My Plan for Cape Town
BUILDING COMMON PURPOSE
With great humility and honour, I accept this nomination as the GOOD Party’s Mayoral Candidate for the City of Cape Town. Serving in public office is not a job; it is a privilege that comes with enormous responsibility.
It is a mayor’s responsibility to work day and night to create an environment that enables every person who calls the City home to lead progressively more comfortable lives, in better living environments, with functional logistics and infrastructure, adequate safety – and hope.
This responsibility is particularly acute in South African cities that were deliberately constructed to keep residents separate and unequal.
We must build a common purpose and address fundamental inequalities or we risk the instability of unresolved reverberations from the past.
REVIVING SERVANT LEADERSHIP
I am not a career politician. Before cutting my teeth in local government, I was managing a reasonably decent professional legal career to which I will return one day if and when my public service is done.
I never considered a career in boxing, though I am 100% inspired by Muhammad Ali’s wise advice that, “service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth”.
That is a lesson I was first taught in my childhood, by my father, who said that those of us who are able to speak out have a duty to do so on behalf of the voiceless, and a duty to take action where others’ cannot.
Lessons in servant leadership…
About 15 years ago, after reading a book about the arms deal while on a family holiday in the Eastern Cape, I felt obliged to do something to help. I’d lived in New York for a while, returning to Cape Town to open a Law School.
I was drawn to Patricia de Lille. I liked her straight talk, the fact that she was a black woman leading a post-apartheid party, and her brand of social democracy. I volunteered to serve, and she quickly dispatched me to the Cape Town City Council
as a councillor.
When she was later elected mayor, she included me as a member of her executive committee.
We spent eight years there. Although frustrated by colleagues who didn’t share our values, or honour their commitments, for a transformed and inclusive Cape Town, we gathered valuable knowledge and experience of local government and the inner
workings of the City.
REDISCOVERING THE “MOTHER”
IN THE MOTHER CITY
When GOOD is elected to govern Cape Town, we will govern with guts and determination for a city that honours its nickname – “the mother city”.
We will be firm in our values, true to our word and transparent in our deeds.
We will care equally for all residents regardless of their race, bank balance or where they live. We will fight, with all our might, to narrow inequalities in our residents’ living environment.
We will change our pronouns from the divisive “us and them”, to the inclusive “we” and “our”.
Our Mother City.
A generation ago, South Africans dreamed of building a new kind of society on a foundation of shared dignity and respectful diversity.
There are no better options; we have drifted off track - but it is a vision to which we must return.
THE WARM HEART OF CAPE TOWN’S PEOPLE
The preamble to the Constitution defines our collective task to heal the divisions of the past, establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights, improve the quality of life of all citizens, free the potential of each person, and lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people.
The Cape Town that I know is home to millions of caring people who wholeheartedly support these noble objectives. Millions of people who feel personally connected to the daily suffering, indignity and injustice of life on the proverbial wrong side of the tracks. People who would genuinely like to contribute to fixing the city.
It is home to many thousands of individuals across dozens and dozens of communities who demonstrated their warm-heartedness by spontaneously rallying to feed hungry families, forming Community Action Networks when the Covid-19 lockdown struck.
It is home to the embodiment of Ubuntu, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and a proud history of selflessness and courage during the anti-apartheid struggle.
These ingredients define a generosity of spirit.
They are the essence of the Mother City’s soul.
But, this is not the soul of the present city administration.