A COUNCILOR OF A DIFFERENT CLOTH
By: Amanda Mqadi
“This momentous occasion presents an opportunity for us to reflect on how our freedom and democracy were achieved, the progress we have made in the past 20 years and how we will work together as a community,” said the Newlands West Councilor, Siphiwe Lubhede.
Councilors have always played a tremendous role in achieving service delivery in our 20 years of freedom and democracy. They play a central role in the communication process between the communities they represent and the municipal council. They face many challenges during their five year term such as high expectations from the communities they serve.
He has however highlighted that the councilor cannot always satisfy everyone; some do appreciate the work you do, and some don’t. “I have a solid and healthy relationship with my fellow residents, but what I’ve noticed with some of the Indian residents is that they don’t like to talk and reveal their problems. For example if they need RDP houses. I think they have too much pride to share their problems with someone who is of a different race group to them. Some do call and SMS, thanking me for service delivery,” added Lubhede.
This year, they have managed to put up speed humps; and bus stops shelters, erect RDP houses at Westrich, and build a Shoprite (U Save); and an outdoor gym at Hillgrove. “Shoprite has made the residents lives much easier because it’s located closer to them and there will be no need for transportation,” he proudly said.
As the nation celebrates 20 years of freedom, many will no doubt join in the celebrations. A Newlands West resident of 23 years, Ruben Rajpal, is one of many who point to the maturing democracy which entrenches the rights of all as evidence of our freedom and the progress in Newlands West since 1994.
“Newlands West is a much better place to live now. The councilor has done a lot in this place, but I’ve been requesting for speed humps by the road and a tree to be chopped down for quite some time now. The councilor has still not done this. The tree causes too much dirt as the leaves fall on my yard, and I would have to be the one who sweeps them off,” Rajpal said. He added that they elected him (the Councilor) as a community because they knew he would be best for the job, but now he is not providing what they ask for.
In response to these accusations, the Councilor was not available for comment.
Lubhede said to be a good Councilor you need to abide by the rules and a lot can be fulfilled. “There are programs done by the Municipality that are educational to improve you as a councilor. I attend these programs so that I can mature and conduct myself in an ethical way. As proof, there is a service delivery report to show that I have covered a lot this year compared to the other years,” added Lubhede.
Being a councilor takes personal commitment to carry out the role effectively. Councilors need to balance the needs and interests of their community. “So far I have done my best to fulfill the community’s needs and will still continue to represent them fully,” concluded Lubhede.