Meet ERA’s new chairperson
Ayanda Mjekula, an Emmarentia resident since 1992, is ERA’s new chairperson. His kids were schooled at Emmarentia Primary and Greenside High.
Since moving to the area to take up the post of director of Nedbank in Main Street, he has never hesitated to pay his annual ERA membership fee. He was never too sure ‘what [ERA] was doing, I was working full-time [then].’ It was his ‘civic-mindedness’ that led him to pay.
Hailing from the Eastern Cape, rugby has been in his blood since he was young. His activism was nurtured in the struggle for non-racial sport. His political activism was later to get him expelled from Fort Hare university in the 1970s.
Despite this setback, he managed to finish his studies and find employment with Ford motor company in Port Elizabeth. With an MBA from the US he returned to SA in 1984 and was employed by the Permanent Building Society which began his life-time career in the banking industry.
Making a difference
No longer working full-time, the activist in him volunteered his services to ERA Exco in 2018 because he believes he ‘can make a difference’.
‘Knowing your neighbour’ he says is the key to community safety. This goes beyond seeing your neighbour over the wall. The test for him is whether you can recognise them at the local shops as well.
‘We must be more circumspect about the choices we make to secure our safety,’ he adds. ‘We must consider all options before deciding on any one measure that may not always be effective.’
ERA too has a responsibility. It ‘can’t be sleepy and unrecognisable’. It’s got to ‘be visible’ he says. [ERA] ‘must be famous amongst other things for [its] responsiveness, the ability to take up people’s issues—even if you don’t solve them, but get involved, and stop where you believe only the council can resolve, and even there, make the council accountable. Then you actually are fulfilling your mandate. To be wishy-washy and reactive is not helping anybody and in fact it discredits the association itself.’
ERA is currently re-assessing how it does things. It is studying how other residents associations operate to see how we can improve.
We welcome any suggestions you have. And we’re still looking for volunteers, including a secretary to take minutes and prepare meeting agendas.
E-mail any ideas/suggestions/offers of help to firstname.lastname@example.org or post to ERA, PO Box 84582 Greenside 2034