adds, "Children tend to get wrong ideas when they have too much free time on their hands, so we should have our own sports fields instead of using Vuyiseka's."
Ward 36 – Councillor Nceba Ntshweza
Councillor Ntshweza is prioritizing youth and skills development as a means to reduce crime in his community. He firmly believes that introducing various sports programs will help decrease crime and states, "As a leader, I aim to bring service delivery to the community."
Ntshweza envisions a safe ward where residents can live without fear and says, "We have a big problem of people getting robbed when going to work or returning home, and we need to come up with a solution to end this."
Ward 80 – Councillor Lindikhaya Payiya
Councillor Payiya is determined to combat Gender-Based Violence (GBV) as the main issue in his ward. "In my ward, women or children get killed almost every week, and I will be working closely with the community to end it." Payiya believes that addressing this problem requires educational talks with both young people and their parents and says, "I’ll firstly talk to young people because most GBV deaths happen among them. One solution is that they need to stop going to drinking places when they don’t have any money."
Payiya also acknowledges the high crime rate in his ward and adds, "There’s a lot to be done to win the fight against this trend. For example, our residents need to stop buying stolen goods because if these criminals don’t have buyers, then maybe they’ll stop robbing people."
Ward 88 – Councillor Zukisani Sophazi
Councillor Sophazi is resolute in addressing the major challenge of unemployment. "The rate of unemployment is too high, and young people have nothing to do – I think this is what I need to focus on. Infrastructure is another issue that needs our attention."
Sophazi emphasizes the need for community structures to combat crime, stating, "We need structures that will help us fight crime, such as a sector forum and Neighborhood Watch, and we need the community’s participation."
Story and photos by Buziwe Nocuze.