SELBY LENGOABALA, farewell Executive Mayor T.H.M Mofokeng – big sized shoes to fill.IN life, the beginning usually comes with the ending. In 2006, when we woke up to the news that our municipality will be led by one of the children of Bethlehem who had spent almost the whole of his young life in the struggle for freedom, democracy and prosperity for all, I knew that the lives of our people especially young ones will change for the better. Having worked under your leadership during the liberation struggle, I had no doubt that the municipality would be in good hands and that it would do everything within its capacity to put its residents first.Before 2006, the municipality was marred by poor financial management, poor financial accountability and close to non-existent project management capacity and high staff turnover. Your visionary and inclusive leadership brought stability and professionalism, which saw the municipality rolling out an unprecedented infrastructure development programme with specific focus on water and sanitation, electrification programmes for both urban, rural and farm areas, as well as roads infrastructure. That programme turned Dihlabeng into a perfect destination for investors such as Investec, which developed the biggest shopping mall in the region, which has created over 1 300 jobs, mainly for young people. The town also attracted many people from surrounding towns, who wanted a homely environment for their families. Under your stewardship, the municipality rolled out another mayoral bursary and graduate development programme to provide much-needed opportunities for the young people of our municipality, to become their own liberators from poverty and underdevelopment. The municipality forged many partnerships with various institutions, because you understood the power of working together. The municipality and its residents benefitted immensely from these partnerships. I know of young people who today are doctors, engineers, accountants and many other professionals, because of the partnership you forged with the Frontier Casino Community Development Trust, the University of the Free State, Wits University and the business sector. I’m sure that Mofokeng understood very well what Paulo Freire in his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed meant when he argued for education as an instrument of liberation. All these programmes were designed and implemented to benefit the people of Dihlabeng without compromising good financial management and accountability, norms and standards, which is why the municipality has improved its financial and non-financial reporting from disclaimer to qualified and four unqualified audit opinions. This is an indication that with visionary and capable leadership, any organization can prosper. For this, I want to express my gratitude to him.I want to take this moment to wish him well in his new adventure in life, for I know that wherever his party may see fit to deploy him, he will serve with great humility and selfless dedication.