Get Involved…. stop moaning!
Swellendam Municipality is not perfect, but it’s better than most. I personally have a couple of ‘issues’ that bother me (waste management and tourism) and I know roads and the water situation in Railton have become boiling points for others. But…using Facebook / Social Media as a vehicle for expressing discontent / disgruntlement, while it can accelerate and bring to attention some of these issues – is it the best way to go about it?
Needling the officials with personal comments, taking photographs of them and posting them without context – I can see how this could be attractive as a bullying tactic to ‘score points’ or belittle the opposition. But, in the light of the fact that those officials will not / cannot respond on any other channels than the official Municipality Channels, it seems rather one sided. If you want answers, reasons, explanations then you are not going to find them there.
I have always believed in the power and ethics behind participatory democracy. Whether our current politicians from whatever party agree with it or not, they are legally bound to involve citizens in the Integrated Development Plan. And so there are meetings held – and everyone can attend them. (well, not everyone, as there are Covid number regulations ).
These meetings are citizens’ opportunities to listen, to comment, to ask for clarity, to voice opinions. It may get you nowhere as the plans will probably already have been discussed in Council and voted on – but it might make you feel better! As they say – knowledge is power. Don’t just sit behind your keyboard, or with your thumb on the phone, voicing an un-researched opinion. It is easy for those in power to ignore your commentary and dismiss you as just another trouble maker. And of course that might be what you are!
But if if you really care about the community, the infrastructure, crime, unemployment, drugs, and issues such as tourism and waste management – go to the meetings. Ask the questions. Get your answers – and if you don’t get satisfactory ones, then ask for further discussion and follow up meetings. Hear what they have to say – perhaps you have got yourself worked up about something that is being handled already. Perhaps not – and if not, then hopefully, by you raising the issue while surrounded by other concerned residents, you will get support from your peers.
It takes more courage to stand in public and express yourself than it does to place a couple of tweets and posts. But if you are passionate and ‘real’ about the concerns you have been raising on those platforms, then gather up that courage and go to one of the meetings.
And here are the dates: