Rudolph Smith was appointed as Overstrand Mayor after the municipal elections in August 2016.
In an interview the day after the election results were made public, the friendly and always smiling Rudolph said he looked forward to the challenges of being mayor. “I want to put my stamp on the Overstrand. There are many things that need attention and it is my intention to systematically work through all the problems with all the stakeholders and find solutions
that are in the best interest of our communities.”
Sadly his term as mayor came to an abrupt end only a year and four months later when he died on 5 January 2018, following an operation to remove a benign brain tumour.
Born in Botrivier on 10 June 1967, Rudolph Smith completed primary school in Botrivier
and matriculated from Swartberg Sekondêr before entering trade unionism as a career.
“I have always been involved in trade unions and my qualifications are in that field, apart
from a short stint in the insurance industry,” Rudolph said during an interview in 2016.
Rudolph moved to the Overstrand from Swellendam in 2008 after the then Mayor, Theo Beyleveldt, convinced him to join the Democratic Alliance (DA). In 2008 he was elected as Chair of the Walkerbay Branch of the DA. In 2009 he became a DA councillor and in 2011 he was chosen as Ward Councillor for Ward 8 (Hawston, Fisherhaven and Honingklip). In
2014 Rudolph was elected as Deputy Mayor.
Although not an active sportsman himself, Rudolph was an avid supporter of the Stormers
and faithfully followed tennis and athletics. “I get my exercise from walking and I try and live an active life and believe in living healthy. To that end I eat a lot of fruit,” he told me.
Asked whether he preferred red or white wine, Rudolph was quick to answer: “Neither. I do
not drink any alcohol, simply because I never have. I have not developed a taste for it and
prefer water or a glass of juice.” The Afrikaans language was dear to him. “I read a lot of Afrikaans books, watch Afrikaans movies and listen to Afrikaans music. Not the doef, doef, doef kind. The good music. The kind you can dance to.”
Rudolph leaves behind his mother Margaret, two daughters Rowena and Ruby, his fiancée Sheraldeen Tarentaal, three brothers and three sisters.
The Overstrand Municipality paid homage to Ald Rudolph Smith as a proud servant of the people.
“He was a humble man that stood resolute in his purpose at all times. As a community leader, Alderman Smith dedicated his life to uplifting disadvantaged communities, the forgotten and frail. As a man he wanted to be a symbol of hope. He wanted to inspire people to break through glass ceilings and break down boundaries which kept people imprisoned and enslaved.
“Rudolph Smith was a proud man, a man of faith, dedication and loyalty. He stood for the righteous, the honourable and the virtuous, whilst unreservedly fighting exploitation, dishonesty and corruption.
“As mayor, he was not just our first citizen; he was our friend, our father, our brother and our son. He was forthright, outspoken and unreservedly loyal. He led our region with progressive charm, immense pride and an abundance of humanity. We salute you and thank you for your service.”