Rudi du Plooy
Eight years on Johannesburg's first post-apartheid council has given Rudi skills in governing large organisations.
POSITIVE CHANGE for HAMILTON
My principal place of residence is Hamilton West.
When ratepayers overwhelmingly make submissions against council projects and they still go ahead something is wrong. As a Councillor in Johannesburg for 8 years I was part of the first post-apartheid, non-racial council, working extensively to improve systems of governance, democracy and transparency. Over the past decade it has become clear that these same values and systems are increasingly needed here.
With my experience in governance, I will make a difference. I was Chief Whip for the African Christian Democratic Party and was trained in Political Leadership by the Konrad Adenhauer Foundation. In order to understand and contribute to Hamilton I obtained a Diploma in Law at Waikato University studying Constitutional Law including Te Tiriti o Waitangi. I attend Hamilton Baptist Church and believe in an inclusive and strong community and stand for Fair rates, no extra pokies and no regional fuel tax.
MY VISION for HAMILTON
My Vision for Hamilton
My vision is for a Hamilton that puts the residents first. I believe in a city where the residents can live and prosper. We deserve a city that has fair rates. Fair rates are achieved when a city has the ability to balance income and expenditure without ransacking the ratepayers. It is one thing to balance the books and it’s another thing to balance life. Council cannot behave like a spoilt delinquent child who is engaged in unfettered spending and expects the parents to pay up. The city should never hold the residents to ransom to feed overspending.
What I consider is essential for managing our city’s growth
My concern lies with the growth in expenditure which greatly outstrips the projected population growth. The biggest challenge is curtailing the debt spiral. What is even more disturbing is the plan for massive rates increase that will see the average property owner having to pay rates approaching $5,000 (HCC and WRC). The key to managing this expenditure growth is tighter financial controls at all levels of council. Savings by every department have to become the order of the day. Major projects must satisfy a Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA). Saving requirements must be measured as part of departmental KPI’s.
What I would do to make Hamilton a better place to live in
I would listen to the people and report key council meeting decisions to the community through groups such as the Hamilton Residents and Ratepayers Association (HRRA). I am a former councillor with 8 years’ service and I know what it takes to get council costs under control. Transparency and openness are cornerstones of a true democracy. I know full well that I represent the people and for that reason I am the servant of the people. I can only lead if I serve. I am accountable to the residents and ratepayers of Hamilton and I am part of Team Integrity.
The limited interaction that council has with the residents is probably the biggest void in terms of keeping the public informed. New technology must be embraced so that we can use better methods to communicate effectively with residents. The Smart Centre is a step in the right direction.
There are a number of simple low hanging fruit technology solutions that the council could implement which will make an immediate difference to people's lives such as Eftpos on buses; upgrading the Transit app making it more user-friendly. Eftpos facilities must be made available at the catering outlets at our stadiums.
Our computer systems used for budgeting must have built-in safeguards to prevent mishaps like with the DC miscalculation with the Peacocke development.
How to get more people interested and engaged in Council
I consistently hear residents complain that Council has ignored them. That may be a request, complaint, or plain frustration. I have had personal experience where I have lodged a complaint and have had no response from the particular department even though I have repeatedly refreshed the complaint. That is when people decide to give up on council. So the answer is easy, take our residents seriously, the bill payers, and act on their enquiries in a timely manner.