Al-Jama-ah leader promises a shake-up of the City
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Ganief Hendricks tried on the heavy mayoral chain once.
And now the leader of the Al Jama-ah party believes it is a good fit, at least for the next term after the November 1 elections.
“During a visit to the City offices recently, I asked to be shown the mayoral chain. I tried it on. It was heavy. I would prefer a lighter one when I am the mayor,” said Hendricks.
As a former councillor, and now member of Parliament, Hendricks believes he’s armed with enough experience and knowledge to shake up the City’s administration.
“The first thing I will do is fire all consultants,” he said, adding that he would also launch an investigation into all tenders awarded to contractors, particularly those in which ex-City officials were company shareholders.
Also on the list of his priorities is a vigorous effort to grow tourism to the city, diversifying target countries and the city’s tourism offering.
“The Indonesians want to visit and connect with the strong communities of Malay people here. But their challenge is the visa. I have already hinted to the national tourism minister on a need for visas to be granted on arrival. This is something I will pursue if I become the mayor,” said Hendricks.
He also committed to growing the local phenomenon by encouraging investment and support for small businesses.
“I support the idea of granting small businesses in the townships a kind of monopoly in manufacturing and providing certain services (to) help grow the economy,” said Hendricks.
Under Hendricks’ mayorship, matriculants would also be afforded job opportunities.
On safety and security, his party would deploy law enforcement officers where they were “needed the most” instead of “making them chase after street-based people”.
“My party will work on ensuring that by-laws comply with the Constitution,” Hendricks said.
He also pledged to provide basic services to all Capetonians, regardless of where they lived.
“People have a right to basic services. The constitution stipulates that all people must have access to these services. But this is open to a different interpretation and some might feel that they were not obliged to do so,” he said.
He also believed that “much“ could be achieved with the grants the City received from national and provincial governments.
Hendricks was proud of the party’s achievements which include challenging the City on sewage pollution in Makhaza and Masiphumelele, and laying complaints with the Public Protector and the Human Rights Commission about these issues.
“We will build wastewater treatment plants in every area to eliminate the sewage and environmental problems the city is faced with,” said Hendricks.
“Al-Jama-ah wants to turn Cape Town into a real Mother City for all its citizens,” he added.
On the housing crisis, Hendricks said he would redistribute public land to citizens and allocate 100m² to everyone above the age of 18 years.
The owners would then use “subsidy grants or private sector financial support” to build their own homes.
Hendricks said he would also encourage densification in suburbs where there was plenty of land available.
“In District Six we would use 50 hectares of land to build houses so people can move closer to the city,” Hendricks added.
During his term as a councillor, Hendricks was a member of the appeals committee which dealt largely with issues such as alcohol trading hours, spatial planning and the protection of the Philippi agricultural area.
While the Al-Jama-ah party would lobby provincial and national government against extending alcohol trading hours, under Hendricks' mayorship the City would not extend the trading hours.
“Given the socio-economic damage that the dop system had on our society, there was no need to extend the alcohol trading hours. However, some applications were approved. But we managed to convince the City not to extend alcohol trading hours in the Lansdowne area,” said Hendricks.
Hendricks was confident that the party would grow its representation in the council from the current two councillors to about 14 after the elections.
If any party wanted to form a coalition with the party, it would have to think twice.
“We are against coalitions, we want co-governance. And I would only consider such a proposal if I am given the mayoral chain,” Hendricks said.
And he;s vehemently opposed to any idea of a “Capexit”.
“We fought for the country. I was exposed to politics at a very young age by my activist mother. We can’t now allow the country to be divided.
“I had a meeting with a diplomat and asked him if their country would recognise a separate country within South Africa and his response was a definite no. The world sees and regards us as one country,” said Hendricks.