The former mayor of the Bitou Municipality, Memory Booysen, who is widely seen as the DA’s poster boy for good governance in the Southern Cape, is making a comeback as mayor, despite the party losing control of Bitou council to an ANC-led coalition after the August 3 polls.
Booysen has been elected as the new mayor of the Eden District Municipality and will officially be sworn in today.
Booysen, who recently found himself at the centre of a job-for-sex scandal after a steamy WhatsApp exchange allegedly between him and a local woman seeking a job was widely circulated, told a media briefing he was geared up for the challenges the bigger district council may bring.
While conceding he was sad to see Bitou fall into the ANC’s hands, Booysen said he was more concerned about all their hard work being destroyed in the municipality.
“I am very worried that what we’ve built in Bitou – the signs are already there that the guys will erode our successes.”
He said an example of this was that there were already three mayoral cars in the Bitou municipality.
Asked if the so-called job-for sex-scandal played a role in the DA’s election performance in Bitou, Booysen said heput the matter to bed, but believed the story had no impact on the DA’s numbers during the elections.
“The numbers would have dropped, but our numbers did not drop in Bitou. People could see straight through it, that was a political ploy,” he added.
Booysen stressed while there was an investigation, he would weigh his options on whether to legally pursue the matter, adding he had no part in the saucy text exchange, which originated from his number.
Regarding internal strife among DA members in the run-up to the election, Booysen said he was aware of the challenges and vowed to tackle factionalism.
DA Western Cape deputy leader, Bonginkosi Madikizela, said the other successful DA district mayors are Harold Cleophas who was handed a second term in office as mayor of the West Coast District; Elena von Schlicht who will take over the reins as mayor of the Cape Winelands District Municipality, and Franken Erwee who was sworn in yesterday as mayor of the Overberg District Municipality.
First-time mayor, Von Schlicht said the Cape Winelands municipality faced several real challenges, but added that unemployment, road infrastructure and sports and tourism would be her priority areas.
Cleophas said he was lucky to have a second term so that he could tackle issues that were not addressed during his first term.
“Roads infrastructure, jobs and the ongoing drought plaguing the region”, will get special focus this time around.
Cleophas and Von Schlicht will be sworn in during their respective council’s inaugural meetings tomorrow.
Noel Constable is the mayor of the Central Karoo District Municipality, which the DA governs in coalition with the Karoo Gemeenskap Inisiatief.
Madikizela stressed the DA was confident the mayors selected were the best candidates to take up office for the next five years.
“Their job is not only to support local municipalities in delivering services, but also to play a central role in regional development.”