Bank robber to mayor: Gayton McKenzie pledges to donate 100% of his salary

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Former South African convicted criminal, bank robber and gangster turned politician and motivational speaker, Gayton McKenzie, has pledged to donate 100% of his salary after being elected Central Karoo’s district mayor in South Africa.

Gayton McKenzie is set to earn about R1.4 million a year ($95,428) or about $8000 a month. In addition to this, the new mayor has said he does not want any mayoral cars and would prefer they be sold and ambulances bought instead.

McKenzie, born and raised in the Bloemfontein neighbourhood of Heidedal, SouthAfrica came to the limelight in the early 2000s for his role in a prison exposé, which led to his early release. This exposé further led to an investigation of prison corruption by the Jail Commission of Inquiry.

Telling his story of how he shifted from a life of crime, Gayton has attained success as a motivational speaker, travelling to many schools in South Africa to share his story with them.

The politician launched his party, the Patriotic Alliance Political Party, together with his friend Kenny Kunene on November 30th 2013 and became the party’s first president. Both gentlemen were known to use open letters to provoke much needed political debates and controversy.

On Monday, April 11th 2022, the Patriotic Alliance leader was elected unopposed as mayor of Central Karoo and assured residents of his relentless service to them and assured them his service would not cost them or the municipality.

“I will donate 100% of my salary, I don’t want mayoral cars. They should be sold and ambulances bought. I came with my own bodyguards paid by me. The police should go do police work. I will never claim a cent for petrol or flights. The taxpayer looked after me in jail. I am free now,” he tweeted.

Mayor Gayton McKenzie’s tweet on Tuesday morning (12/04/2022)

Mayor Gayton McKenzie is set to earn about R1.4m a year or R117,423 a month, according to proposed salary and benefits increases recently published in the Government Gazette. The proposed figure is a 3% increase from R1.3m and R114,003.

Besides donating his entire salary, McKenzie has stated he will not claim any other benefits he is entitled to as a mayor. These include; a cellphone, data, housing and car/petrol allowances.

According to a 2020 government gazette, public servants who use their private vehicles for official duties can claim and be reimbursed for official kilometres travelled. He is also entitled to receive a cellphone allowance of as much as R3,400 monthly. Gayton McKenzie also benefits from medical aid, pension and a provident fund.

Sharing his thoughts on the microblogging site, Twitter, after his election, the mayor wrote;

“Never give up on your child or loved one who made a mistake, don’t cancel him no matter what, I wanna thank everyone that helped me 2 become a better person. Frame one was taken in a maximum prison, frame 2 was taken when I became Executive District Mayor. From gangster 2 Mayor”

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