Brian Sokutu
Senior Print Journalist
3 minute read
2 Nov 2021
6:13 am

Infrastructure one of the burning issues in Ekurhuleni

Brian Sokutu

'One of the biggest issues here is the contaminated so-called poo lake, because of the sewerage system spilling into this lake.'

South Africans cast their votes at the Joburg City Hall voting station, 1 November 2021, during the South African local government elections. Picture: Michel Bega

A long snaking queue of casually dressed voters – some holding umbrellas to protect themselves from the scorching morning sun – yesterday made their way along Aldergrove Lane and Arlanda Street into Bonaero Primary’s DJ Kitzinger Hall in Ekurhuleni to cast their votes.

Among the middle-aged and elderly group was first-time voter and Ashton International College pupil Julia Lessmann, who voted “for an end to load shedding”.

Eighteen-year-old Lessmann could not hide her excitement at voting for the first time.

“I am now able to use my right as a citizen to vote – I’m happy to do that and exercise that. In Bonaero Park, electricity is a problem, with us having experienced yet another load shedding – this time on voting day.

“With my vote, I want to see an end to the energy crisis – stability in the area, so we don’t have load shedding so often,” said Lessmann. Encouraging people – particularly the youth – to vote, she said: “One vote matters and makes a
difference.

“You make a difference in the community by voting in an efficient ward councillor – an opportunity to voice your opinion, making a decision as an adult.

“Once you turn 18, you are an adult. So, it is best to exercise adult duties in the community.”

Asked about challenges faced by a broader South Africa, she said she would like “to see people unified as one”.

She added: “I am also very much environmentally driven. So, I would like to see a clean-up action, less carbon emissions and fossil fuels used – seeing more renewable energy to drive South Africa.”

The enclave around Bonaero Primary became a hive of activity – police patrols, local nurses offering voters vaccination from a mobile clinic, with Democratic Alliance (DA) and Freedom Front Plus (FF+) representatives having erected colourful tents on Arlanda Street.

Contesting ward 23, FF+ candidate Jennifer Glover said she woke up early and would wait until the voting stopped at 9pm – “and then off to the results centre”.

“Although there has been no power, we are happy that voting is proceeding well,” said Glover.

Up against DA candidate Andre du Plessis, Glover said: “In ward 23 I stand a good chance of winning. We have seen a lot of growth in the Freedom Front Plus over the past two years – taking a lot of DA votes.

“People are starting to realise that the Freedom Front Plus is a party for them. One of the biggest issues here is the contaminated so-called poo lake, because of the sewerage system spilling into this lake.

“Electrical, water and sewerage infrastructure are key issues here. The infrastructure is completely outdated and needs
to be updated and maintained properly.”

DA ward committee member for safety and security Danie Putter described the party’s chances of winning as “a positive 100%”.

“Service delivery – electricity, water and sewerage are key issues. It is our never-ending struggle to hold government to
account,” he said.

– brians@citizen.co.za