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Who knows the community better than its people, ask independent candidates | Citypress

#LGE2021 | Who knows the community better than its people, ask independent candidates

2021-10-21 09:40:00 PM

LGE2021 | Who knows the community better than its people, ask independent candidates

South Africa is plagued by a lack of youth development and empowerment, gender inequality and a deteriorating state. If these challenges are not addressed, nothing will be left but decay.

Standing up for SowetoLydia Morake, who is contesting ward 45 in Soweto, told City Press that her decision to stand as a councillor candidate was the result of years of government neglect.Her main focus is the lack of access to basic services.“It’s a basic need. I don’t understand why government has failed in the provision of electricity. This is why I don’t want to promise people that I’ll deliver this or that, as political parties do. Instead, my concern is to work hard to better my community,” she said.

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In recent years, various pockets of Soweto, including Nomzamo, White City and Snake Park, have protested in an attempt to make the ANC-led government respond to their plight of being deprived of electricity for months on end.I always questioned where the other political parties were because things weren’t changing

Lydia Morake“It’s been approximately 12 years that nothing’s been done for us. Instead of things getting better, they’re getting worse,” Morake said. “It’s a sensitive topic because the ANC only took over government to loot. We couldn’t have known back in 1994 what their intentions were.” headtopics.com

She added that after only ever seeing ANC officials lead in her community, the time had come for change.“Whenever there’ve been meetings in the community, they were always ANC ones. I always questioned where the other political parties were because things weren’t changing,” the aspirant councillor explained.

“I then decided to stand as an independent candidate for my area and my people, because who knows the community better than its people?”Morake also champions women’s empowerment and said it was important that women in her ward “be given equal opportunities to those of males”, as many jobs had been reserved for men.

Empowering womenWomen’s empowerment is also high on the agenda for Mandisa Mashego, who is contesting the City of Johannesburg for the Abantu Batho Congress (ABC), which describes itself as an Afrocentric, Pan-Africanist and womanist revolutionary movement.

READ: Mashego is the party’s interim director. She found a new political home in the ABC following her departure from the EFF last year.“Black women, in particular, are under siege – economically, culturally and politically,” she said.Youth at the forefront headtopics.com

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Unemployment continues to plague young people in the country. Nearly two-thirds (64.4%) of those aged between 15 and 24 are unemployed, as are 42.9% of those aged between 25 and 34, according to Stats SA’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey.We need people who’ll take a genuine interest in the wellbeing of our young people, develop their skills and ensure that they prosper

MorakeThis is a high priority for many candidates, including Morake (43), who is a training facilitator by profession. She highlighted the need to empower and develop young people in an effort to address the country’s high unemployment rate.“We need people who’ll take a genuine interest in the wellbeing of our young people, develop their skills and ensure that they prosper.

“My main priority is the development of women – not that men will be overlooked, but women and youth development are at the forefront of what I hope to achieve,” she explained.“With women, it’s mainly the fact that when there are projects, they’re sidelined and frowned upon in terms of what they can do. Or, once they’ve done the work, men take the credit for it.

“As a country, we’ve achieved political freedom, but we’re not even close to achieving economic freedom.”Alexandra’s young councillor hopefulMorake’s younger counterpart, Nkele Galedzana (26), hopes that she will clinch the position of councillor for ward 75 in Johannesburg. headtopics.com

While she, too, is passionate about developing the youth, her greatest concern is the unbearable and “inhumane” living conditions of the people in Alexandra.Independent candidate Nkele Galedzana (26) seeks change in her community. Photo: Rosetta Msimango

With portable communal toilets lining the streets in her ward and the stench of sewage and rotting refuse filling the air, Galedzana said: “The denser the area and the more populated it is, the more efficient service delivery should be. The drains can’t accommodate the number of people here.”

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She told City Press that refuse was sometimes not collected for as long as month.Our country’s literally going down the drain and, as the youth, we need to fight for ourselvesNkele GaledzanaIn this community, 300 people are forced to share three toilets.

Having been a community leader since the age of 16, Galedzana expressed her passion for youth empowerment.READ: Left in the dark for nine months, some Soweto residents vow not to vote“An empowered youth is what I envisage for South Africa. We’ve always been told that the youth is the future of the country,” she said, “but the future is now – and if we don’t stand up, we won’t inherit anything. Our country’s literally going down the drain and, as the youth, we need to fight for ourselves, because no one else will do it for us.”

She described how disheartening it had been to have seen no positive changes in her community over the past five years.Alexandra struggles with inadequate service delivery, resulting in potholes, sewage on the streets, a lack of waste removal and water shortages. Its frustrated residents are tired of empty promises. Photo: Rosetta Msimango

“Now that local elections are upon us, they brought us new toilets on one street – this after five years. Did they think we hadn’t noticed the problem before? That’s why I’ve decided to stand for change because I’m a product of this place and I want better for it.

“While I want to make history as one of the youngest councillors, the bigger picture is ensuring that the history of the ward and Alexandra is changed for those who come after me. Serving people the right way is the only way to show them that we don’t need political parties. The fear political leaders have is that community leaders will take over, but that’s the only way things will ever change,” said Galedzana.

Read more: City Press »

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