All-women firebrands to contest Ward 55 by-election

HOLD ON: ANC ward 55 councillor candidate Ntombizodwa Nyati
HOLD ON: ANC ward 55 councillor candidate Ntombizodwa Nyati

For the first time in a long history of by-elections in Nelson Mandela Bay, the candidates vying for the Ward 55 councillor position in Motherwell are all women.

The by-election on February 5 will see women from the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party, UDM, ANC and EFF go head-to-head in a bid to win over voters.

Noxolo Mafumana is standing as an independent candidate.

The vacancy in the ward comes after the death of Motherwell councillor Mzuvukile Boti, of the ANC, in October.

The seat will be hotly contested as all parties try to gain the upper hand.

The ANC in the metro has 49 seats after the position became vacant.

EFF candidate Fundiswa Cacela, 31, said she was unhappy about how things were going in the ward and decided to stand in the hope of making a difference.

“I’ve lived here for more than 31 years and in that time there were houses built 28 years ago that have not been renovated, because they were built with sub-par materials which needed to be replaced.

“Our roads in the ward are a problem, drainage is also an issue because when it rains, streets flood causing water to enter people’s homes,” she said.

Cacela said she wanted to bring visible change but, most importantly, ensure services were delivered to those who needed them most.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE: The EFF’s Fundiswa Cacela
MAKE A DIFFERENCE: The EFF’s Fundiswa Cacela

SRWP candidate Nobuhle Jacobs, 33, said she had always championed service delivery in the ward even  as an ordinary resident.

“I know what residents want and need, which is why I think this places me in a unique position to be a councillor.

“If the budget allows, houses in the ward need to be rectified.

“You have homes with windows falling apart, doors that need to be replaced and leaking roofs that need to be reinstalled,” she said.

Jacobs promised to hold monthly meetings with residents to update them on projects happening in the ward.

“I want to at least host monthly meetings, even if there’s no movement on projects they want, because then they’ll be informed of what’s happening.”

MONTHLY MEETINGS: SRWP candidate Nobuhle Jacobs
MONTHLY MEETINGS: SRWP candidate Nobuhle Jacobs

Independent candidate Noxolo Mafumana, 59, said she had been elected by the residents of the ward to stand on their behalf.

Mafumana, a member of the DA, said residents wanted her to stand outside of the party and represent them.

“In 2016, I stood as an independent candidate at the request of residents, and I’m doing it again.

“When these organisations get into office, they do not put the needs of people first and this is exactly what I’m about — putting people first.

“I stood because I was not happy with what was happening under the previous ward councillor, with service delivery not taking place, lack of governance and [alleged] corruption.

“My office will be run by the people because they put me there,” Mafumana said.

PEOPLE FIRST: Independent candidate Noxolo Mafumana
PEOPLE FIRST: Independent candidate Noxolo Mafumana

Ntombizodwa Nyati, meanwhile, hopes to retain the ward for the ANC.

As reported previously, the UDM candidate is Nomakhaya Ntozini.

The DA, COPE, ACDP, AIC and PA will not be contesting the by-election.

Independent Electoral Commission Eastern Cape spokesperson Julie Stanworth said there were 10,787 registered voters in the ward.

“During the last local government elections in 2016, the ward was won by the ANC candidate with 74.91% of the 6,441 valid votes.

“A reminder that to be able to vote, you need to be a registered voter and to bring your green bar-coded ID book, smart ID card or a valid temporary identity certificate with to the voting station,” she said.

On the day of the by-election there will be five voting stations, at Ncedo High School, Jerusalem Church, Melisizwe Primary School, St Johns Apostolic Church and Old Bantu Congregational Church.

Voting stations open at 7am and close at 9pm.