There are many rotten reasons why Knysna, like South Africa, can no longer fly.
This is my additional submission against corruption and maladministration to COGTA Chair Faith Muthambi, sent last month. It is part of my previously promised 100 days of activism which I expect will end with me in prison, maybe as early as next month.
I also promised not to bow to intimidation, to stand when struck. The law firms of Richard Sohn (Knysna) and Jacqui Sohn (Cape Town) are the latest against me. I’m unsure of the exact number but there have been at least 21 attorneys and law firms wanting to silence me… yet no one will represent me.
The DA has an unfair advantage when they have control of the Western Cape as if it were their country. Whether directly or indirectly, the DA benefits from actions against me.
Attorney Richard Sohn is particularly disappointing because he lives in Knysna where my anti-corruption fight began. Why does he not stand against the evil in his town? Why does he use his skillset to attack instead of save?
ADD-ON SUBMISSION TO COGTA
CORRUPTION AND MALADMINISTRATION
7 August 2020
Attention: COGTA Chair Faith Muthambi
- pg02 – A: The Corrupt CFO’s Corrupt Staff
- pg07 – B: Property Sales & Cronyism
- pg10 – C: Unnecessary & Excessive Use of Consultants
- pg11 – D: Inappropriate Car Allowances
- pg11 – E: Illegal 20% Skills Allowance for Managers
- pg12 – F: De Swardt Vogel Myambo Report
- pg14 – G: Irregular Funding of Knysna Tourism
- pg18 – H: SALGA Threatens to Sue Citizen
- pg19 – I: Illegal Appointments
- pg22 – J: Suspensions
- pg25 – K: ISDF Tender & MEC Anton Bredell
- pg27 – L: The Valuable East Head Municipal Buildings Tenders
- pg36 – M: Sedgefield (Knysna) Desalination Plant
- pg38 – N: Ward Allocations Distributed by Councillors
- pg39 – O: Alleged Kickbacks to Deputy Mayor Aubrey Tsengwa
- pg41 – P: The DBSA Loan
- pg43 – Q: Obstruction
- pg51 – R: Petuna’s Possible Illegal Appointment
- pg51 – S: Knysna Municipality Assessment Report
- pg52 – T: ‘Same Shit, Different Government’ Book
- pg53 – Outro
A: THE CORRUPT CFO’S CORRUPT STAFF
COGTA cannot rely on the full and honest assistance of Knysna Municipality’s Financial Services. The department is compromised. CFO Mbulelo Memani seemingly created a loyalty system via improper appointments and unearned financial rewards.
I previously submitted information detailing corruption seemingly initiated and protected by CFO Memani. That included a 4-page letter of allegations that (now suspended) Municipal Manager Sitembile Vatala (MM Vatala) sent him. MEC Anton Bredell’s letter of inquiry to Speaker Titi Gombo included several of those topics. This information below expands on that.
Some of the appointments will clearly be irregular but others fall into a grey area that has possibly been deliberately created. Allegedly, the organogram used for the past two years was never officially approved.
Whereas there used to be only four managers under the CFO, that has been increased to eight (though it is possible that there is a ninth that is not listed on the directorate’s page on the municipal website).
4.1 The four managers were:
4.1.1. Manager Budget
4.1.2. Manager Expenditure
4.1.3. Manager Income
4.1.4. Manager Information Technology
4.2 The eight/nine managers now are:
4.2.1. Senior Manager Financial Management Services
4.2.2. Senior Manager Income
4.2.3. Senior Manager Information Technology
4.2.4. Manager: Assets and Liabilities
4.2.5. Manager: Budget
4.2.6. Manager: Expenditure
4.2.7. Manager: Financial Statements
4.2.8. Manager: SCM
4.2.9. Manager: ?
4.3. It is rumoured that at least one senior manager does not have a junior which makes being “senior” moot.
4.4. The purpose of the extra staff requires scrutiny considering that the financial health of the municipality declined under their care.
4.5. The purpose and legitimacy of the new organogram requires investigation too.
4.6. There is no longer a standardised system i.e. some NFQ positions require a degree, others the same level do not.
4.7. It is possible that job adverts were designed to qualify a predetermined hire. Attached are adverts for the employees questioned furtheron:
4.7.1. Manager Assets and Liabilities [b1]
4.7.2. Manager Budget (unavailable on Municipality’s website) [b2]
4.7.3. Manager Financial Statements [b3]
4.7.4. Manager Income [b4]
4.8. More numerous and bigger salary packages have meant the loss of millions to the Public.
Landia van Huysteen was made Manager Assets & Liability Management despite not having the necessary qualifications.
