Above: Stellenbosch’s Town Hall. Photo: Stellenbosch Muncipality.

– Lia Snijman

On Monday 2 November, councillor Wilhelmina Petersen was elected as the new speaker of the council during an urgent municipal council meeting following the former speaker, councillor Nyaniso Jindela, resigning on 31 October. Jindela was elected as the new deputy mayor.

As reported previously, Jindela did not give any reasons for his resignation and we were unable to contact him.

Petersen was previously serving as the deputy mayor. She resigned from this position to take on the role of speaker. Before Jindela had been the speaker, Petersen had fulfilled this role. She was the only nomination received. She was nominated by councillors Paul Biscombe and Rikus Badenhorst.

Petersen stressed that she will enforce discipline and mutual respect in her new term.

Jindela thanked the leadership of the town for helping him normalise his life when his life was in danger last year and his house had to be patrolled.

The Municipal Manager, Geraldine Mettler, said a new deputy mayor had to be elected as the vacancy was created by Petersen resigning. There were some objections from the floor about this as it was not a normal meeting. However, Mettler and Director Annalene de Beer said there are no legal obstacles for electing the new deputy mayor at that meeting.

Jindela was the only person nominated and was nominated by councillors Biscombe and Esther Groenewald. Jindela asked Mayor Gesie van Deventer if he could be the Mayoral Committee member for Human Settlements and she agreed to his request.

Van Deventer said to StellenboschNews.com, “Councillor Petersen indicated to the Mayor that she would like to return to the Speaker’s Chair. Today, in open council, Councillor Jindela also declared his satisfaction with resigning as Speaker and taking up the position of Deputy Executive Mayor.”

“I have an excellent relationship with both councillors and thank Councillor Petersen for her unwavering support as Deputy Executive Mayor over the past 12 months. I look forward to welcoming back Councillor Jindela as newly elected Deputy Executive Mayor. We have worked together for many years and he is keen on taking on the Housing Portfolio again. I thank him for his extraordinary work as Speaker of Council,” she said.

She congratulated both the councillors and thanked them for their continuous work in the improvement of people in Stellenbosch’s lives.