WARD 19 councillor Sipho Caiphus Ndawonde attributes putting people first and working closely with his community as his recipe for success after being awarded the “Best Councillor” award. NOKULUNGA NGOBESE spoke to him.
Although born in KwaCaluza, he moved to Imbali in the sixties and was involved in community development structures for more than 20 years until 2011 when he was elected ward councillor for Imbali’s Unit 1 and a certain section of Unit 2.
Being awarded the best councillor award under the Msunduzi Municipality Service of Excellence awards in December 2015, Ndawonde said the award would not have been possible without a committed ward committee and supportive community members.
With only a few months left before local government elections, if he return for a second term, his greatest wish is to have a successor who will put people first in everything he does.
“Some political leaders have become so money driven to the extent they take positions not with the intention of having their community’s interest at heart, but are driven by greed to serve their own interest. I believe that a councillor should be accessible to the community, lead without any prejudice and embrace all political affiliations.”
With his term of office almost coming to an end, he managed various projects, including revamping the more than 50-year-old township, road upgrades, schools and tertiary institutions upgrades and installing panorama lights. His latest project includes the installation of an outdoor gym at the former “Brewery”, which is an initiative of the Department of Sports and Recreation. He is currently negotiating to have a community swimming pool built.
While unemployment, drug and substance abuse and a large number of school drop-outs continue to cripple the community, Ndawonde believes that with a collective effort the township can be revived to its former glory.
“All educational facilities are within our reach, but I am concerned about the number of school drop-outs in our area. I believe that if we work in a triangular system where we involve parents, teachers and the community in our education, there will be no need to go to town to look for resources while we have our own.
“We have also started an alumni association for unemployed graduates in the area who will assist with career guidance in schools, extra classes on weekends and to provide skills development.”
With a lot of developments in his ward, Ndawonde said his greatest wish is to see the establishment of a shopping complex that will be owned by local business owners at the former Ezitolo area.
“If we can nurture education, create our own wealth as black communities and have proper sporting facilities to stimulate young minds, then half of my dreams would have been achieved,” said Ndawonde.
Other than being busy with community issues, he is an avid reader and enjoys watching international soccer.