5.1. She never achieved the minimum scored required for the position.
5.2. She does not have a degree yet oversees over R1-billion in assets.
5.3. Although it is logical that her position requires a degree, as do others the same level in other departments, it must also be determined if she has a relevant diploma.
5.4. The position was advertised for someone with only an NQF level 6 i.e. possibly the advert was created to cater for her. She was an internal appointment, thus known to those who gave her the position.
Nobesuthu Fundi (aka Nobesuthu Douse) was made Manager Budget:
6.1. Despite not having the necessary qualifications.
6.2. She benefited by fraudulently purchasing a municipal house below the reserve price.
6.3. I am unsure if this applies to Nobesuthu Fundi or Mugelane van Wyk (furtheron). The large vehicle/travel allowance was allegedly based on her submitting a new microbus instead of the cheaper second-hand car she drives. If the submitted car exists, the logs must be checked to verify if it was used for the purposes of her position.
Mugelane van Wyk was made Manager Financial Statements & Compliance:
7.1. She was appointed despite having no driver’s licence which was a job stipulation.
7.2. It needs to be checked if she had the necessary qualifications and experience i.e. it is alleged that she worked in an unrelated position when previously employed by a municipality in the Orange Free State.
7.3. She was given a car allowance despite not having a licence.
7.4. I am unsure if this applies to Mugelane van Wyk or Nobesuthu Fundi (6.3). The large vehicle/travel allowance was allegedly based on her submitting a new microbus instead of the cheaper second-hand car she drives. If the submitted car exists, the logs must be checked to verify if it was used for the purposes of her position.
7.5. Despite confirmation of her not possessing a driver’s licence, a disciplinary committee illogically allowed her to keep her position and never sought to recover the money. Details of that disciplinary, and who was involved, must be obtained as it assisted fraud.
Busiswa Kova previously worked under CFO Memani in Bitou Municipality as an accountant. She was appointed Senior Manager Income Services.
8.1. It is rumoured that she did not have the necessary qualifications when appointed.
8.2. The position was advertised for someone with only an NQF level 6 i.e. possibly the advert was created to cater for her. She was an internal appointment, thus known to those who gave her the position.
8.3. The De Swardt Vogel Myambo report verified major corruption and irregularities but one finding, and the rumoured reason for it, is now debatable. Corrupt ex-Municipal Manager Kam Chetty had prevented Kova from being appointed. It was assumed that the appointment could lead to some of Chetty misdeeds being uncovered. However, maybe Chetty did the right thing, whereas CFO Memani wanted Kova and no one else. Considering the history of Knysna Municipality, it is possible that both sides had wrongful intentions. Clarity is required.
Senior Manager Financial Management Services Avitha Jagaysor was suspended, allegedly victimised by departing Acting Municipal Manager Michele Gratz who acted on a complaint by CFO Memani.
9.1 Jagaysor is allegedly the investigator from which MM Vatala sourced his questions to CFO Memani regarding the allegations against him.
9.2. Jagaysor recently returned to work but strangely not to the Financial Department, making her current unknown posting irregular and Finance Services short a senior manager during a financial crisis.
9.3 Notably, Jagaysor, in 2016, had Council go through the budget line by line, a process rumoured to have saved R40-million. That allegedly earned her disapproval from her bosses, and ex-Municipal Manager Grant Easton suspended her on trumped-up reasons. Despite Easton quitting during his own suspension soon thereafter, Jagaysor’s suspension was maintained. She returned to work after three years only to be suspended again. The monies spent on her salary and lawyers would have cost the Municipality millions.
Manager Information Technology Graeme Huddy quit during the recent chaos.
10.1 It is rumoured that he quit because of his improper promotion of the Munsoft ERP tender which was subsequently cancelled.
10.2 There were further findings by the Auditor General the previous financial year, but I do not know the details. Allegedly, Huddy could not appropriately answer the Auditor General’s queries regards those.
Vuyo Nobatana was internally appointed as an Accountant despite an internal female candidate scoring higher than him.
B: PROPERTY SALES & CRONYISM
Nobesuthu Fundi’s illegal purchase of a municipal house is one of three from the same batch sold below reserve price.
12.1 Suspended MM Vatala may have been dutiful in opposing the sales but its notable that:
12.1.1. MM Vatala, CFO Mbulelo Memani and Director Corporate Services Phumla Makoma were previously considered, within the Knysna Municipality, to be a corrupt alliance.
12.1.2. Before becoming Knysna’s boss, MM Vatala had left Emalahleni Municipality in disgrace. Major protests against him disrupted the town. COGTA investigated, local media reporting that it had discovered nepotism, irregular appointments, and irregular contracts. However, the report was not made public and COGTA appears to not have followed through. Instead, Vatala became Knysna’s Municipal Manager [b5->b8].
