Zille scoops World's Best Mayor Award

2008-10-14 00:00

Cape Town — “I put the right people in the right places.” These were the words of Cape Town mayor Helen Zille yesterday when asked for her secret in being voted the world’s best mayor.

“My key skill is choosing the right people for the right job. And once they are appointed, I let them get on with it. I don’t micro-manage,” Zille said in an interview.

Zille, who is also leader of the DA, was selected from 820 mayors around the world as the world’s number-one mayor in a competition run by global local government think-tank city mayors.

She has had to contend with an aborted attempt by the provincial government to downgrade her office as well as an attempted coalition coup since her election in March 2006, and said she feels vindicated after being chosen.

“This means I am doing something right,” she said.

Zille paid tribute to the staff in the “wonderful mayor’s office” as well as to her parliamentary staff. I also chose an excellent husband and two sons who support everything I do,” she said.

Asked how she has made life better for the people of Cape Town, she said: ‘I believe we make progress on a whole range of areas, from vagrancy to transport, to preparations for 2010… every day.”

She said she is also a stickler for stringent time management.

Zille started out as political correspondent for the Rand Daily Mail, South Africa’s leading liberal newspaper during apartheid.

She became famous for exposing the circumstances behind Steve Biko’s death in 1977.

Before she became mayor, Zille was elected a member of the Western Cape provincial legislature in 1999, serving as MEC for education until 2001 and then as leader of the DA.

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