Local Plumstead community activist Ursula Schenker is running as an independent candidate for councillor in ward 63. Picture: Supplied
Local Plumstead community activist Ursula Schenker is running as an independent candidate for councillor in ward 63. Picture: Supplied

Big-hearted Plumstead community activist runs for ward councillor

By Kristin Engel Time of article published Oct 13, 2021

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Cape Town - Independent candidate and Plumstead community activist Ursula Schenker shared her history and motivation behind her campaign for Ward 63, which included Fairways, Wynberg, Plumstead, Southfield, Diep River, Naruna Estate and Golf links Estate opposite Ottery Station in the upcoming local government election.

Schenker is an activist assisting community members in dealing with municipal related issues as well unsavoury responses and behaviour by the municipality towards residents regarding housing, electricity and other issues.

“Residents get sent from pillar to post, seniors get asked for paperwork and given so much documentation to complete. It’s an absolute nightmare so I get involved and explain the processes that need to be followed and how to go about it,” said Schenker.

Schenker said having been active in her community for many years as a victim support counsellor at Diep River police station, Plumstead Civic Association secretary, Prison Care Support Network board member, Diep River CPF deputy chairperson, Associated Seniors Club chairperson, a Community Development Worker and as a commissioner of oaths, her skill set, attention to detail and positive mindset have armed her to deal with the tasks at hand in the ward.

“As there are nine voting districts in ward 63, the issues are not one-size-fits-all. In Wynberg there is the Bonnytoun informal settlement, where residents feel they have been ’forgotten’ and many have drug-related problems which impact negatively both on them and on the residents in the community. In Naruna Estate, although not an informal settlement, there are also housing-related issues,” said Schenker.

Schenker said other voting districts found irregular waste collection services and unaffordable rising costs for services a bone of contention.

Her motivation for running in the local government elections stemmed from her approach to dealing with issues on behalf of the many residents and victims in the community, from a trauma-related perspective, and her inability to elicit tangible solutions – hence seizing the opportunity when it became available, said the activist.

Plumstead resident Bianca Wilhelm said: “I have never met anyone so dedicated to helping others, young or old. She has arranged holidays for the elderly, sorted out their IDs and assisted them with their pension documents. Schenker has been a trauma counsellor for many, many years and volunteers her time every day.”

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