12.1.3. In 2014, MM Vatala hired Makoma as Emalahleni Municipality’s Director Corporate Services. She followed him to Knysna, appointed into the same position.
12.1.4. When Knysna ran out of cash, the financial department imploded, and the three allegedly had a falling out. That led to legitimate accusations against the other, between MM Vatala and CFO Memani.
12.1.5 Vatala is a Facebook friend of current Acting Municipal Manager Louis Scheepers [b9].
12.2. Director Makoma would likely have had to approve the sales.
12.3. Manager Legal Services & Properties Melony Paulsen reports to Director Phumla. Paulsen has a long, negative history. She was fingered in fraud by the De Swardt Vogel Myambo investigation. That no one acted against her, as recommended by the report, likely means that she is compromised, and thus loyal to those protecting her.
12.4. Manager Assets Van Huysteen and others in Financial Services must have been aware of their colleague’s, Nobesuthu Fundi’s, purchase of one of the auctioned houses.
12.5. MM Vatala opposed the auctioneers selling the three houses below reserve price yet Finance Services and Corporate Services went ahead anyway.
12.6 It is certain that the reserve price was not obeyed but it needs to be determined if the reserve price was the same as the evaluation:
12.6.1. Erf 2482, 12 Kamdebo Avenue, sold to Manager Budget Nobesuthu Fundi for R1,000,000 which was R400,000 below evaluation price of R1,400,000. Nandibulabula Inc contracted by Knysna Municipality to handle transfer.
12.6.2. Erf 2627, 10 Bokmakierie Street, sold to Mrs Mbali Zama & Mr Wanda Zama for R820,000 which was R180,000 below evaluation price of R1,000,000. Attorney Lulama Prins contracted by Knysna Municipality to handle transfer.
12.6.3. Erf 4399, 4 Falcon Street Mrs Mbali Zama & Mr Wanda Zama for 725,000 which was R375,000 below evaluation price of R1,100,000. Harker Attorneys, who had been contracted by Knysna Municipality to evict the current tenants, was given the job to handle the transfer.
12.7. In reference to 12.6.2., whether coincidental or remarkable, Attorney Lulama Prins is acting for Knysna Municipality against MM Vatala.
12.8. There is no allegation of impropriety against the Zama family but considering that they bought two of the three properties, Mbali Zama was the Director of the Program Administration for National Tourism of South Africa, and the remaining property had a link to Local Government, the Zama’s should be checked for possible links to Knysna Municipality.
It must be determined the number and value of municipal properties sold since the 2016 Local Government Elections, and why houses are not being rented out to municipal staff or the Public at market rates in an area short of housing. Furthermore, what properties are being considered for future sales?
As discovered during the previous audit, R64m in contingent properties in prime locations were illegally taken off the books by CFO Memani. There has been no consequence the past year. Who was involved on the Garden Route District end, and have the properties been transferred back?
It is concerning that COPE Councillor Elrick van Aswegen was previously emphatic in Council that he would always stand against the sale of Public property, but his hypocrisy cannot be trusted to safeguard the Public’s best interest:
15.1. When he was offered a deal for toilets for his Hornlee suburb, as part of the proceeds from the sale of a controversial Buffalo Bay property in 2014, he became willing partner.
15.2. In his inaugural speech as Mayor in June 2020, he stated that property would be sold.
C: UNNECESSARY & EXCESSIVE USE OF CONSULTANTS
There has allegedly been excessive use of consultants by Financial Services. Text anonymously sent to me, allegedly extracted from an early 2020 document, claims the companies are Moore Stephens, Mubesko, PWC, Ntiyiso Consulting and Mobius Consulting. I cannot verify the following, but it rings of legitimacy.
16.1. It is alleged that the consultants have sometimes done work that could have been undertaken by municipal officials. If true, that would make their fees wasteful expenditure. Conversely, where staff were inadequate, they should have been trained, or their improper appointments nulled so that they could be replaced with the experienced. A question asked with doubt is how many staff have passed there SAIPA exam?
16.2. The 2018/2019 Auditor report found that Moore Stephens and Mubesko had benefited from Knysna Municipality piggybacking off Saldanha Bay contracts which it labelled as irregular expenditure. Although MM Vatala was in charge then, AMM Louis Scheepers used to be Saldanha’s MM. It remains to be seen if he stops the unnecessary use of these and other consultants.
16.3. Ironically, the 2018/2019 audit result was Knysna’s worst. Despite the piggybacking have been exposed, CFO Memani continued to use Moore Stephens and Mubesko. This likely means more irregular expenditure 2019/2020.
