Cape Town - Patriotic Alliance president Gayton McKenzie, who was on Monday elected as the new mayor of the Central Karoo District Municipality, has urged municipal employees to reject manipulation by politicians in an effort to stem corruption.
McKenzie promised the next three months would see him make widespread changes to the towns of Beaufort West, Laingsburg and Prince Albert.
He promised to shield council employees from bullying by politicians and said the time when council officials lived in fear of offending politicians was over and that he would not listen to people, even from his own party, who came to gossip and bad mouth officials.
“You are here to work. You were not deployed here. I want to assure the officials that no person in this administration must give you a corrupt instruction. If they do, you must say ‘no, I will not sign off on that’. I come from jail, and you do not want to go there.”
The Central Karoo District Municipality is situated within the Karoo, with its base in Beaufort West. Central Karoo is the largest district in the province, making up a third of its geographical area. It comprises three local municipalities: Laingsburg, Prince Albert and Beaufort West.
Last November, Beaufort West’s former mayor Quinton Louw (ANC) and speaker Noel Constable (Karoo Democratic Force, KDF), were among four people who appeared at the Beaufort West Magistrate’s Court facing tender fraud charges.
On Monday, McKenzie thanked both men, who are now his coalition partners, for their support.
McKenzie said that though there were people who hoped the coalition would fail, he was confident it would last the full five-year term.
“If there are differences between myself and Louw or Constable, we will sort them out between ourselves. This is the coalition that everyone should learn from.”
Meanwhile, the DA, which is the main opposition in the municipality, has reacted to McKenzie’s election by cautioning voters in the municipality.
DA provincial leader Tertuis Simmers said: “As the DA Western Cape, we believe the voters of Laingsburg and the Central Karoo District Municipal area should observe what has transpired over the last period and ask themselves if they are welcoming these new developments in their district.”
Local Government Standing Committee chairperson Lorraine Botha (DA) said she had noted the election and hoped McKenzie would put the residents of the Central Karoo first and ensure service delivery in the municipality was effective and efficient and that clean governance would be prioritised.
Botha said: “I also hope the mayor will keep to his promise and govern in the interest of all residents.”
GOOD Party secretary-general Brett Herron said McKenzie’s election was surprising since he had no connection to the district.