Ward committee elections a farce

THE ward committee elections that took place late last year were, in the DA’s opinion, irregular, held under a veil of deliberate confusion and obfuscated in the extreme in the DA-held wards. The DA walked out of two council meetings on the issue of ward committee elections.

The responsible mayoral committee member and his officials went out of their way to ensure that ward committees which suited the ruling party were elected. The process in Ward 7, which comprises 17 suburbs including Mill Park, Linkside, Greenacres, Parsons Hill, Newton Park, Adcockvale, Schauderville, Kensington, Perridgevale, Kempston and Dry Lake industrial areas was as follows:

I was informed during last year, by the officials of constituency services, that the venue for Ward 7 elections would be a place called “white house” in Holland Park. I objected because this venue was actually an illegal tavern.

I suggested the Andrew Rabie School hall and the officials undertook to come back to me. Nothing happened until a week later when a local resident phoned me and informed me that the meeting was under way at the Morewag School.

I naturally did not attend the meeting as the resident also told me that the attendees were mostly members of the local ANC branch committee. At no stage was this meeting advertised to the residents of Ward 7.

The underlying principle of ward committees is that they must be apolitical. On Tuesday March 4 we received the lists of elected ward committee members for all the wards during a special council meeting. Of the 10 members of Ward 7 committee, eight reside in two streets in Holland Park, all ANC members, and two in Schauderville, also ANC members.

In no way can the process and election be called fair and inclusive, especially not in my ward which has a perimeter of 23.4km, is 10.6km² in size and has approximately 10000 street addresses.

The same scenario took place in other DA-controlled wards. The DA, being a party with rock-solid democratic principles, decided that it could not support the ward committee selection process. Hereby lies a lesson for all, under the rule of the current party: due processes do not apply. The sooner the current rule is changed the better.

Under the DA the events described above will never happen!

Chris Roberts, DA councillor, Ward 7, Port Elizabeth

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