Riverlea: Know your Councillor Ward 68

Basil Douglas.

Basil Douglas (57) is the Councillor for Ward 68, the areas in which he oversees are Crown Mines, Riverlea, Industria, Zamimpilo, Horseshoe, Pennyville phase 1, 2, and 4.

Douglas is originally from Noordgesig but found his early years in Riverlea.

He described his childhood as extreme poverty where he slept on newspaper, ate wild melons that grew from the sewer and had a single parent raising him and his six siblings.

Douglas’s father was arrested for car theft when he was in Grade 3 and after the arrest, the family had to move back to Noordgesig.

“We all educated through those challenges, extreme poverty, having only one pant to go to school, people would laugh at you and you get insulted but it made you strong, it made you grow another skin and it was something that formed part of the integration of my personality structure,” said Douglas.

He found interest in politics in the early 70’s when he met Steve Biko and Don Mattera at the stage when they started with the black conscious movement. He was about 12 years old when he read books, listened to radio Mozambique and was educated in everything related to politics.

He has two diplomas, one in teaching and the other in political warfare in which he did at a military academy in China.

Between the years 1995 and 1997 Douglas was the councillor in the Jabulani area, thereafter he went to parliament until 2004. Douglas has been the councillor for Ward 68 since 2015 and is currently serving his second term.

When it comes to Ward 68 Douglas admits that there are many issues that the ward is facing.

According to Douglas, the current ward issues are related to service delivery where they facing problems with City Power and City Parks. Unemployment, mine toxicants that leak into the water, crime, drugs, illegal dumping, and housing are also a major problem in Ward 68.

“I’m waiting for projects to come so that people can work,” said Douglas on the unemployment issue.

“We have a dedicated K9 unit so we looking to employing them to put them in real hot spots. I think our mothers must start arresting their children.

“The mothers always bail their sons out. Drugs are eating at the body politic of our society, its worms within the introits of the country’s body’s politic, it devours our society because it has different dimensions, cable theft, stolen bin, stolen washing on the line, it’s all drug related” said Douglas.

Douglas mentioned that he is worried about the youth but will not sit and do nothing, He is going to assist them.

Current projects in the ward are the extension of the pharmacy depot that will be service over 150 clinics, the pharmacy depot is currently taking place opposite Bravo Beds on Avon Street.

On the way to Industria, the project of the new PVC pipes placing is currently in full swing, where locals are employed. Putco will also be undergoing refurbishing project.

Zamimpilo will be getting tapes and French drains where the residents there can do their laundry.

They going to build a bridge coming from Joe Slovo into Ward 68, in partnership with Ward 69.

Another big project that the community can expect is the broadening of the M2 into Main Reef Road.

According to Douglas, there are more projects coming up, the only delay is the budget.

Douglas’s advice to the community is to learn how to tender, from your companies and get employment.

Residents can consult with Douglas in a one on one basis every Monday from 08:00 am until 13:00 pm at the Riverlea Recreational Centre. To contact Basil Douglas, email  basdo99@gmail.com or call on 076 225 0542.

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