Spirits high in Knysna council chambers as new guard is sworn in

Report by: Words & photos: Candice Ludick

THE inaugural meeting of the newly-appointed Knysna Council was held on Monday August 15, the council chambers packed to capacity with supporters across the political spectrum. Spirits were high, with much ululating and chanting as officials were sworn in.

Municipal Manager Grant Easton officiated the proceedings and reminded councillors and supporters that the newly-elected public representatives were tasked with setting direction and making decisions that would have far-reaching implications for the town over the next five years.

He offered his support as well, as the backing of some 600-700 municipal staff, in achieving their objectives.

During the Local Government Elections held on August 3, the Democratic Alliance (DA) won six of the 11 wards in the Greater Knysna area, equating to 10 of the 21 available seats in Council.

Cope holds one seat, as does the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), the Knysna Unity Congress (KUC), and Independent councillor Velile Waxa.

Waxa entered into a coalition agreement with the DA, making them the official ruling party in Knysna. He however assured everyone in attendance that at meetings concerning the welfare of his people he would act in their interests as an Independent.

Eleanore Bouw-Spies was elected as Executive Mayor, representing the DA. She held this same position nine years ago, when she was still a member of the ANC, after which she took a three-year sabbatical from politics to pursue various community development projects focused on sports development and education.

She addressed the ANC and said that the years she had spent as an ANC member and councillor had contributed to her becoming the leader she is today. She thanked the ANC for the opportunity and thanked the DA, whom she now represents, for their faith in her.

Former Knysna mayor Georlene Wolmarans was elected as Speaker, and DA Ward 10 councillor Peter Myers was elected deputy mayor.

According to a press statement by Knysna Municipality, the DA will now implement their manifesto in governing Knysna on the following five pillars: the opportunity town, the safe town, the caring town, the inclusive town, and the well-run town.

Municipal ward councillors are: Levael Davis (DA Ward 1), Cathy Weideman (DA Ward 2), Mncendisi Skosana (ANC Ward 3), Velile Waxa (Independent Ward 4), Eleanore Bouw-Spies (DA Ward 5), Elrick van Aswegen (Cope Ward 6), Mandla Matiwani (ANC Ward 7), Victor Molosi (ANC Ward 8), Mark Willemse (DA Ward 9), Peter Myers (DA Ward 10), and Donovan Pofadder (DA Ward 11).

Proportional representation (PR) councillors are: Georlene Wolmarans (DA), Luzuko Tyokolo (DA), Martin Young (DA), Sbusisu Kwinina (DA), Ndoda Aubrey Tsengwa (ANC), Titi Elizabeth Gombo (ANC), Claudine Denise Croutz (ANC), Millicent Ntombise Naki (ANC), Shakespeare Arends (ACDP), and Welcome Salaze (KUC).

The mayoral committee consists of Myers, Waxa, Levael Davis, and Cathy Weideman.

The sub-committees chairpersons are: Finance, Governance and Economic Development - Peter Myers, Planning and Integrated Human Settlements - Velile Waxa, Technical Services - Levael Davis, and Community Services - Cathy Weideman.