Gayton McKenzie resigns as Central Karoo District Mayor. Photo: Gayton McKenzie/ Facebook

“Karoo better off than I found it” – Gayton McKenzie tenders resignation letter

In his resignation letter, Gayton McKenzie said he found people using bucket toilets or the veld, now they have flushing toilets.


Gayton McKenzie resigns as Central Karoo District Mayor. Photo: Gayton McKenzie/ Facebook

Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie tendered his resignation as the Mayor of the Central Karoo District Municipality today, Tuesday, 2 May.


McKenzie wrote a lengthy letter to the Speaker announcing his departure as the number one resident of the Central Karoo District in the Western Cape.

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The letter dedicated to the Speaker read:

Dear Speaker
It is with a huge sense of pride that I hand in my resignation as the District Executive Mayor of the Central Karoo.
I am resigning because I stated at my inauguration that I would serve for only a year and the marking of that year has arrived today.
The most pertinent question every politician should answer at the end of their term is, are the people better off than I found them. I believe my answer is a resounding yes.


“I found people using bucket toilets for decades. Today, no one is using bucket toilets. People used the veld and today they are using flushing toilets.
I found six broken pools in a state of absolute disrepair. Anyone looking at the photos of those facilities was filled with a great sense of despair. Our children in those areas were not going to swim at the height of summer, but under my leadership five of those pools are working and the children swam and will swim again this year and in time to come.”


The letter continues:

I found residents in Leeu Gamka drinking dirty water from asbestos tanks contaminated by dead animals, which had been the case for decades, but today they have clean drinkable water out of a modern tank with taps installed in every yard.
These are among just my proudest achievements. I am also grateful for seeing opportunities here where others only saw decay and disuse. Today, the abandoned Transnet buildings are being used to boost the economy and create jobs through the manufacture of clothing, asphalt, aluminium infrastructure, a bakery, used oil recycling, panel-beating, engineering works and more. Being in business is never easy and these entrepreneurs will always face their own challenges but I am proud of my part in helping people to help themselves and their community. This can-do attitude is what we need throughout the country, which is why I am leaving the Karoo to focus on the much greater challenge before us all of fixing our beloved country.
On the administration side, I am particularly proud of how we showed a firm hand in dealing with administrators who did not put this municipality first. Today there is money in the bank and we have been paying R10 million a month towards our Eskom debt. The collection rate has improved from between 40 and 50% to more than 70%, and it continues to improve. Much more needs to be done, but there is a foundation to work from now.
Here in the Karoo, I have indeed not reached all the targets I set myself, hence I will be staying on as an ordinary volunteer to ensure we finish everything I promised the people.


I want to thank the staff, our coalition partners – the ANC & KDF – and the party I belong to, the Patriotic Alliance. I also want to thank the opposition for keeping us on our toes throughout.

Lastly and most importantly I want to thank my friends and all the volunteers who selflessly supported all the changes we brought here, hence I never had to use a cent from this municipality throughout my term. I took no salary and no perks whatsoever. I paid for my own bodyguards, travel and accommodation at all times. I donated my salary to the community.
All the bucket toilets, pools, water solutions and more were done using private money we fund-raised. It was a demonstration of how it is possible to achieve great things without needing the kinds of budgets that officials shamelessly ask for. One must just be efficient and not lose money towards corruption at every step of the way.
This is a lesson for all of us, and one I will certainly be taking away from this experience myself. I came here to gain public service experience in my journey towards being ready to govern. Even though the Central Karoo looks different today to the place I found, I did not expect to leave here as being even more changed than this stark and profoundly beautiful heartland of our country.
I came here to make the Karoo a better place, but in the process, I am most humbled to say, it was the Karoo that made me a better man.I want to wish the new mayor all the best and that her journey will be a hundredfold better than my own. May God bless the Central Karoo.

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