‘Councillor is not for us’

2016-10-11 06:00
Henry Naude, Rosetta October and Elizabeth Langley say residents of the Heights took to the streets because they are unhappy with their newly elected ward councillor. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

Henry Naude, Rosetta October and Elizabeth Langley say residents of the Heights took to the streets because they are unhappy with their newly elected ward councillor. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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With just over 70 days since local ward councillors were elected some ward 67 residents have already had enough of their new ward councillor.

Residents of the Heights, which includes Village Heights, Montague Heights, Hillview and the surrounds, took to the streets on Tuesday out of anger, saying they are not happy with the way Geraldine “Gerry” Gordon does things.

“She acts as if she elected herself. The community put her there, so she must answer to them. She doesn’t make time to even meet with the people. She says she doesn’t have to explain anything to us. What kind of a leader is that? She must be there for the people,” says Aysha Davids, Village Heights representative of the Hillview 2 informal settlement community association.

“There was an integrated development plan (IDP) meeting and we didn’t have people from the Heights there. How are we supposed to give feedback to the community when we don’t even have information ourselves? I spoke to her about it and she says an invitation was sent out. How come none of the people in the Heights attended those meetings? I spoke to people here and no-one knew about the meetings.

“People were very upset and they decided to take to the streets,” says Davids.

Residents of the Heights who have stayed in informal settlements for many years are desperate for their own houses (“We want houses, or else”, People’s Post, 7 June).

Gordon says she invited residents of her ward to meetings.

“We informed people about the meeting. If they say they were not invited how did I manage to fill two buses to the meeting? I had people from Vrygrond, Pelican Park, Zeekoevlei ... so what do they mean that they were not invited? The meeting was advertised by word-of-mouth regarding the IDP and I also sent out flyers for my public meetings in Vrygrond and Seawinds,” she says.

Chairmaine Pretorius, chairperson of the Hillview 2 informal settlement community association, claims Gordon has “an attitude” towards the committee.

“When people have problems in the area they come to us. We have to report to the ward councillor, but she says we must make appointments. How can you make an appointment when there was a cable theft or there is no water? These are urgent matters.

“She might have a problem with the committee leaders, but that has to be put aside. Personal issues must not come between our work and what we do for the community.

“We only had a meeting once when she was introducing herself after she was elected and that was it. She is a public servant and she must act as such,” says Pretorius.

Gordon says she is always available, except when she has a workshop, is in training or at a statutory meeting.

“I met with the camp leaders in their respective camps dating back to August and into September. Committee leaders can contact me on my phone or email me or make an appointment to see me at my office, whereby I can set up a meeting with each camp leader, as the dynamics of each camp are different but similar in nature.

“Committees are important and each one has a role to play, and so are the councillors and we too have our role to play. A lot of capacity building is needed with the leadership as they cannot barge into an office and feel it’s okay, and not give a thought to the person I have a meeting with at the time.”

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