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George Municipality bids farewell to respected Councillor Erasmus de Villiers

Sep 4, 2018
George Municipality bids farewell to respected Councillor Erasmus de Villiers

The George Municipality Council bid farewell to Erasmus (Rassie) de Villiers, Human Resources portfolio councillor and Ward 3 councillor, on Friday, which was his last day in office.

Mr De Villiers, aged 71, has served on council since 2011, first as part time ward councillor, and as portfolio councillor since 2013 – initially as portfolio councillor of environmental services and sport, and since 2016 as portfolio councillor electrotechnical (for six months) and human resources, the latter his area of expertise.

Before his retirement in 2005, Mr De Villiers had a career in human resources and organisational development in local government and large corporate companies in Gauteng, and moved to the Garden Route to manage organisational development for PetroSA in the 1990s.

“I got involved in local politics because I understood the local government environment and thought I still had a contribution to make to my local community. Being a councillor was rewarding in many ways, but also frustrating – usually when red tape and unnecessary politicking got in the way of service delivery.

“The seven years on George Municipality council was a season that is now over for me. I am proud to have played a role in staff and organisational development in the municipal human resources department, but disappointed that I could not fulfil all the goals and dreams I had for my ward and the city. However, I am relieved that I can now spend more time with my children and grandchildren, and possibly even consider moving to be closer to them.

“When my wife, Loraine, died of cancer in 2015, it was my duties to my ward that kept me here and it was the right thing for me at the time to stay, but we are a close-knit family and I would like to discuss our options with my kids when they come down for Christmas at the end of the year. In the meantime, I am going to play bowls and golf and enjoy life for what it is,” said Mr De Villiers.

Speaking at a breakfast in his honour on Friday, George Executive Mayor Melvin Naik said Mr De Villiers had been a mentor for many councillors and municipal staff and had earned respect, even under pressure and in heated debates and disagreements. “Oom Rassie was very passionate about his ward and whoever has to follow in his footsteps will have big shoes to fill. We thank you for your dedication, commitment, discipline, integrity, friendly demeanour and steadfastness, and wish you many years of health, blessings and good times with your family and friends - you deserve it,” said Mr Naik.

The mayor’s sentiments were echoed by opposition parties, who were all represented at the function, and thanked him for sharing his knowledge and experience.

Mr De Villiers thanked councillors and support staff for their ongoing commitment and hard work. “Being a councillor is not just about looking out for your own ward, but for working together for the good of the entire George municipal area. I thank my former party members and the opposition for their contributions – we may not have always agreed but it was good to have worked with those who understood and took responsibility for serving all the city’s people.”

George Municipal Manager Trevor Botha thanked Mr De Villiers for his service to George. “You have garnered respect from all parties and people and George has been privileged to benefit from your knowledge and experience. We wish you well for the future.”

The by-election to fill Mr De Villiers’ seat in Ward 3 is expected to take place towards the end of October 2018.

Caption: George Municipality Executive Mayor, Melvin Naik (left) handed over parting gifts and a certificate of appreciation to outgoing councillor Rassie de Villiers on his last day in office on Friday (31 August 2018).