Three football bosses from a Hout Bay soccer club are taking a shot at the same goal: the chance to be the community’s next ward councillor.
Lee Smith from the GOOD Party, Fatima Samuels from the ANC and Sydney Phillips from the Africa Restoration Alliance carry FC Hout Bay in their hearts, but they’ll be dribbling down different sides of the field when the whistle blows on Monday November 1 for the municipal-elections kick-off.
The club is having a proper laugh about the matter, according to its chairman, Mr Smith.
“It’s nice that people are standing up and getting so actively involved in their community,” he says.
He plans to make himself “more accessible to the community”, engaging more often and vigorously, he says.
“You cannot only go into communities that you are comfortable with; you need to be representative and therefore active and accessible to the whole of Hout Bay.”
He wants to tackle housing, unemployment service delivery and other socio-economic issues in Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg. “Maintaining service delivery in the valley and then also tackling the exorbitant water and electricity tariffs that are hurting our ratepayers month on month.”
The difference between himself and the other candidates, he says, is simple: “I belong to a political party but never forget that I am representative of the people who vote for me. The people will always come first. If political parties do not have the interests of the people first and foremost, then politicians should champion the cause of the people.”
Mr Phillips is the club’s former chairman and a pastor in the community for nearly 30 years. It’s time for a substitution, he says, and he is looking forward to the challenges that come with the title of ward councillor.
“I am all ready for change, and I am ready for the next journey in my life and for what is ahead for me. I know it’s going to challenging, but I am excited and ready for it.”
He hopes to tackle the stigmas that he says have become attached to different neighbourhoods so that he can bring them together.
“Many times, we feel as if we are being taken hostage and we only belong in Hangberg and we are not part of the broader Hout Bay community. I am sure Imizamo Yethu and people within the village feel the exact same way, and that is one of the key things I want to address.”
He adds: “I have never been involved in politics, I am not a politician and have no idea what I am getting into, but one thing I know for sure and that is that I am a visionary and a leader.”
Fatima Samuels, the ANC candidate, has a trade-union background and has kicked the ball around within the ANC, the ANC women’s League and the SACP, holding various positions.
“I am from this community and I am part of the struggles and challenges we face in this community,” she says. “I want to make a huge difference to improve the quality of life for our people in my community. I will work hand in hand with this community, taking mandates from them and come back with positive outcomes.”
Basic service delivery, road infrastructure, unemployment, RDP housing and electricity are just some of the issues she will be marking.
“I am here to represent the interests of electors, ratepayers and all residents. I will be the voice behind communities and the council and I will serve this community to the best of my ability.”
Mr Smith, says the club is fully behind all three ward candidates. “Our executive is very proud of us,” he says. “There is loads of banter daily. We all want the same things, and we are mature enough to know we can’t bring politics into our club. We’ve been supported by our whole club and that is so encouraging. So it’s going to be an interesting election day.”