“She was very vocal and was never afraid to take on any person or matter of importance. She was assertive and always stood her ground.”
A BY-ELECTION could be held in the Sol Plaatje municipal district before the local government elections take place following the death of DA ward councillor Bernadette Francis on Tuesday.
DA caucus leader Christopher Phiri said her death was a great loss to the party.
“It came as a shock to us. She was a hard-working ward councillor of Roodepan since 2016. She was very vocal and was never afraid to take on any person or matter of importance. She was assertive and always stood her ground,” said Phiri.
He added that Francis was instrumental in calling for calm when the community embarked on a shutdown to protest over high electricity prices in 2018.
“She served on the committee for community services as well as the committee that represents councillors at a national level. She stepped down as caucus chairperson last year after experiencing a bout of illness.”
Phiri said that she was willing to foster change and engage in fruitful debate.
“She took on Sol Plaatje executive mayor Patrick Mabilo when he failed to attend a community meeting that was arranged in Roodepan. We have lost an activist and a valuable asset.”
He said that Francis was survived by her husband and two children.
“We extend our condolences to her family and friends and are keeping them in our prayers. A committee meeting that was supposed to be held today was postponed upon hearing about her death.”
Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) provincial electoral officer Bonolo Modise said that while a tentative date for the local government elections had been proposed, no definite date had been provided yet by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
The IEC last month indicated that the local government elections could be scheduled to take place at any time from August to November.
Modise said that by-elections could be held at any time to replace a vacancy unless an announcement was made by the commission for a cut-off date.
“A vacancy should be filled within 90 days after a position becomes vacant. By-elections will be held in Springbok and Kuruman at the end of the month. The MEC for Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs has the authority to override the cut-off date if it is deemed necessary.”
He added that the IEC had yet to be formally notified of the death of the Ward 1 councillor.