Councillors must often assist folks who have little schooling and very challenging problems.

Recently a lady wanted to take title of her first husband’s rented municipal house after he died. The trouble was that she had married again and changed her identity document to her new husband’s surname. Furthermore she also wanted the house transferred onto her original maiden surname.

When she was telephonically informed in my office by the housing department that her maiden and second surname was invalid due to her new changed surname on her identity document the 60 year old lady wept. What was palpable was that she had problems with the new husband and was worried that should she transfer the house on her latest married surname, he may lay claim. The difficulty was that she also did not trust her adult offspring as co-signatories. Oddly none of the info was blatant and needed to be drawn out of her with tactical questions as the lady remained peculiarly guarded.

What was required was to ensure that the house was transferred onto her name only and that she also drafts a will leaving the property to her offspring when she died as she did not trust them then.

Councillors must sometimes work like social workers, lawyers, matrimonial and conflict mediators. At the same time a Councillor cannot get upset at how some people behave when they insist on telling Councillors how they want to do things. Some attitudes often defy logic, municipal procedure and law.

What is manifest is that there are many people in our multicultural democracy that are unable to help themselves. Due to a genuine lack of education or money, they need help, possibly their entire life.

When voting in the up-coming election, consider if the wannabee Councillor is the type of person that has the required qualities as well as the education and skills. While voting for a large party may seem like a logical option, at the end of the day when you need help, it is the Councillor you must contact.

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress