Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga says the new position has drastically altered his life and he has not fully adjusted to the demands that go with it.
“I’m not used to people addressing me or saluting me which now happens on a regular basis. I’m used to people calling me by my name and I’m more comfortable with that,” he said.
“I’m not used to the protocol of where I can and cannot go. If I see something, I want to stop and assist or talk to people but that has changed a bit.”
He said the position has also brought with it fame and the perception that he is a superhero who is able to end all society’s problems and ills.
“I now have people calling me with ideas of how they want to change the world. Also now I have the sad reality where people call me as their last hope … telling me they don’t know where their next meal will come from. It has been a roller-coaster of a month,” he said.
Despite all the stress and while the spotlight currently shines on him, he said he tries to shield his family and give them the opportunity to lead normal lives.
“I’m trying to keep my family out of the spotlight so that they can have a normal life. I’m trying to ensure that my job doesn’t affect what they do. I try to use my family as a refuge where we talk about our lives and future instead of talking about political stuff,” he said.
That however is not always the case as one of Msimanga’s offspring has a love for the game of politics.
“My 10-year-old is very much aware of politics and has taken keen interest in terms of what I say and do. He will listen to my interviews and statements and want an explanation. I think getting him to understand will go a long way in him appreciating why I’m doing what I do. My 5-year-old just cares that I’m home and [that] he can jump on me,” he said, smiling.