Ricochet News

EFF hopes Ward 1 residents will give it the mandate to represent them at Council

By Afikile Lugunya - Mar 5, 2018
EFF hopes Ward 1 residents will give it the mandate to represent them at Council

“I think it's time that we moved away from the mentality of what a ward councillor in the suburbs ought to look and sound like and whose interests the incumbent ought to be protecting,” says the Economic Freedom Fighters' (EFF) candidate in Wednesday's upcoming Ward 1 by-election, Awethu Fatyela.

She is contesting for the Ward for a second time after losing to then Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor, Rashied Adams, in the 2016 Local Government Elections.

The Ward became vacant after Adams was fired from the DA last year - he has since joined the Congress of the People (COPE).

Fatyela, who is 33 years old, resides in Humewood and is a mother of a 9-year-old son. Besides politics, she is a final year Bachelor of Arts Media Communication and Culture student at the Nelson Mandela University, where she works at the university's Centre for Community Technologies (CCT) as their Communication and Stakeholder Liaison.

She has also made a name for herself as an education activist.

Fatyela joined the EFF in Nelson Mandela Bay upon her arrival in 2015 from Pretoria. A year later, she was chosen to contest on behalf of the party for  the Ward 1 seat.

“I love politics and consider myself a social justice advocate,” she described to RNEWS.

“As an undergraduate student, I have co-authored a book chapter titled 'Disrupting Coloniality: Student-led Resistance to the Oppressive Status Quo in South Africa' with Savo Heleta and Thanduxolo Nkala (in 'Universities and Conflict: The Role of Higher Education in Peacebuilding and Resistance,' Routledge, 2018)," Fatyela said. 

“I have also presented papers on decolonisation of ICT education at a conference in Portugal and on decolonisation of knowledge in South Africa at a conference in Ghana (both in 2017).

“I aim to continue doing research, producing research output and publishing in order to capacitate myself towards social justice advocacy that works towards policy change whilst also engaging in ground work for the EFF."

Fatyela said that she understood very well that the constituency of Ward 1 has not changed in appearance, however, in terms of demographics, it has changed a lot and added that the change must be considered.

“This is a space that was previously reserved for whites, but we are here now and want a place, a voice and representation in this ward,” she said.

She once lost to the DA; RNEWS asked her how confident she is that this time around residents will vote for the EFF.

“In terms of confidence and winning the Ward, I would say I am confident that my party supporters and people residing in the Ward will come out in their numbers to vote for the EFF,” Fatyela answered.

She added that she was grateful that the EFF had faith in her to contest the Ward for the second time.

“Ward 1 should vote for me because I am capable, disciplined, transparent and very hard working.

"I think it's time that we moved away from the mentality of what a ward councillor in the suburbs ought to look and sound like and whose interests the incumbent ought to be protecting," Fatyela said.

"South Africa is at a turning point in its history right now, where young leaders are emerging, who are determined to build on the post-apartheid foundation laid for us in 1994."

Speaking for the EFF in the Nelson Mandela Bay, Cllr Zilindile Vena, said that by competing in the Ward 1 by-election, they are trying to grow their support base, so that they can represent all people - regardless of the colour of their skin, gender or where they live.

"Ward one community once voted for us and I am confident that they will vote for us again and put their confidence in us and the young woman that will be representing them," Vena said.

“In the one-year-six months [that we have been in Council], we proven ourselves as the EFF in the Nelson Mandela Bay that we can address issues as the key party that will put their needs first."