History was made at Keetmanshoop, which is the regional capital of the south, as for the first time ever its mayor and deputy mayor are both female.
At a swearing-in ceremony at the Keetmashoop local authority chambers last Friday, Gaudentia Willemse and Hilia Shatipamba, both from the ruling Swapo Party, were elected mayor and deputy mayor of the town, respectively.
The fully packed chamber erupted in joy, with cheers and ululations from the public, as the two stood up to accept their new responsibilities.
In her short acceptance speech as new mayor Willemse said she felt honoured and ready to accept the responsibility that comes with the office.
She urged the councillors to work as a team and pull in the same direction irrespective of their political affiliation and political manifesto.
“I want to publicly express my willingness to work together with all political parties represented in this council,” she stated.
Willemse stressed the need to work for the well-being of all the people of the town, saying this should be foremost on the council’s agenda.
She further called for effective and efficient municipal service delivery to all residents, urging her fellow councillors to be committed to battling difficulties that residents face.
She said the council’s leadership should be driven by the commitment to address issues of public concern such as improving the living conditions in the informal settlement through provision of water, electricity, sanitation, housing and job opportunities.
She said the municipality would redouble its efforts to improve the quality of interaction with the residents by all means possible.
She also emphasised that the management and entire staff would be held accountable for the quality of service they deliver to the community.
Former deputy mayor Gabriel Freyer was elected as the chairperson of the management committee, joined by Justine Louw and Ernst Jash – all from Swapo.