After SABC News reported on alleged corruption on Knysna, it was guaranteed that the Knysna Council Meeting, 2 days later on May 26, was going to be interesting.
I recorded it so that Knysna can participate in one of the most important periods in our history, so important that it may affect our future.
Please listen to the two recordings, the first being Mayor Eleanore Spies’ statement, the second being the vote for or against forensic investigation. I have transcribed some of it below, however, hopefully only as a guide as it’s important to hear the tone in people’s voices too.
Realise how important this is when i tell you that this is THE MOST IMPORTANT PERIOD IN THE ALMOST 8 YEARS i’ve been helping Knysna… and, consequently, it’s important for you to get involved! After this, make your opinions heard! HELP MAKE OUR TOWN BETTER!
Mayor Spies started with, “Surprised to hear that the matter still appeared before the Committee. We, as the Municipality, have not received the latest submission made by Hampton and are awaiting Parliament for them. On Wednesday, Knysna Municipal was made aware, as was submitted to the Committee, by the Public Protector the complaint had been finalised by there office and no adverse findings were made. Hampton alleged that this Municipality has threatened and intimidated them. I categorically want to state that neither the Acting MM or myself are aware of any such threats or intimidation. His submissions were responded to by the previous Council in their entirety. Mr. Hampton is by no means the victim here… the court has ordered a myriad of orders against him. In light of the fact that the petitioner, Mr. Hampton, and the witness, Ms. Campbell, seem incapable of accepting this and clearly do not seem to have any regard for the cost the ratepayers and the Knysna Municipality must incur in sincere effort to address any legitimate concerns that we have not yet noticed. We have not seen any evidence that required any further response to what has already been submitted by this Municipality. We wait to hear from Parliament as to whether any further response is required and whether there is an actual complaint that needs to be addressed by the Knysna Municipality.”
Velile Waxla (Independent): “Based on the report from the Executive Mayor, and on what we’re hearing in the news, it’s not the first time. Can we ask, Madam Speaker, that we have a forensic audit be appointed by this Council to deal with this matter and other related matters of corruption surrounding this Municipality. When you are on the street, its on everybody’s lips. Can we deal with this once and for all?”
Victor Malosi (ANC): “Don’t you think, Mayor, that these issues, these allegations are not that important to give attention to and full explanation to what is actually happening so that we are able to give our input in assessing whether there is truth or not? Don’t you think it’s important that we should pay attention to the matter?”
Mayor Spies: “I have communicated information that I believe this Council needed to know. Questions must be raised on what I communicated. The input cannot be forensic investigation must be instituted because nowhere have I spoken about that in my report. The Councillor is in his right to ask for that. We will welcome that if that’s what we need to do. It’s not that we’re against it. I merely reported to the Council the facts of what has transpired because the reflection of what has happened on SABC is not what has transpired. You have heard that the Mayor refused to comment… I was in Beaufort West because I was told that I didn’t have to appear – only that morning, at 4 o’clock, did I drive through and stay a few hours. I was fully aware of wanting to go to Cape Town until I was told not to. I need to clarify the facts on the news because that has had a huge impact on this town. I have had people calling me because they believe I’m corrupt or whatever… The news said I refused to comment. I was asked to make a soundbite. I have witnesses who were with me there. I had to stop. I had to make a sound clip. That was said to the SABC which they played afterwards but in the beginning, it was said that the Mayor refused to comment. I want the Council to know how I’ve represented them in this thing that has a huge effect and will still have…”
Speaker Georlene Wolmarans stated that if the councillors want to come up with motions for the forensic report, they must first listen to Mayor Spies’ answers.
Victor Malosi (ANC): “Speaker, I want to be allowed to speak without any intimidation. I can see that the Executive Mayor doesn’t want us to speak about difficult issues (Mayor exclaimed, “Ag, no, man!”). Madam Speaker, I think as a party of clean governance, you are supposed to respond to questions whether they are coming directly or indirectly. This Council should take this thing up and interrogate it… taking steps to solving it.”
Councillor van Aswegen (COPE): “Madam Mayor, it was said yesterday that some staff members were coming to you, some of them actually crying, literally crying, to what transpired in the news. It was upsetting for the staff, upsetting for the Municipality… Who told you not to appear [before Parliament] and what was the rationale behind it? This is the second time the Knysna Municipality has been accused in Parliament. Did we not learn from the first action… and try to be proactive when these things take place?
Crouch (ANC): “I heard the Mayor saying that she told Councillors what she needed to know. Are we on a need-to-know basis here? We only get information that we need to know… therefore, I ask that the Mayor submit a report on the allegations and the correspondence with Parliament.”
Velile Waxa (Independent): “I want to make clear here that we are not children. Councillors need to be concerned… it is worse than what is happening at the SABC…” (becomes inaudible but he asks for investigation into what is happening in Knysna)
Mayor Spies: “I decided to be transparent Councillors what I can at this point… Mr. Hampton alleged that this Municipality has threatened and intimidated him. He who allege must obviously prove. We have not received any evidence that requires any further response to what has already being submitted… What do you want me to report on? Things that have already been before the Committee, that have been finalised?” She goes on to say that she asked for postponements and were informed provisionally that the interim Chair of that Committee would accede to her request. “On the morning, i phoned again because we obviously have members there, and I then decided we can’t go because our request would be exceeded. I have no issue with any forensic investigation... if it must happen… We are standing for clean and good governance. If that is the case, this Council must make that decision. This notion of wanting to portray that we are protecting things, I’m not protecting anything. If anything, I’d like to continue my term with knowing that things have been investigated, it’s clear, it’s clean, it’s good… and we can actually focus on what we are here to do. So I want to state that categorically. And the politicking around is actually disgusting. I appreciate the relevant questions asked by the relevant councillors but the others were totally out of order. We are in a Council meeting, not a political meeting.”
Van Aswegen: “Can I just repeat my questions because the Mayor obviously forgot what I asked.. and another that I forgot to ask. Why didn’t we now, ask the SABC to come to this meeting to hear this story.”
Mayor Spies: “The better part of my day yesterday was spent strategising. We invited the SABC, for myself to be afforded the opportunity to state the Municipality’s case. We are also taking the SABC to the Ombudsman ’cause they reported incorrectly… and all the radio stations today, I will speak and state the Municipality’s case.”
The most important part may be that Mayor Eleanore Spies stated that she welcomed forensic investigation and then, in the same meeting a couple of hours later, voted against forensic investigation.
Almost as important is that the DA were unanimous and that the KUC’s Welcome Salaze and ACDP’s Shakespeare Arends voted with them against Knysna.
Notably, the ANC never proposed the motion. That was done by Independent Velile Waxa (who possibly has an axe to grind as his disciplinary hearing approaches) and was seconded by COPE’s Elrick van Aswegen.
Victor Malosi, one of the main figures in the ANC, and who used to work with Mayor Spies in the ANC’s Regional Executive Committee (before she turned blue), never voted, leaving the room whilst it was happening!
I could tell you much that is wrong with what happened above but before i present my argument and possibly influence you, I’m asking my subscribers and the citizens of Knysna what they think about what happened here. You know a lot of the history, have read the Mayor’s press release and my blogged responses.
Where did Mayor Spies sound strong? What questions do you have where she never made herself clear? Did any Councillor explain anything to you? Did Mayor Spies explain anything to you? Do you believe her that there’s been no intimidation against me? Was there too much politics or not enough? etc.
I’ll give you more facts and my opinion later in the week, maybe incorporating some of yours.
PS: Some parts are difficult to hear so if there are any important corrections needed to my transcription, please inform me.
PS2: Here’s the referred to SABC clip for easy reference: