Cape Town - The DA’s Geordin Hill-Lewis, 34, has officially taken office as Cape Town’s youngest mayor since 1994.
Hill-Lewis was elected during the City of Cape Town’s first council meeting following the November 1 local government elections.
In the election for mayor he won 141 votes, beating opponents councillor Noluthando Makasi from the ANC, who got 46 votes, and councillor Jack Miller from the Cape Independence party, who received two votes.
Hill-Lewis has not arrived in the post empty handed; during his inaugural speech he said: “The first major commitment of this administration is to increase our allocation to free basic services by over R600 million in the next financial year.
“This constitutes a 20% increase in our city’s investment in the free basic services that vulnerable residents rely on the most. It will increase the total amount spent by the City every year on free basic services for the poorest residents, from R3.1 billion to R3.7 bn.”
Thanking his immediate predecessor, Dan Plato, Hill-Lewis said: “All that we may achieve will only be possible because we build on the work of those who have gone before.”
The new mayor intends to hit the ground running and will today inspect sewage problems in Khayelitsha and Phoenix, where he will be joined by city officials and community members.
Before his nomination as the mayoral candidate, Hill-Lewis was the DA’s finance spokesperson, a post he held since June 2019, after current Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC David Maynier moved to the legislature.
First appointed to Parliament in August 2011, Hill-Lewis attended Edgemead High School and holds a BCom and an Honours degree in politics, philosophy and economics from UCT. He obtained a Master’s in economic policy at the University of London.
The municipality held its first council meeting for the newly-elected councillors on Thursday, where proceedings were initially steered by City of Cape Town municipal manager Lungelo Mbandazayo, who vacated the presiding officer role after the re-election of councillor Felicity Purchase as Speaker.
Purchase beat councillor Xolani Sotashe (ANC) and councillor Grant Haskin (ACDP), who were also nominated.
After Purchase’s election was ratified, the councillors elected the new mayor and his deputy, the former WP and Springbok rugby star, Councillor Eddie Andrews (DA).
Andrews received 138 votes from the 196 votes cast in the race between him and Petronella Heynes (ANC), who got 49 votes.
Andrews, who represents Ward 73 Diep River and Meadowridge as councillor, previously served as chairperson of the City’s Spatial Planning Environment portfolio committee.
Before moving his political base to Ward 73 at the last election, Andrews had been councillor for Ward 78 (now 81), Mitchells Plain, where he was born.
Congratulating Hill-Lewis on his election, Sotashe quoted the Freedom Charter and the Constitution and told him he could rest assured of ANC support as long as he stayed faithful to the ideals contained in both.
“However, if you begin to be arrogant and dismissive, then you must know that you will be declaring war,” said Sotashe.
GOOD Party City of Cape Town caucus member Suzette Little said: “We undertake to work with the mayor in support of policies and programmes that align with our values, including our values on human integration, and to oppose those that remain entrenched in injustice, inequality and division.”
DA party leader John Steenhuisen said: “The party has full confidence in mayor Hill-Lewis to lead the City and to continue to implement the DA’s mandate of clean and efficient governance and service delivery.”
Speaking afterwards, pressure group Stop CoCT founder Sandra Dickson said: “The genuine intent to implement these promises will be tested by the new mayor's choice of mayoral council members next week.