The newly elected executive team from Garden Route District Municipality. From left to right; speaker Georlene Wolmarans, mayor Memory Booysen and deputy mayor Gert van Niekerk. Picture: Herman Pieters - Garden Route District Municipality
The newly elected executive team from Garden Route District Municipality. From left to right; speaker Georlene Wolmarans, mayor Memory Booysen and deputy mayor Gert van Niekerk. Picture: Herman Pieters - Garden Route District Municipality

Garden Route District Municipality re-elects Memory Booysen as mayor

By Tshego Lepule Time of article published Nov 25, 2021

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THE Garden Route became the Western Cape’s first district municipality to constitute, which saw the DA’s Memory Booysen re-elected as mayor.

On Thursday afternoon the district municipality held its inaugural council meeting to swear in 35 councillors and elect a new executive.

Knysna’s former speaker and mayor, Georlene Wolmarans was elected speaker, Booysen re-elected as mayor and the Freedom Front Plus’ Gert van Niekerk was elected as the deputy mayor.

The DA with its 16 of the 35 seats, gained control of the municipality with the help of the FF+ and its two seats. The ANC got 11 seats while three other parties each got two seats, which included newcomers, the Good Party.

Of the seven local municipalities that fall under Garden Route, only two - Hessequa and Mossel Bay are outright controlled by the DA while the remaining George, Knysna, Oudtshoorn, Kannaland and Bitou are split between the ANC and DA through various coalition governments.

Booysen told Weekend Argus he was not fazed by the dynamics at local municipal level and will work to ensure better relations with the district.

“It is a privilege to be re-elected, this means we can continue working on the good foundation we laid over the previous years. This means we can see through a lot of the projects that are still on the pipeline to improve the district,” he said.

“Our approach in this administration is to enhance the partnership with local municipalities, to pool our resources - especially with the smaller municipalities which ended up with smaller budgets to ensure that projects and service delivery are carried out.

“Having been a coalition-mayor, I have some experience in navigating some of these challenges. The reality is the voters have spoken and it is up to political leaders to focus on the work.”

Booysen said his first task would be a damage assessment caused by heavy rains that led to severe flooding in parts of the district.

Floods saw roads damaged, schools and private and government-owned medical facilities closed as well as power outages.

“A lot of work will need to go into assessing damage to bulk infrastructure and assisting affected municipalities and the communities who bore the brunt of the storm,” he said.

Next Tuesday, the Central Karoo District Municipality is scheduled to meet where an ANC-led executive will be elected. This will be followed by West Coast, on December 2 and Overberg four days later. The date for Cape Winelands is yet to be finalised.

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