Ward councillors work overtime

Simon Liell-Cock, Ward 61 councillor

To set this matter to rest let me clarify the situation – ward councillors are “part-time” councillors who routinely work for 14 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year without any support staff.

Public holidays almost always require your presence at some event and community needs do not magically cease on weekends.

It is not unusual to be somewhere in the community on a Sunday night at 10pm. With the run-up to the 2016 elections, councillor Pat Francke and I have not taken a day off in eight months and that includes Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

The gross salary for metro councillors is determined by government and is currently R34 667. From this tax and party levies are deducted. Travel allowances are paid only for kilometres actually travelled on council business, there is no housing allowance and no pension or medical aid. There is some life cover provided. I can promise you I did not take this job for the salary.

In his letter, Peter Watermeyer did not pose any questions to respond to (“Think before you vote,” Echo letters, August 18).

He made a number of unsubstantiated statements which I chose not to correct, I have a policy of not attempting to reason with the unreasonable as per the advice of Proverbs 26:4.

Felicity Purchase, as the sub-council chairwoman, has been mandated to issue media statements on behalf of the sub-council hence any statements come from her office. We both usually meet with the reporters following the monthly sub-council meetings to discuss issues of importance to the community but the statements come under her name.

As to “taking up the cudgels” there are many very serious issues in the ward that take up my time and I choose not to engage in meaningless public spats whether in the print or social media. It does not add any value other than providing entertainment for those privileged few with time on their hands and nothing better to do than bait public servants.

Both councillor Francke and I spend the majority of our time in the community attempting to address the serious social issues such as crime, substance abuse and joblessness as well as dealing with problems in the delivery of essential services which is the primary mandate of local government.

We have an open door policy and any member of the community is welcome to make an appointment with us via the sub-council office. We also hold a “Councillors clinic” in Ocean View every Thursday from 2pm until the last issue has been dealt with sometimes after 6pm. Over the past five years I have dealt with 100 000 emails and at least double that from WhatsApp, SMS and telephone messages.

There are many noble and genuinely caring community workers in the ward and I admire them for the selfless service which they provide and I support them where I can, without their contribution our community would be in dire straits.

I do appreciate every vote cast for the DA and I will continue to represent all the people of Ward 61 to the best of my ability but I will not be dictated to by armchair critics who offer only criticism without solutions or offers of help.