Bronwen Lemini
Bronwen Lemini

Eldorado Park residents hope for change after elections

By Amanda Maliba Time of article published Nov 10, 2021

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The community of Eldorado Park has seen a change in their local municipality leadership. After 15 years of the Democratic Alliance’s rule in wards 17 and 18 of Eldos, the Patriotic Alliance, last week, won the majority votes - leading with 61% of the votes, followed by the DA at 20%.

Bronwen Lemini

Those that lived longer than 30 years in the area described Eldorado Park as a once decent and safe place to live in, with recreational spaces for the youth. Now, their once beautiful park, located in Eldos Proper, is missing all its park benches and swings.

Right across the park, a swimming pool that has been around for as long as many of the residents can recall stands naked, stripped down of all its bricks, available metal, the reinforcement within the concrete, grandstands, change rooms and even the makeshift offices. The damage was done over the last four-five months, during the time when the pool was idle over the lockdown, and that prompted the vandalism, but it is within the last couple of months that the vandalism intensified in broad daylight.

When asked where the security was, one local responded, “good question.”

A few kilometres away, transport hub offices that were built and never used stood destroyed just like the swimming pool. The taxi rank/bus station is now a chill area and business hub for the local vendors.

The Sunday Independent spoke to more than ten locals, who all expressed the same concerns with the ever-deteriorating state of Eldos – each calling for the much-needed help to save their beloved neighbourhood.

Describing the state of Eldorado Park, 49-year-old Catherine Janowski said it was a ticking time bomb.

Janowski says two of her sons are addicted to drugs, and that has made her life a living hell.

“I grew up here, and I can count so many areas where we had for the youth to do positive things. Now all that is left are drugs at every corner.

“I am really glad that the DA is out. I didn’t see their value to the neighbourhood. Under them, our beloved Eldos has deteriorated. We have been forgotten, and yet, all we want is for the drugs to be uprooted and that our children to be given opportunities. I am glad about the green t-shirts. I am happy for the change.”

Janowski said she changed her vote for the first time since she started voting many moons ago.

Bronwen Lemini ​(37) and his wife couldn’t contain their excitement when asked about the change of leadership, throwing their hands up in excitement. “I am so happy that PA won. It is somebody close to home that I can identify with and hold accountable. I had limited my choice to Action SA and PA, although, Mashaba has the experience and results that are visible. I still felt he wasn’t close to me. With the PA, the counsellor I know personally and know who to go to to ask for answers.

“But the time for change in Eldos has come. The PA emphasised the importance of having God at the centre of everything, and that is what we need here. We have a lot of social ills, but we come from Christian homes, and if you build on that, there can be change.

“DA was present, and I think they could have done more. They over-promised and under-delivered, and over the years, that has torn this neighbourhood,” with the wife agreeing to everything he said.

His 69-year-old dad, who has lived in Eldos for many years, says he is positive about the change and agrees with PA’s opinions. He is also among the many elderly that changed their votes for the first time.

“Drugs, jobs and service delivery. That is all we want changed, for a better environment,” he said.

Thirty-five-year-old entrepreneur, Melodine Rosenburg, is in the construction industry and said it had been hard trying to build a business in her community because she felt blocked and overlooked for many years. Her small business is five years old.

“I hope that we won’t be faced with a situation where they start forgetting about the people once in power. It has been happening, and that has been demotivating for us,” she said.

Rosenburg voted for Action SA but said she was happy with the turnout. “I am not bothered by PA winning. As long as DA is out, I am happy. The DA was serving for years, but as a young person, I don’t see any change. The older people and our children need to be prioritised,” she said.

PA's local representatives could not be reached for comment.

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