Former ANC mayor of Stellenbosch Willie Ortell, who has been described as a "perfect gentleman" has died, the ANC in the Western Cape said. File picture

Cape Town - Former African National Congress mayor of Stellenbosch Willie Ortell, who has been described as a "perfect gentleman" and also praised for respecting young and old as well as rich and poor, has died, the ANC in the Western Cape said on Sunday.

Paying tribute to Ortell, who died on Friday, former Stellenbosch municipal manager Bruce Kannemeyer said he had been "a true comrade and gentleman".

“The news of his passing came as a bit of a shock, especially since I have not made time to pay my respects to this gentle giant over my couple of visits to the Cape,” Kannemeyer said in the statement.

He would never forget Ortell’s closeness and fatherly support during his deepest "challenges and failures". “I will surely miss him, as I am convinced that the organisation and the municipality have missed him over the last number of years,” Kannemeyer said.

ANC Western Cape secretary Faiez Jacobs said, “We are sad at the passing of one of Stellenbosch and the Western Cape’s most outstanding politicians and want to extend our condolences to his family.”

Ortell, who would have been 90 in October, was mayor of Stellenbosch from October 2002 until March 2006. He is survived by his wife Millie and four children, the ANC statement said.

African News Agency (ANA)