Dr AV Mahomed shares his hopes for eThekwini in the run-up to elections
Share this article:
Dr Ahmed Vally “AV” Mahomed is the chair of the Jumma Masjid Trust and a patron of the Denis Hurley Centre. He has been at the forefront of initiatives in central Durban to bring together people of all faiths to help those most in need. In the run-up to the local government elections, Mohammed shares his views and hopes for eThekwini.
Q. Why is it important to vote in the municipal elections?
A. It is important that we have people of enthusiasm in public office so that they get the work done. People get tired, so elections every few years give us a chance to elect people who are the right people for the right job and come in with the enthusiasm and new ideas that are so important.
As humans we are accountable to God for our own deeds and God also gives us responsibility for our fellow human beings. One of the ways of showing this responsibility is by voting. If you don’t vote, you get the politicians you deserve.
Q. In what area has the municipality been doing well?
A. When there is a disaster.
Q. How could the municipality do better?
A. Sadly, general service delivery could be a lot better. These problems affect everyone but more especially the most vulnerable such as homeless people and shack dwellers. So the municipality must improve its service delivery, especially in terms of street cleaning and other initiatives to make sure that Durban is an even friendlier tourist attraction.
Q. What are the main issues you will think about when deciding who to vote for?
A. I want to elect people who will do the work. We need someone who will act for the people and listen to them. I would be especially attracted by someone who is committed to creating homes for the homeless.
Q. eThekwini has been badly hit by the lockdown and by the July riots. What makes you positive about the future of the city?
A. It is tempting to blame the pandemic and riots for the state of eThekwini but there was non-performance before then. Nevertheless, having lived in Durban all my life, I feel very, very positive about this city. We have seen a lot of progress since the 1980s. But recently, we have suffered from a lack of trust between the residents and politicians.
Q. It feels sometimes as if the rich and the poor inhabit different cities. What can be done to bridge these divides?
A. Some people can be narrow sighted and ignore the homeless. But they are our fellow brothers and sisters regardless of creed or colour. I am sure that affluent people would support initiatives to help the homeless once they see the work of the NGOs. We have all been sent on a mission by God to help our fellow human beings.
Q. In central Durban there are a lot of visible homeless people. What can the municipality do to address this issue?
A. A concrete action would be to take some of the municipality’s abandoned buildings and turn them into homeless shelters. We proved during the hard lockdown that the city can get together behind a common goal and deliver when it wants to.
Q. How would you like the new council/councillors to be accountable to the voters?
A. We need our councillors to have clear objectives on which they can report back to us regularly. But this is not just the responsibility of councillors. Responsibility for this city lies with all the people who live here. We cannot just sit on the fence: we are part of the system. We need to make sure that we vote for the right people.