PODCAST | Ballot Box: What does it take to be a good mayor? We ask Midvaal’s Bongani Baloyi

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In this week's episode, of the Ballot Box Qaanitah Hunter sits down with Midvaal's Bongani Baloyi, the youngest person to become mayor in South Africa at just 26.
In this week's episode, of the Ballot Box Qaanitah Hunter sits down with Midvaal's Bongani Baloyi, the youngest person to become mayor in South Africa at just 26.
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  • South Africans will be heading to the polls on 1 November to vote for their favoured mayor or councillor.
  • Join News24 political editor Qaanitah Hunter in this brand new podcast as she helps you separate the wheat from the chaff in the local government elections.
  • In this week's episode, she sits down with Midvaal's Bongani Baloyi, the youngest person to become mayor in South Africa at just 26.

With the local government elections looming, various South African municipalities are seeking to improve on the services delivered to their surrounding communities.

Even with progressive strides made in the last 27 years, most of them are stained by their inability to provide essential services.

It has become common to find areas without electricity, water or basic sanitary resources.

However, at least one municipality in the country has proved to its constituents it is possible to serve its people through capable leadership. 

The Midvaal Local Municipality in Meyerton, Gauteng, is one of the country's top-performing municipalities.

It is run by outgoing mayor Bongani Baloyi from the DA who became the youngest person to take over an executive mayor position in South Africa at just 26 years old.

He has been dubbed the Alex Ferguson of local government. 

OPINION | Bongani Baloyi: Only the youth can change the course of our country

Since his tenure in 2013, Baloyi received seven consecutive clean audits, meaning the Auditor-General has found no material misstatements nor misrepresentations in the municipality's financial records.

Under Baloyi's leadership, it went from being the 16th best-performing municipality in 2013 to the fifth best in the national rankings. 

The 34-year-old spent a majority of his twenties being a mayor on which the residents of Midvaal could rely.

News24 political editor Qaanitah Hunter spoke to him candidly in the first installment of the Ballot Box, a limited series of podcasts in the lead-up to the local government elections, to find out what it takes to be a good mayor.

Baloyi told News24:

You need to have an environment that enables delivery of services, and the bedrock for that is solid and clean governance to be able to produce results which are predictable and have year-on-year improvement.

So what is his secret?

It is simple, being of service to his community and country and taking pride in his work.

"I take a lot of pride in what I do, so does my team, and it is part of our institutional culture. It baffles me how, as a mayor, you could drive from one point to another in your municipality and see all these things going wrong and you do nothing about it … for me I think, there's an issue of lack of pride and love of what we do," said Baloyi.

After eight years as mayor, he added he would not run for another term.

It is unclear if he will still be involved in governance, stating he will decide on his future once his term comes to an end.

Subscribe to our newsletter The Ballot Box for even more information on the upcoming local government elections.

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