Politics or residents, what comes first?

This week Andile Dlodlo from Joburg asked:

What comes first, your political ideology or the residents’ needs? If both are equally important, how do you balance this?

Ward 99 councillor, Nicole van Dyk, answered:

South Africa is a sovereign state that upholds the advancement of human rights and freedom, human dignity, equality, non-racialism, and non-sexism within its Constitution. Party manifestos, when being written, should always revert back to the Constitution so as to comply with this ultimate guiding document.

This essentially answers the question. Residents’ needs should always come first, provided their requests are within the framework of the Constitution. However, there are nuanced situations, as in the case of the influx of displaced people. We have a large homeless problem which forces many people to dwell in open spaces.

Very often people feel – and are occasionally correct – that this an inlet for criminals. However, as the Bill of Rights states, everyone has the right to have access to adequate housing but there aren’t nearly enough homeless shelters across the city and in the province, forcing people to the streets.

So the question becomes: Who do we prioritise in this situation and for what reason?

There is no definitive answer and reflection from all sides is necessary.

When it comes to ward councillors, we cannot, within our code of conduct, give instructions to any official. We are there as oversight and escalation bodies. We will always ensure that all our residents are prioritised by all entities and the correct escalation procedures and time frames are adhered to. My personal political ideology is the Constitution. I will always have this document to guide me.

Do you have a question for a ward councillor?

As a local newspaper, the Rosebank Killarney Gazette provides a platform for residents to learn about, understand and follow local government. As an extension of that, there is a weekly column called Councillor’s Corner which is a platform for you, our readers, to voice your concerns or questions for ward councillors to respond to.

Different and willing ward councillors will respond to a question each week.

Email your burning question to [email protected] and let’s get the ball rolling.

Talk to us on WhatsApp 079 439 5345


Chantelle Fourie

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