Bouw-Spies appointed GRDM Speaker
Ward 5 councillor and former mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies was inaugurated as councillor of the Garden Route District Council on Thursday 13 December, during a special council meeting. Soon afterwards, she was also elected as Speaker of the district municipality.
The Speaker position became vacant after Mark Willemse resigned on 11 June this year – shortly after he was elected mayor of Knysna.
During the absence of the permanent speaker, Barend Groenewald acted as Speaker and served for a period of seven months. The appointment of Bouw-Spies was met with loud cheers of approval as well as surprise by the community of Knysna who on social media questioned whether it was legal for two members of one family to serve on the same council. Bouw-Spies' husband Rowan also serves on the council for the DA.
Another issue the community pondered was why the DA would appoint someone in that position who was implicated in fraud, according to a 17-page report compiled by De Swardt Vogel Myambo Attorneys and submitted to Knysna council earlier this year.
DA East Region secretary Tertuis Simmers, however, said that nothing in the country's constitution or any municipal legislation prevents two family members from serving in the same council, but rather DA regulations. He said that according to the regulations, the relevant executive may apply to obtain permission to allows this.
"The Federal Candidates' Election Committee (the FCEC) gave their permission as per the regulations,” he said.
And with regards to the allegations against Bouw-Spies, Simmers said: "Innocent until proven otherwise is applicable.
“Councillor Bouw-Spies denies any wrongdoing, there is an ongoing investigation which must be respected.
Whatever the result of that investigation, serious actions will be taken if it is necessitated."