Sinethemba Matiwane

Ward councillor

Sinethemba Matiwane lives by the saying “umtu ungumtu ngabantu” (I am because we are). He believes working in the public sector has ignited in him a passion to serve others and, importantly, help restore people’s dignity.

Born in the Eastern Cape where he was raised by his grandmother, Matiwane matriculated and moved to Cape Town to live with his mother for 10 years before moving to Gauteng. Passionate about his role as DA ward councillor for Ward 73 of the Ekurhuleni Municipality, 31-year-old Matiwane is determined to make a real difference for residents.

Empowered by South Africa’s Constitution and UN General Assembly Resolution 64/292, which both state that everyone has the right to water and sanitation, his first achievement in his role was to provide running water to the informal settlement of Msholozi in Benoni. This was swiftly followed by seeing to the provision of 106 chemical toilets in the area, replacing the appalling pit toilets that had been hand-dug by the community.

“The greatest challenge I have as a ward councillor is trying to satisfy the expectations of residents using the limited budget we are given. The needs out there are great: houses, roads, clinics and parks, and it is particularly challenging when people read in the media about politicians and officials misusing funds,” says Matiwane. “Politics is a calling, of which serving the people is the highest. My motto in life is to serve the people.”

— Linda Doke

Twitter: @Mjekwane