After 11 years serving the City of Cape Town, Dave Bryant has stepped down as ward councillor to take up a seat in the National Assembly.
Mr Bryant has served as Ward 115 councillor since 2016, when the municipal demarcations changed, making way for the new ward.
His career in politics began in 2009 after he returned from the UK where he completed a brief internship in international campaigns.
“I was connected with people in the DA and helped to run a successful campaign for the City Bowl for the 2009 election. I was then invited to join the City of Cape Town as a support officer to Belinda Walker, a job I did for two years before standing as councillor for Ward 77 (CBD and surrounds) in 2011,” he said.
Mr Bryant served as the Ward 77 councillor from 2011 to 2016.
“Ward 115 was created in 2016 after the municipal demarcations changed. It has often been referred to as the ‘super ward’ due to the high levels of economic activity and the constituency it encompasses. The ward has eleven neighbourhoods stretching from Paarden Eiland to Three Anchor Bay and includes Woodstock, Salt River, the CBD, the Waterfront, Lower Gardens, De Waterkant, Green Point, Mouille Point and parts of District Six and the Bo-Kaap.”His ward had presented him with many challenges, he said.
“Although the role of a ward councillor is officially described as a part time job, for Ward 115 the role requires full-time dedication with a very high workload and a great deal of personal sacrifice. The main challenge has been dividing my time and attention between the eleven unique neighbourhoods and the various projects and balancing this with statutory council meetings, work on outside bodies and the chairing of my portfolio.”
Urban homelessness and rough sleeping had remained high on the agenda throughout both terms of office, he said, and were issues that could not be solved with a one-size-fits-all approach.
During his term, Cape Town was hit with the unprecedented drought crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Both of these have had a massive impact on the ward and it has been a huge task to mitigate and adapt to be able to continue to provide the high level of service that our communities expect,” said Mr Bryant.
Mr Bryant received the Speaker’s Award for the highest performing councillor in 2018.
“I’m proud to have been able to create three new parks and improve many aspects of our existing municipal infrastructure,” he said.
“I’ve driven the restoration of the Cape Town City Hall, the Adderley Street Fountain, the Trafalgar Swimming Pool and the Lightfoot Memorial, amongst others. Through constant pressure, we managed to tackle some of the most notorious problem buildings like Senator Park, San Remo and 81 Dorp Street and significantly reduce the crime rate in the CBD and surrounds through partnerships with CIDs and neighbourhood watches.”
Mr Bryant will now fill the vacancy left by MP Thandi Mpambo-Sibhukwana who passed away. The most significant change, he said, would be the move from government to opposition.
“South Africa is currently facing crises on multiple fronts, and my main responsibility as a regular member of parliament will be to hold the government to account.”
Mr Bryant said the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) would declare a date for a by-election where a new ward councillor would be elected. Meanwhile, the Sub-council 16 chairperson and officials would be available to assist with any City-related queries while the ward seat was vacant, he said.