Moving farewell for Mayor

2018-04-26 06:02
: DA leader Mmusi Maimane conveys his condolences to Van Lingen’s husband, Michael, and children Lawrence, Robin and Caroline.PHoto: SUPPLIED

: DA leader Mmusi Maimane conveys his condolences to Van Lingen’s husband, Michael, and children Lawrence, Robin and Caroline.PHoto: SUPPLIED

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MORE than 1 000 mourners gathered at Mentor’s Country Estate outside Jeffreys Bay on Monday to bid an emotional farewell to Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen.

Van Lingen passed away at her home in Cape St Francis on April 19, surrounded by family and loved ones. She had been diagnosed with cancer in 2009.

Among the dignitaries at the service was DA leader Mmusi Maimane, who described Kouga’s late Mayor as “inspirational and impactful”.

“She had a strong sense of duty and showed profound courage with a raging disease. Kouga has not just lost a Mayor, it has lost a mother and the DA has lost a shining star who knew what it meant to be a public servant.”

Kouga Municipal Manager Charl du Plessis delivered a heartfelt tribute to the late Mayor.

“Elza was a leader to the end. The 10 months I had the privilege of working with her, were the best months of my career.

He said Van Lingen had been renowned for her incredible work ethic.

“She was the first person at the office in the mornings. There were many mornings when I opened my e-mail, just to see e-mails from her, sent at 5am. Very few people could keep up with her pace.

“While her body was weakening, her spirit remained strong. Even while she was battling with her personal health, her spirit was focused on the Kouga Municipality and what we had to do to turn the municipality around.

“She wanted to live every day the Lord gave her to the fullest, and she did that till the end.”

“Even when the end was nearing, she was strong and clear what she wanted from those of us. Her words to me when she finally opened up to me about the approaching end, were: “Get over it and get on with the job at hand. There is a lot of work to be done. We owe it to the people of Kouga”.

The dynamic and passionate former Member of Parliament, Elza van Lingen was born and raised in Willowmore.

Contined on page 6

While working as a Public Relations Officer for KWV, she met and married a farmer, Michael, and together they ran a Merino stud in Middelburg. She was mother to Mick and Caroline and stepmother to Robin and Lawrence.

According to her family, she was a “serial entrepreneur and community leader”.

Her community work included starting a Hospice in Middelburg, she ran numerous development and training programmes upskilling hundreds of people and coordinated 120 sheep shearers in 12 teams to work throughout the region.

In 2000 she and her husband moved to Cape St Francis where they ran a guesthouse.

Two years later she was approached to join the DA team and was elected as a DA councillor to the then Cacadu District Municipality (Sarah Baartman District Municipality).

During the 2009 elections, she was elected by the DA to serve in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and was elected the leader of the DA in NCOP in 2011 and 2014.

She was also elected as leader of the Tsitsi-Kouga Constituency, which included Kouga, Koukamma and Baviaans.

Following the DA’s victory in Kouga in 2016, she was elected as Executive Mayor.


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