Recently elected Ward 88 councillor David Hensman speaks out following social media criticism

Ward 88 councillor David Hensman has addressed residents on his communication methods and believes they are more than adequate.

Hensman has been facing criticism from residents in his ward.

They have lambasted him for his methods of communication and have taken the matter to platforms such as Facebook for all to see.

The matter was so serious that there was a post calling for the removal of the councillor on the closed Facebook group #Teamward88.

Hensman commented extensively on the matter which he doesn’t believe is as big of a problem as many would like to believe.

“There is a perception that there’s a communication problem; the question is, is it a reality?”

He said the perception is the result of a small group of residents wanting to communicate with him daily on social media when he has stipulated his methods of communication.

“There is an unfair perception that I’m not communicating.”

Hensman stated that he selected effective communication methods in order to assist residents in the best way he can.

He does acknowledge the criticism he has received from residents but firmly holds his position on avoiding social media as a primary means of communication.

He said, “I’m not going to engage in an emotional debate on Facebook, it’s not productive and I’m not going to do that.”

Hensman also questioned just how many residents are unhappy with him in his ward.  “We’ve got a voters’ roll of 16 000 voters, probably 20 per cent of them are on Facebook, and of those 20 per cent, probably five per cent of them ever comment on the Facebook page.”

This does not reflect that the majority of the ward is unhappy with him. Regardless of this he still advises residents on how to forward their issues with the community.

He has established his own Facebook page for the community (DA Ward 88) and he stated that community-related issues are being addressed on the page on a daily basis.

He also sends out a newsletter via email and encourages residents to email him with their problems so that he has formal requests and complaints that he can attend to.

Hensman is reminding residents that ward councillors are there to help forward issues to the City and not solve them themselves.

He advises residents to first contact the relevant department that attends to a resident’s issue, such as City Power, City Parks or Joburg Water.

Once a reasonable amount of time has passed and the matter has not been attended to, they can then forward the issue to him.

He will then escalate it through channels made available to ward councillors.

ALSO READ: City states that residents cannot directly remove a ward councillor

  AUTHOR
Andile Dlodlo

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