Umm Muhammed Umar
Radio Islam interviewed, Yusuf Qassim, a DA politician and member of the Eastern Cape Legislature regarding activities that have been carried out by the ward councillor, Charlene Davidson, ward committee member Khairun Isaac, and Qassim himself, about an open space that had been turned into an illegal dump site in Ocean View.
Qassim said, “The council has been awaiting the TLBs, what has been done in the meantime, is to get workers, yesterday to clean Drie Doring street, just to ensure that all of the rubbish that has been on the street and on the sides, is completely cleaned out.” The issue of illegal dumping is apparently a major issue across the city of Port Elizabeth. Qassim said that there are certain individuals that feel entitled to dump. He said that they don’t want to take the necessary effort to rather go to a waste transfer site. A solution the city is looking at, is creating community gardens. An exhibit of a garden was created at one of the dump sites, so as to occupy that space. Further, the DA is trying to get a budget allocated for these gardens so that the space can no longer be used for dumping.
Regarding the issue of local elections, Qassim said it’s been a very difficult journey. Nelson Mandela Bay, which includes Port Elizabeth, was close to collapse under the governance of the ANC and some other smaller parties. R1.8 billion was withheld by national treasury and hundreds of millions of rand in funding was lost by the city in that time. Service delivery was coming to a standstill because service delivery contracts had simply not been renewed, plumbers couldn’t get to sites because they had no vehicles, grass was not being cut, and so forth. Qassim said, “So, therefore, our aim at the moment, and since December last year, when we came back into government, with a different coalition, is to stabilize the city, get it off its knees and on to its feet.” He says that good progress has been made. He said that the city would not have survived another five years under ANC governance. Qassim said, “you come into an administration that you inherited, with a lot of cadre deployment – officials and so forth – for us to turn it around properly, we are aiming for a fifty percent plus one majority.” He said that the DA was not willing to condone corruption in order to stay in power.
In the legislature, Qassim is able to interface more directly with communities in the Eastern Cape. His portfolio, being Education, allows him work directly in oversight of the Department of Education in the province. Qassim said, “(There) is a lot to do. We want improvement for our children and for parents.” He added, “I’ve enjoyed being able to not only hold the department accountable, but to make an impact on the schools that service our families.”