As soon as the IEC announced the list of 34 candidates standing to represent you in Ward 57, the OCA tried to track down email addresses for all of them, either through Facebook, google searches or through the political parties under whose banner they are standing. In the end we were able to make contact with 24 of the candidates, either directly or through their parties. As a service to our community and in particular as a way of deepening participatory democracy, the OCA then organised a series of Town Hall meetings to which the 24 candidates were invited.
The first 7 candidates to respond to our request to meet the voters appeared in the 1st Town Hall meeting and the 2nd one was attended by 6 of the 7 candidates who had confirmed their participation. Azeem Omar of the Democratic People’s Alternative simply didn’t pitch, despite having confirmed his attendance. Towards the end of each of these Town Halls, we ran a poll asking you to vote fo the candidate who you felt had best expressed their ability and willingness to make your voice heard in our City Council, should they become our Ward Councillor.
For the third and final Town Hall, we invited the 2 top poling candidates from each of the two previous Town Halls to join our Final Town Hall. From the first one, Kirsten Poking (Independent) was your top choice followed by Shariefa Job of the GOOD party. At the second meeting Claude Rossouw of the Spectrum National Party got most of your votes followed by Phiko Ngonyama of the ANC. All four these candidates said they would attend the 3rd meeting, However when I phoned Phiko a few minutes before the meeting started, to remind him that we were waiting for him, he said he was caught up in another meeting and so would only be able to join the Town Hall late. In the end, he never attended that meeting at all. At this third Town Hall, we again ran a poll asking you who best would represent your interests in Council and like the first meeting, Kirsten Poking (Independent) again resonated best with you the voters.
Unfortunately, the DA candidate Yusuf Mohamed never replied to our repeated email and Whatsapp requests to participate in our Town Hall meetings until two days after the Final Town Hall meeting this past Tuesday.
For more information on each of the Town Hall meetings, including the list of candidates invited, we refer you to our 3 most recent newsletters which you can find here:
1st Town Hall – http://us4.campaign-archive.com/?u=0ad62a9e358c0dd6099e2285f&id=cb163d02da
2nd Town Hall – http://us4.campaign-archive.com/?u=0ad62a9e358c0dd6099e2285f&id=97989fa2e9
3rd and Final Town Hall – http://us4.campaign-archive.com/?u=0ad62a9e358c0dd6099e2285f&id=d3e22d638e
At the beginning of this process, we also asked all the candidates to submit their manifestos so that you could get a sense of why they were standing to represent you. You can find the manifestos of those who replied here: https://obs.org.za/candidates-manifestos/ We made a particular effort to get the two biggest national parties’ candidates to submit their manifestos, but as of Thursday neither Phiko Ngonyama (ANC) nor Yusuf Mohamed (DA) had sent us their manifestos by email or Whatsapp.
We also wrote to all 54 parties contesting the Cape Town Municipal elections to ask their stance on the controversial River Club development and you can find the responses that were received by the 18th of October here: https://obs.org.za/where-do-political-parties-stand-on-the-river-club-development/. Subsequent to the 18th of October, all of the Ward 57 candidates who participated in the Town Hall meetings were asked the same question regarding their stance on the River Club and all of them stated their opposition to it and most stressed the importance of taking into account the voices of the local communities most impacted by the development.
Finally we would like to remind everyone that when you go to the polls on Monday, you will have two ballot papers to complete – one is to select YOUR ward candidate to became YOUR ward councilor and the other is to elect the party you wish to have represent you in Council.
As the OCA is not allowed to take a party political position, we cannot advise you on which party to vote for nor which candidate to vote for. But we can urge you not simply to vote for the same party you voted for last time, but to read all the above, watch the candidates performance in the Town Hall meetings and use the information we have provided to make a wise choice based on what both the candidates and the parties have said (or not said!) about how they intend to represent your views in the Cape Town City Council for the next 5 years.
If, after you have read all the above and listened to what the candidates have said, you still feel that not one of the 34 candidates represents your views, then go to the polling station on Monday and make this known by spoiling your ballot.
But please do not abstain from voting on Monday because all you will be doing is indicating that you are apathetic and don’t care about what laws will affect the way you live for the next 5 years.
Most importantly, by not going to your polling booth on Monday, you will be giving the middle finger to the thousands of people who struggled and fought and even sacrificed their lives for the right for every person in South Africa to have the vote.
YOUR VOTE COUNTS, SO VOTE WISELY, BUT ABOVE ALL JUST VOTE!!!