The Community of Laudium, Erasmia and Itireleng (ward 61) are still in shock and disappointment, after learning that their dedicated Ward Councillor, Mahomed Farouk Essop, has not availed himself for another term of office in Council. The current term of office expires on the day the local elections are called, which will be held on November 1, 2021.

‘Farouky’ as the Councillor is affectionately known as, has unselfishly served the entire community, across all religions, races and statuses, with diligence, integrity and sincerity. Known for his humility, Essop who is actually an Alderman in the Council, still prefers that his peers address him as Councillor or just Essop or even merely ‘Farouky’. Having served three consecutive terms in council, (15 years), the dedicated Councillor refused to accept a nomination from the ANC branch for another term, despite pleas from fellow ANC members in the branch and even in higher circles, for him to make himself available for another term. ANC members then tried to persuade Farouky to stand as a PR Councillor (Proportionate Councillor), but he also refused that position. The Laudium Sun understands that a number of religious leaders and NGO’s also requested Farouky to make himself available for this forthcoming elections, but he politely refused. It is believed that some members and supporters of the local ANC, after exhausting their persuasion with Farouky, then approached a number of long standing members, including Ismail Essa (Smiley) and Unoos Ebrahim (Prof), who also declined to be nominated. ANC Youth League exco member, Mishkah Abdool Sattar, together with Naeem Patel were then finally nominated by the branch as ward candidates, from the Laudium/ Erasmia area and another two candidates were nominated from the Itireleng area. However, Mishkah since withdrew her nomination, to make way for Naeem. The ANC region has since endorsed Naeem’s nomination as candidate for ward 61.

Farouky told the Laudium Sun, “I have served the community for three terms (15 years) to the best of my ability and as such, I believe that the time has now come for me to give way for ward 61 to be served by a new Councillor. Many people, including ANC members, have approached me, to reconsider standing for another term as ward Councillor. I am most humbled by their good intentions and their confidence in me, but I regretfully have to decline. Being a Councillor is definitely not a 9 to 5 job and it has also taken much strain on my family and myself. I’m glad that Naeem has accepted the nomination, and he has my full support and guidance.”

Manzoor Alimia, the Principal at CIS said, “Although I am very shocked to learn that Farouk Essop will not be standing again as Councillor, I however respect his decision. He is truly a people’s person. Call him day or night for assistance and he will be there. He was never afraid to tackle any problem, no matter how big or small. To him everyone is equal and he does not discriminate against anyone. He is reliable and honest in his dealings with people. He is always ready to assist with any matter affecting the community. I must thank him for the many sacrifices he made in ensuring that his community benefited from his efforts.”

Maruli Padayachy. Deputy Principal of Laudium Primary School, said, “Councillor Essop has always been available to assist our school when needed. We have been beneficiaries of a few Tshwane projects (sanitisers and water bottles) and have an amicable working relationship with him. We are very disappointed to learn that he has not made himself available to stand again for the position. I am sure he has his reasons which we have to respect.”

Pastor Kevin Naicker, of Bethesda Revival Church said, “We are very sad to learn that Cllr Essop has not made himself available to stand again as Councillor for our area, however we respect his wishes. We commend his total commitment and sacrifice in serving our community. Public office is never easy. We at Bethesda Revival Church enjoyed a cordial relationship with Cllr Essop. We found him to be easy and accessible in working together with all groupings within our communities. In times of disasters and other community issues, Cllr Essop was always available.”