When Lunga Gqola was elected as just councillor at the tender age of 19, he saw it as an opportunity.
And while unemployment is better tackled by Buffalo City Metro and aimed at the region as a whole, challenges specific to the ward, according to Gqola, include a lack of unity within the community.
“The cause for this lack of unity is unknown but as a ward councillor, it is my job to make sure that I treat everyone with the same respect and attend to everyone’s problems and try to give the [residents of this ward] hope that one day it will be all right,” Gqola said.
He said there were certain aspects within the metro that needed to be changed to make it a better environment for all its residents.
“The service at BCM is very poor and slow and it delays so many processes which leads people to say that we are intentionally delaying,” he said.
Gqola, 39, said the most important thing any ward councillor should keep in mind was that ideas presented by communities should be implemented.
“I need to be present and attend to their needs as much as I can.
“The most important thing I have to keep in mind is that I must always work with the residents of ward 39, represent the ward as well as I can and I must always make sure that I report back to them.
“People fight for material benefits to live better and in peace and to see their lives go forward to guarantee the future of their children,” he said, adding that it was up to him to ensure this is done.
“Being accountable and transparent in terms of the processes and operations of the rent office and ward are necessary,” he said. Gqola, who was only 19 when he got a taste of politics having been elected as a deputy chairperson of the Harry Gwala Branch (SACP), said he went into politics believing he could make a difference.
“In 2016, I was elected as the chairperson of the ANCYL. In 2018, I was elected as the region’s task team member of the ANC Youth League.
“And in 2021 I was elected as a ward councillor,” he said.
“My inspiration for joining the political sector is my attempt at standing up for my community and making a difference in communities that live in a previously disadvantage background.”
“As a leader you have to treat everyone equally regardless of the political party they are in. Everyone needs the same treatment from us as leaders,” Gqola said.
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