The Patriotic Alliance (PA) has elected a new mayor for the Beaufort West municipality in place of Ashley Sauls, who resigned on Monday with ambitions for premier.
Sauls, elected mayor of the town in February, will be running as a Western Cape premier candidate for the PA, the party said.
Beaufort West’s new mayor, PA ward 3 councillor Ebeneazer Botha, said he was honoured by the appointment and was ready to serve.
PA leader Gayton McKenzie congratulated Botha.
“I would like to congratulate you as the new mayor of Beaufort West. The road awaits you. Botha has stood with the PA. People have offered him things to betray us, but he has stood with us and we reward loyalty,” he said.
Botha said: “I grew up in Beaufort West so it is an absolute honour to be chosen as the town’s mayor. I am willing and ready to serve the residents of the town. I know that service delivery is number one on our list of challenges. I will need to pick up where the other mayors left off. They did a brilliant job by steering the municipality where it is now,” Botha said.
DA caucus leader in Beaufort West Schaun Meyers said this will be the third mayor for the municipality this year.
“Clearly, the PA is incapable of maintaining a stable local government in Beaufort West. It is crucial that we focus on the recovery plan and get Beaufort West back on track, but between replacing mayors every other month, and pipe dreams of creating a Dubai in the Karoo, and coming up with ridiculous ideas of changing the name of Beaufort West, the PA seems determined to completely ruin the municipality and leave residents without basic services,” he said.
Beaufort West community activist Brian Jooste said Botha must be ready to feel the heat the mayoral seat will bring.
“Botha is the ward councillor in ward 3 and has failed dismally to represent his voters in the ward,” he said.
Wouter Kriel, spokesperson for local government MEC Anton Bredell, said they had not received official notification of the new mayor.
“We are concerned about the instability and period of adjustment that comes with each new mayor. We (the Department of Local Government and Provincial Treasury) remain committed to the Financial Recovery Plan for Beaufort West municipality, which we believe is the best solution to the many challenges the municipality faces.”