Separated at birth?
Behaviour echoing the actions of former Uruguayan president Jose “Pepe” Mujica – known as the “world’s most humble head of state” – was displayed by Knysna’s new mayor Mark Willemse this week when he returned the official municipal vehicle as a cost-cutting gesture.
The request by Willemse to return the rented mayoral vehicle and cancel the rental contract with immediate effect is reflected in the conduct of Mujica who was widely lauded for having handed 90% of his monthly salary to the needy, his austere lifestyle and in particular the knackered old Volkswagen beetle he used to drive himself to official meetings.
The rented mayoral vehicle in Knysna had been costing the administration R14 000 a month.
“I don’t need it,” Willemse told KPH on Monday 25 June after the announcement. “I can use my own car.”
Though this gesture by Willemse was met with some scepticism it elicited widespread, mainly positive reaction on the municipal website and social media platforms. Willemse makes no bones about transparency and fighting corruption and the community expressed hope that this gesture would be a portent for the future. – Eds
Knysna’s new mayor Mark Willemse.
Former Uruguayan president “Pepe” Mujica.