Independent: Community leader takes on challenge

2011-05-03 00:00

POET, playwright, music composer and artist Zakhele Hlatshwayo is standing as an independent candidate in Ward 16 in the greater Edendale area, which includes unit JJ, CC and unit three of Imbali and part of KwaPata.

Hlatshwayo — a long-standing community activist and card-carrying member of the ANC — was one of the candidates being touted by the community as their choice for an ANC candidate for the area.

However, many community members found that they were not informed when the candidate selection process took place.

Hlatshwayo said ANC members who had been excluded from the process held their own nomination meeting. Four candidates of good standing in the community were selected and interviewed and at the end of this process he was chosen.

With the ANC still not prepared to recognise Hlatshwayo as a potential candidate to represent the party and sticking to the choice of Bhekabantu Zuma, the community urged Hlatshwayo to stand as an independent.

He said he could not believe the level of support he received when he went around collecting signatures to support his nomination as an independent.

“The community know me because way back in 2009 we formed a task team to tackle several issues such as leaking water pipes, exorbitant water bills and a host of other issues.

From that time we wrote to the municipal manager and challenged him on a number of issues,” said Hlatshwayo.

They took up a host of other issues on behalf of the community like writing to the Demarcation Board about unhappiness over the ward boundaries. They even presented a full report of their grievances to KZN MEC for Local Government, Nomusa Dube.

“She wrote back to us and sent us her correspondence to Mayor Mike Tarr asking him to address our concerns. They [the community] were happy with this work.

“These are all the things that a ward councillor is supposed to do and this is why they wanted an ANC councillor who was an activist in the community. Unfortunately this did not happen,” Hlatshwayo said.

Hlatshwayo — an educationist and head of department at Ashdown Primary School — is known to be one of Msunduzi’s most famous citizens.

In the Spiers Contemporary 2010 Arts programme he was listed as one of the top 100 visual artists naturally. He composes music and is the founder of the Pietermaritzburg Sacred Voices Choir.

His wife Sizakalele works as an administrator at Edendale hospital and he says he is the proud father of nine children.



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