She turned the tables on a gangster who threatened to take her out. She uses money from her own pocket to cook up three-course meals for impoverished school kids and finds shelter for the elderly who sleep outside.
Nothing Patriotic Alliance candidate for Ocean View, Bridgette Truter, does is ‘regular’. She even adds a comical element to her campaigning in a garishly-green wig to match her party’s colours. “It’s how to get to ground level with people”, she explains.
The Patriotic Alliance is a voice for Coloured peoples’ concerns.
But perhaps Truter’s most endearing, unusual and trustworthy quality is the fact that she’s honest to the core. Even about the most painfully-personal of issues.
Openly the 55 year-old states she has a drug-addicted son and ‘has nothing to hide’.
“People will know I have first-hand experience and can feel it with them”.
While humour and honesty may be her campaign strategy by default,
Being nominated as candidate for Ward61/Ocean View came as a surprise to Truter. “ I don’t promise my constituency anything, but when I’m speaking at council I will speak for them,” said the victim of forced removals in Noordhoek in the 1960’s.
As an ex police reservist of many years, a gangster recently threatened to take her out. Unlike the majority of her community, Truter was hardly intimidated: “Look in my face”, she said to him. “If you want to take me out don’t do it behind my back”.
Says Truter of the exchange: “They say a dog gets its day. This pig got its weekend”. The gangster landed up behind bars for five days.
Like many similar communities, Truter said being a candidate in the largely-unemployed, gangster and drug-infested Ocean View is an opportunity to uplift it. Also a member of the Community Police Forum, she believes ‘standing together can make a positive change’.
A Grade 3 teacher at Kleinberg Primary school, her ‘children’s’ well-being means everything to her. She takes money from her own pocket annually at Christmas to cook up a three-course meal, provides gifts and a party pack for each of them.
As coach of Kleinberg Primary volley ball team, she also bought a brand new R200 000 Kia truck to cart them around in. Her efforts clearly pay off as the team will represent the Western Province at inter-provincial volleyball for under 15’s in Durban this month.
“We are the poorest of the poor, struggling with dysfunctional homes and this is a big achievement for parents to see their kids moving up in life”.
Ex chairperson of the Community Committee for Peace (CCP), Truter also has a weak spot for all people living in dire circumstances. Such as an elderly lady opposite her.
“She slept under the stars on a foam mattress with a piece of plastic over her every night. We found poles, planks, sheets and got a donated wendy house. S he’s warm now”.
With her huge heart and humanitarian purpose, the popular Truter’s car sticker summarises it all: ‘My pride and joy is Ocean View’.
[This piece first appeared in the Daily Voice in July 2016]