Democratic Alliance now has a PR Councillor in Ward 100, which includes Cosmo City. Resulting from the movement of Councillors to Provincial Legislature and National Assembly due to the May 2014 elections, Cllr Funzi Ngobeni was sworn in as a PR Councillor recently. Cllr Ngobeni has been a resident of Cosmo City for many years and is familiar with the evolution of Ward 100. Like most South Africans, he grew up in the highly politicised environment. “I was involved in politics from a young age, having been active in Congress of South African Students (Cosas) and later with the ANCYL” he said. He later became involved with the congress of the people and “like many other South Africans, I have come to find my true political home in the DA” said Cllr. Ngobeni.
In discussing the profile of a PR councillor, Ngobeni said that a PR councillor is one elected through the party lists. Often PR councillors will be allocated to wards by the party, either to team with the incumbent Ward councillor, or to develop support in an area held by the opposition. “PR councillors are primarily accountable to the party. On the other hand the Ward councillors are elected directly by the residents in a ward and therefore represent the electorate’s interests. One of the Ward councillor's important functions is to be the voice of all the people in the Ward and to strive for effective service delivery to them. However, in terms of their specific responsibilities, there is little to differentiate PR and Ward councillors” he explained.
Cllr. Ngobeni said, about his duties, ‘Besides fulfilling my party political duties which among others include developing and maintaining party profile in the Ward and strengthening our structures, it’s also my duty as a PR Councillor to be for and with the community - attending conscientiously to voter queries and community representation. This include
*Being accessible to voters in person, by telephone or email
* Providing accurate and timely feedback to queries and representation
* Actively progressing issues by individuals and groups
* Attending community meetings such as resident associations, community police
forums (CPF), schools, clinics, ward forums, religious bodies, sporting bodies and
“I am committed to the progressive well being of Ward 100 and its residents. Our Ward, particularly Cosmo City and Itsoseng are a growing community and this growth seems to be coming with all sorts of challenges. Issues such as running sewage spills, safety and security, by-law enforcement, youth development, local enterpreneurship are some of the immediate issues that I'll be pursuing with the Ward Councillor and the Departments of the City of Johannesburg” he said.
“It is my belief that local government must work for the people and we're here to ensure that that objective is accelerated” he concluded.
PR Cllr Funzi Ngobeni can be contacted on cell: 072 366 8404 email: email@example.com
On Saturday 26th of October it was Cosmo City Cleanup day, under the banner “Ethomakawena” (It begins with you) organized byan NGO operating in Cosmo, the Green Beings. Resident leaders were responsible for mobilizing the residents, street by street, extension by extension, to participate in the event. All extensions were taking part, or were supposed to take part in the cleaning of their own extensions.
The aim of this community clean up day was to promote active citizenship and take pride in their environment. “Keep Cosmo City clean” was this year’s slogan that supposed to encourage the residents and motivate them to come out andparticipate. Gloves and refuse bags were provided to the participants and after the cleanup, Pikitupcollected the filled up refuse bags.
Extension 3 was poorly attended with only about 10 people coming out to clean. This year the residents of extension 6 went a step further and attempted to tackle the cleaning of the Cosmo City Nature Park which is always a target for dumping. City Parks is supposed to be the department that maintains this Nature Park together with the conservation area but it has hardly ever cleanit. Residents, even from outside ext. 6 come to dump here unabated.
“We are trying to clean this park because we see that this rubbish here is becoming a health hazard for us and our children” said Martha Tshungulwane, who resides in the extension. Residents complained about the smell that came from that park and lamented that nothing is being done about the constant degradation. The situation is made worse in that the Ward Committee member, Stanley Mahlalela, who was responsible for environment resigned some couple of months ago.
Some residents suggested that if the park is not going to be maintainedthen it might as well be closed as it has also become home some drug users who even rod people in the early hours as they go to work. Unfortunately in other extensions not many residents heeded the call to come out clean their extensions.
The Cosmo City ext 5 Residents Association (CCex5RA) officially launched the building of the Masonry Wall project alongside the conservation area’s palisade on Saturday 18 October. “The City Parks palisade is not going to be destroyedbut we will just build alongside it for security” said their spokesperson Elias Zama. “This is going to be a 3 year project because the wall will be built on the whole length of the extension 5. The building of the wall is considered to be the stage 2 of the ext 5 long term security plan for the area. Ext 5 Residents Association has adopted the policy which says “if you can control the movement then you can control crime in your area”he said.
Out lining the reason for the building of the wall Zama said the palisade was easily vandalized and not frequently repaired. “It is low in some places and does not provide sustainable security in the long term” he said. Without providing somefigures on the crime which they said had been monitored for 6 years, the association’s written release also added winter fire hazards, dumping that give rise to breeding of rodents as some of the reasons for favouring the wall construction.
The association solicited some funding from local businesses such as the new Meridian school, Mjayeli security, received left over construction material from the Cambridge store, castle cement who donated 40 bags of cement. Mjayeli and the Meridian school donated R12 000.00 and
R10 000.00 respectively while residents in the extension are being asked to donate R400 per household. “Collections and donations collected amount to R35 000.00 so far” In their earlier project the associassion says it closed almost every known passage except for one which they will still close in due course.
PR Councillor for Randburg, Patrick Maisha was appointed as caretaker councillor for Ward 100 after Councillor NoniRaphata was booked off sick since August. Councillor Raphata last officiated at the opening of the Cosmo Mall on the 27 of August. The Ward was without official leadership and issues, according to the many stakeholders’correspondence, have been going unresolved.
“Given the legitimacy of the concerns, the Office of the Municipal Chief Whip of the City of Jo’burg responded to the concern of the local leaders by appointing Cllr Patrick Maisha as a caretaker ward councillor until Miss Noni Raphata has fully recovered. As at the time of passing this communication, we are reliably informed that doctors have booked her out of work indefinitely” read the communiqué sent from the office of the councillor.
Ms Zodwa Mahlangu who heads Ward Governance Department in the region, confirmed the appointment of Cllr. Maisha who has had to hit the ground running. One of the major issues which the councillor has had to deal with urgently was that of the sewer systems along South Africa Drive opposite the Multipurpose Centre which was spilling its contents almost every third day. The councillor said they suspect that the system’s pipes were intended for a smaller population than the current one created by the ever increasing back yard rooms in that area.
Councillor Maisha said he intends to get the office of the councillor to become more interactive than what it has been. “the perception that the office is kind of lacklustre has to be corrected” said the councillor.“We will bring back the quarterly public meetings and I am going to be convening ward committee meetings on a regular basis so that we begin to receive the residents’ concerns and deliver appropriately” he said.
Meantime,the recently sworn in DA shadow councillor for the Ward, PR Cllr Funzela Ngobeni, had wished councillor Raphata a speedy recovering. “The Democratic Alliance wishes Councillor Noni Raphata a speedy recovery and calls for the ANC and City of Johannesburg to put a plan in place that will ensure non-disruption of the much needed service delivery. This comes after the announcement of her hospitalisation following the councillor’s prolonged absence from office” Cllr Ngobeni said in a written statement.