Young Khan ‘his own man’

2011-05-13 00:00

MUHAMMAD Khan, ANC candidate for ward 31, is the son of taxi boss Nazeer Khan, the chairman of the Northern Suburbs Taxi Association.

At age 27, he is one of the youngest candidates to be fielded in this election.

His youth and his links to the taxi industry have drawn mixed reactions from residents in Ward 31, most of whom rely on public transport and have a love hate relationship with the taxi industry.

For many residents interviewed by The Witness, their concern is over the arrogance of youth and whether Khan, who comes from the ANC Youth League, has the humility it takes to be a councillor.

The Witness interviewed Khan to discuss these issues. He portrays himself as a young person who has cared about the community and has been visiting houses and doing good works for a number of years. He said he decided to offer himself for nomination because he realised that the better way to help people was by getting involved. “I’ve seen throughout the years very little that has been done in our areas especially when it comes to helping the poor,” he said.

Khan’s family is well known and often not for all the right reasons. His father is known as a no nonsense head of the Taxi Association and an uncle, Razak Khan, was released from jail a few years ago after serving time for the murder of Surie Maharaj, known as the leader of the Curry Mafia.

His response to this is that he is his own person and says that in his campaigning no one raised any questions with him about his family. “My family helped lots of people charity-wise and people know this,” said Khan.

Another open secret in the Northdale community that everyone seems to know and want to speak about is Khan’s relationship with one of SA’s younger female killers, who at 21 is expecting his baby. She was found guilty of murdering her grandmother, Radha Govender.

The young candidate is learning what it means to be in the public eye and responds that they both have taken a decision not to rush into marriage. They are still young, he says and will take their time to ensure they make the right decision.

Khan, who is involved in the taxi business and who is a financial adviser at Old Mutual, says he is also studying political economics through Cape Town-based firm Leon Liedeman & Associates.

He says if he becomes a councillor he will stop his work as a financial adviser and concentrate on being a councillor. His taxi work does not require him to be hands on.

Khan is aware that the taxi industry does not always enjoy the support of the community, but said it also does a lot of good work.

“Yesterday there was a taxi outreach programme at the YMCA. From Ward 31 I took children from three different schools where three children from each school had their fees sponsored and four from each had their uniforms sponsored. Elderly people that I took along were given blankets,” he said.

According to Khan he visited 800 homes before drawing up his party manifesto and a further 1 600 in his door-to-door campaign. “I’m getting a good response because people see me as a new candidate and someone fresh.”

His election promise is that, if elected, he will keep the ANC offices open after hours to cater for people who work and can’t visit the office during the day.

He says he will hold quarterly public meetings every year and include the different sectors in his ward committee.

Khan’s manifesto promises:

• that he with his ward committee will work closely with council and residents in overseeing the new rates valuation process in 2012.

• establishing an effective crime prevention team

• he will demand that the municipality provide a more effective and efficient waste removal, pothole repair and grass cutting service

• His immediate plan is to form co-operatives to create employment in areas of waste removal, grass cutting and general community maintenance.

He lists a host of good works from feeding schemes to plans underway to open a resource centre and helping with waste removal in the area.

These are all projects he carried out with his fellow youth league members.

The jury is out whether this is electioneering or whether Khan will be able to keep up this track record if elected a councillor and fulfil the ambitious plans on his manifesto.



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