'I think govt exists for the most vulnerable' - Midvaal mayor Bongani Baloyi

In 2013 Bongani Baloyi made history when he was appointed executive mayor of the Midvaal municipality in Gauteng, to become the youngest mayor in South Africa.

Seven years later the DA mayor still stands out, heading a municipality with six consecutive clean audits under its belt.

Baloyi is know as someone who challenges the status quo - On Weekend Breakfast he tells Refiloe Mpakanyane that he is serving his purpose by serving his community, and this fulfils him.

It's a way of directing, influencing, shaping the future in my present in a way that gives me part of those who are making decisions and doing incredible things...

Bongani Baloyi, Executive mayor - Midvaal Local Municipality
Midvaal Municipality Mayor Bongani Baloyi. Picture: Democratic Alliance.

Baloyi says he was "born into politics", growing up in politically volatile Thokoza with an activist mother in a politically aware family.

He remembers how, as a little boy, he was unaware of the danger when kids were used as messengers between political factions.

I was very young going into the '94 elections but my father's younger brother was very active and he used to take me along to the meetings of the ANC.

Bongani Baloyi, Executive mayor - Midvaal Local Municipality

At times when there were these fights between the IFP and the ANC along Khumalo Street [in Thokoza] they'd give us letters to send in between different zones to communicate, because it was easier for children to cross the boundaries... At times it was ammunition as well.

Bongani Baloyi, Executive mayor - Midvaal Local Municipality

The young politician says he's always felt the need to speak out. He recounts becoming uncomfortable as a high-performing sportsman at school when he was never offered a team captaincy but was taken along and ''used" at meetings with potential sponsors.

It got to a point where the high-schooler stopped playing sport and eventually decided to enter politics at a young age.

I realised that I want to shape the mindset that builds communities... because you start doubting whether it's about your competence or not.

Bongani Baloyi, Executive mayor - Midvaal Local Municipality

It was Baloyi's frustration with the pace of change that sparked his mayoral bid at the age of 24.

What lies behind, when people keep saying 'let's have stability' as I experienced it then, was 'let's keep things as they are'.

Bongani Baloyi, Executive mayor - Midvaal Local Municipality

The department I'd led had introduced some innovative reforms, management efficiencies as well, so it was about 'look what we've already achieved in the department'...

Bongani Baloyi, Executive mayor - Midvaal Local Municipality

I think government exists for the most vulnerable. We need to find ways to empower and have programmes to provide immediate relief... and put them on a path up the social mobility ladder.

Bongani Baloyi, Executive mayor - Midvaal Local Municipality

For more on Baloyi's guiding principles, listen to the conversation below:


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