LETTER: Councillor must be Jack of all trades

2016-03-08 06:00

When it comes to helping people with little education, councillors must be on the forefront of solving their very challenging problems.

Recently a widow wanted to take title of her first husband’s rented municipal house after he died.

The trouble was that she had married again and changed her surname to her new husband’s surname. To complicate things she wanted the house transferred onto her original, maiden surname.

A call to the housing department, in my presence, revealed that her maiden and second surname were both invalid due to her new changed surname. The 60-year-old was in tears.

What was palpable was that she had problems with the new husband and was worried that should she transfer the house on her latest married surname, he may lay claim.

The difficulty was that she also did not trust her adult offspring as co-signatories. Oddly, none of the information was blatant and needed to be drawn out of her with tactical questions as the lady remained peculiarly guarded.

What was required was to ensure that the house was transferred onto her name only and that she also draft a will leaving the property to her offspring when she died as she did not trust them then.

This is an example of how councillors must sometimes work like social workers, lawyers and matrimonial and conflict mediators.

At the same time, a councillor cannot get upset at how some people behave when they insist on telling councillors how they want to do things. Some attitudes often defy logic, municipal procedure and law.

What is manifest is that there are many people in our multicultural democracy who are unable to help themselves. Due to a genuine lack of education or money, they need help, possibly their entire life.

When voting in the upcoming election, consider if the prospective councillor is the type of person who has the required qualities, as well as the education and skills, to do this job.

While voting for a large party may seem like a logical option, at the end of the day when you need help, it is the councillor you must contact.

Yagyah Adams, Walmer Estate

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