All good with ward councillors

Residents are mostly happy with their ward councillors, according to a recent Facebook survey. Photo: File/Pexels.

In a recent survey on various Facebook community pages, the Randburg Sun saw overwhelmingly positive feedback about residents’ experiences with ward councillors.

Liesl Opperman said her ward councillor is fantastic, communicates well, and is friendly and engaging.

Marcelle Murphy added that their ward councillor is very helpful and an excellent communicator ‘and keeps us updated on what’s happening. We really appreciate all that he does for our ward’.

Angela Barnes, however, questioned the survey, saying she would be far more interested in what residents’ expectations of council and councillors are. “In far too many cases the expectations are outrageously high and the understanding of government processes are is dismally low. Government is a cumbersome machine and strangled by protocols. Added to this there is a new administration desperately trying to streamline and make processes more accessible to residents.

“Councillors are not magicians who can instantly alleviate problems… As residents we do rely too heavily on the councillors and leave very little time for them to achieve the work they are there to perform,” she said.

Ward 88 councillor, Nicholas Lorimer, explained that councillors cannot instruct but can raise issues and take problems from their community to the administration. “When a councillor is in government, then issues are raised through your political party, or through reports to the MMCs and mayor directly, as well as in Section 79 committees. While a councillor cannot tell an official to replace the streetlight, they can tell the managers, the MMC and mayor that the streetlights are not being fixed and ask them to take action to address the situation. This is usually referred to as oversight and is mostly what councillors do,” he had said.

Although the feedback was mostly positive, negative comments also appeared. Some residents were not as happy with their ward councillors.

When residents feel that councillors do not respond in a timely manner, they can approach the councillors’ political heads who will take up the matter with the councillors, Ward 86 councillor Philip Kruger said.

If, after that, you are still not satisfied, you can approach the speaker of council, Vasco Da Gama, by sending his office manager, Joanne van Greunen, an email at joannev@joburg.org.za

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