Councillor Annette Deppe talks about the ups and downs of being a ward councillor

Ward 132 councillor, Annette Deppe.

 

Due to the relocation of councillors during the previous municipal elections, Ward 132 councillor, Annette Deppe shares her experience as councillor for the ward.

Deppe served as councillor for Ward 93 for 10 years and according to her, over the last ten years, the ward grew from one ward to three wards.

“Being a councillor for the City of Joburg is much like any other job. You have to be service-driven and you have to share the City’s vision and inform residents how you plan to achieve that vision and tell them again and again and again. It is very important to let people know what you do, whether on social media, email, mailing system, local newspapers, radio and newsletters,” Deppe said.

She added that there are so many ways to communicate nowadays and positive messaging is a key component as community members tend not to buy into a vision if a councillor is negative.

“A creative message is likely to be remembered and can help build your brand. If you want support from your voters, your strategy must be to provide clear and concise bullet-point messages. For example, what does it mean for your voters and what do you want or need them to do.” Deppe explained.

She said voters like to know more and tend to help out with the oversight function if councillors give them something that they buy into.

“One of the common mistakes councillors can make is to do it all by themselves and be very busy in meetings, strategizing the implementation of the City’s vision, but not share what is done with the public. The public then hears about the task, the development and the service delivery at the end of the process and not at the beginning,” she said.

Deppe then added that this tends to make community members feel left out and excluded from the vision and plan of a councillor.

“The biggest lesson is to share your plans; be transparent and open; get the buy-in from your residents and have a great attitude. Do not make promises you cannot keep; do not take sides; give a balanced view; be a good listener and revert to your voters as soon as possible.”

She concluded that once that is implemented, it makes for happy voters, sustainable communities and all round inclusivity in an open opportunity society, which provides freedom and fairness for all.

“After all, you were elected by the voters to serve.”

What else do you think Ward 132 councillor, Annette Deppe should do? Tweet your views on the Fourways Review Facebook page.

  AUTHOR
Masego Seemela
Journalist

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