Following the local government elections on 3 August, local ward councillor Kate Prinsloo was elected to serve her third term as ward councillor for Ward 56, an area that stretches from Colbyn to Brooklyn and includes the area of UP’s Hatfield campus.
A former UP student, councillor Prinsloo has an LLM in Child Law, as well as a BA (Hons) in Political Science and History. She is currently an Advocate of the High Court of South Africa, and has served a term on the provincial legislature. Perdeby spoke to councillor Prinsloo about her plans for the area.
What are your plans for service delivery in your term? How do you plan on maximising efficient service delivery?
Together with the university, the Hatfield City Improvement District (CID), and other role players, [we are] putting together a precinct plan, not only for the university hub but for the whole of Hatfield, which will involve a lot of strategic planning for how we want to see Hatfield, because we think it has a unique character. It’s time for some regeneration and there’s huge buy-in from everybody. What concerns me at the moment is the extent of the development of student housing. I’m not sure that there’s a market for it. [I’m] not sure that it’s affordable for the average student, considering the demographic of the university and also considering the general economic difficulties that people are facing. I want to see, as part of our redevelopment plan, [putting] in cycle paths and encouraging students to cycle and walk, rather than using their motor cars, but in order to do that you need a safe environment. You need proper pedestrianisation and [a] safe environment where you can walk at night and during the day and not feel scared. One of the first things we need to do is we need to have public transport from Sunnyside to Arcadia, to the east, to the university.
With sustainable living at the forefront, do you have any plans to incorporate the community or any outreach programs that you plan on implementing with sustainable outlooks?
We must get something in place for the people who live in flats, and I think businesses can buy in there. Business is very much part of our precinct plan development and it’s one of the issues that I am going to put on the table, as well as the cycling paths. I want three bridges over Jan Shoba, because a student is going [to be] killed there. The thing is, it’s expensive because I insisted that it should be accessible to the disabled and also to wheelchairs and to bicycles, because that’s how students cross the street – by bicycle. The university has agreed to build one on Lunnon Street and the developers are considering building one a bit lower down [the road], and that really will make a difference.
As a leader on the ground, how do you plan to engage with the residents of Ward 56 about their concerns and how do you plan on addressing these concerns?
I am very fortunate in that I have very strong residents’ associations in all the areas in Brooklyn [and] Muckleneuk. I have been a member of the residents’ association, Beaca (Brooklyn and Eastern Areas Citizens Association), for more than 30 years and they are very clued up. Then in Hatfield we’ve got the neighbourhood watch. [They’re] very organised too and work well with students; the students are very involved in the patrolling – they’ve been trained as patrollers. I’ve been trained in patrolling by the Brooklyn police station. And then [we have] the Hatfield CID [who] I work with closely, and then the Hatfield Business Association, so they are my eyes and my ears. I have a very good relationship with the university. It hasn’t always been that way, but they understand now that they actually can’t vote. You are the guys that vote, and you are the guys that are important
How can students get more involved in maintaining Hatfield?
In the area [around LC de Villiers the students] are actually very active in the neighbourhood watch. They ride [bicycles and] patrol at night, and they are the best. They’re the keenest. They are the quickest on the spot and that’s the type of thing that students can do. But I think the most important thing is just t o be vigilant – to watch out for yourself and to watch out for each other. I have got a good relationship with Tennessee’s. We’ve got an arrangement that they do not allow students to drink and drive. They take their keys and they Uber them and they have to come back the next day and get their keys back. So we try to watch out for them that way and that’s the most important thing – be vigilant, be careful, lock up and be careful of your lapto p, cellphone, and iPhones, because students are a target.
As a woman in a male dominated profession, what advice do you have for any young women striving for the same success?
I think it has a little bit to do with your personality. I am a born feminist and I am a born liberal, and we believe in the individ ual irrespective of race, colour, creed, political party, [or] sexual preference. So I think that is my grounding and I have seen that women can do anything and everything. They are reliable, multifunctional and effective. They talk less, they do more. They realise that a meeting is to organise work, not that a meeting is work, and that I learnt very early on when I was involved in th e NGO sector: women are amazing.
Councillor for Ward 56 Kate Prinsloo. Photo: Shen Scott