I mentioned that dreaded word “RACE” earlier, four letters that are inescapable in South Africa. Ask yourself why Eleonor Bouw is running in a ward 20km away from her home? She lives in the very suburban coloured community of Hornlee whereas Ward 5 stretches from the rich white area of Brenton and Belvidere to the very poor countryside of Rheenendal.
An ANC politician who wishes to remain anonymous said to me that it’s because Eleonor “acts white”. Nastiness such as that is unfortunately unavoidable because impressions count. Certainly, out of all the ANC politicians in Knysna, Eleonor has been the most liked amongst “white” conversations I’ve had. And white people, especially rich white people, will, overwhelmingly, give their vote to the DA (no matter who is running or why). In the countryside, it will be a mixed bag. Magda Williams, the dead councillor, seemed well-liked amongst the women of her community but disturbing rumours of ANC hostility have emerged this year. Eleonor will be known to the community to some extent as she was in attendance during meetings and memorials after the tragic Rheenedal bus crash in 2011 (a matter the Western Cape government has dragged out, possibly to avoid their share of the blame for what happened).
Is there a bigger plan for Eleonor? Could she become Mayor again? I’ve previously stated that there are 2 camps in the Knysna DA and that Georlene Wolmarans, the current mayor, is unpopular amongst many. Georlene lost who ward yet became DA Mayor anyway – was that because a non-white face is needed to uphold the DA’s BEE policy (which has so often forsaken the best person for the job)?
When did Eleonor Bouw join the DA? When did she get her membership card?
And will we ever find out exactly how Knysna’s R30-million was spent on our hosting of the French and Danish World Cup soccer teams whilst Eleonor was Mayor?
Does anyone see the irony of DA supporters acting negatively towards ANC politicians… but then forgetting that when they cross the floor? Surely they are still the same people and this is a revolving door that ensures the same people are always in power… THAT it is about power and not about acting on beliefs that represent their supporters?
I fear that my wish for true independents, who place their towns first, ahead of national and provincial politics that uses us as pawns in their games for power, may never materialise.
On the surface, I like Eleonor Bouw. I will give her a chance. She’s smart. Knysna can definitely use smart leaders. But Eleonor needs to prove that what just happened wasn’t her and other politicians outsmarting Knysna… again.