16.4 Allegedly and ironically, Moore Stephens was used to point blame at staff for the bad audit. This caused great distress and further eroded moral because the staff were not asked for their side which, in some instances, would have painted a different picture. It is alleged that by not looking in the right direction, some of those most responsible escaped responsibility. Maybe that was the goal.
16.5. National Treasury provided a Finance Management Grant which was overspent by 50% owing to the use of consultants PWC and Ntiyiso Consulting. Knysna Municipality’s cash flow suffered as a consequence.
D: INAPPROPRIATE CAR ALLOWANCES
The undue car allowances in Financial Services opens a bigger problem. It is rumoured that loyalty has been bought. Many people who never previously qualified for car allowances are now receiving enough to cover all expenses i.e. expensive vehicle, petrol, and maintenance.
17.1. Historically, a car allowance was given to directors and managers (but not all) who were level T15. Now all T14 receive it whether they are a manager or not.
17.2. The difference between the cost before and after that decision, approved by Council, must be evaluated.
E: ILLEGAL 20% SKILLS ALLOWANCE
Knysna Municipality began paying a “20% Scarce Skills Allowance” to all senior managers on 25 August 2018. On 29 October 2018, Council rescinded its decision but reinstated it on 11 June 2019 [b10].
18.1 In response to High Court action by MEC Local Government, the Council cancelled the skills allowance on 26 February 2020 [b11].
18.2 Knysna is a Schedule 3 municipality yet the 2019 per annum earning for CFO Mbulelo Memani was R1,5m, and R1,4m for Director Planning & Development Marlene Boyce.
18.3 The illegal bonus was stated to have cost the Public R117,894.63 per month which means that the overall loss would be approximately R1.2million.
18.4. Council resolved: “That all Scarce Skills Allowances paid to the Municipal Manager and the Managers directly accountable to the Municipal Manager in terms of the Scarce Skills Policy be recovered.”
18.5. Has the recovery happened, and did it included interest to compensate for inflation and bank fees, as well as the cost of Council and S80 time?
18.6. The Council and the Administration disobeyed Provincial Treasury and the MEC Local Government. It also failed to act on detailed complaint from the Knysna Ratepayers’ Association. These communications must be obtained as evidence that the Council and Administration was in deliberate violation. It is obvious that it was a self-enrichment scheme. Why has no one been held accountable?
F: DE SWARDT VOGEL MYAMBO REPORT
As the result of a DA faction fight, Council resolved on 17 July 2018 that an independent investigator be appointed to investigate Municipal Manager Kam Chetty.
19.1. The De Swardt Vogel Myambo report was obtained at a cost of R616, 494.97 [b12].
19.2. The report is self-explanatory, implicating (a) DA Mayor Eleanore Spies, (b) Manager Legal Services & Properties Melony Paulsen, and (c) ex-Municipal Manager Kam Chetty. The crimes involve fraud, theft, and deliberately wasteful expenditure. It is possible that bribery or cronyism is involved. Among many issues is the use of Public funds for personal legal fees for action against me in attempt to stop me further exposing Mayor Spies.
19.3. The report recommended disciplinary action. Why was disciplinary action not immediately instituted and process completed timeously?
19.3.1. Action against Spies appeared delayed by MEC Local Government Anton Bredell who notably was and is the DA’s Western Cape Chairperson.
126.96.36.199. Instead, Spies was promoted to the Mayoral Committee of the Garden Route District.
188.8.131.52. Thereafter, she was promoted to the National Assembly where she is ironically a member on the Standing Committee of the Auditor General.
184.108.40.206. She is currently also the DA Constituency Officer to Oudtshoorn where Bredell has been involved in sedition, as exposed by me when I posted the secret recording of him plotting against the town for the benefit of the DA.
220.127.116.11. Despite the report justifying my exposing her, she was granted a protection order against me, something the DA have used regularly as a cheap gag order (the local Magistrates’ Court has gone to extreme lengths to never allowed me a fair trial – the DA is protected).
19.3.2. Paulsen remains Manager Legal Services. She is there to protect politicians and officials, and not the Municipality as manifestation of the Public will.
19.3.3. Kam Chetty allegedly got a job with National Government. Did Knysna Municipality provide him with reference?
19.4. The report recommended criminal charges. Were any laid? If yes, against who and what were the charges? Importantly, it needs to be detailed how the Municipality followed up with the SAPS. Although the SAPS are known to protect the DA and municipal officials, was there genuine effort on the part of the Municipality to obtain justice for the Public?
19.5. The report recommended civil charges and that the monies lost be reclaimed. Were there proceedings? If yes, the actions need to be detailed.
19.7. Although I laid a complaint with Knysna Municipality, the Knysna Council, the Western Cape Provincial Government, and the DA Federal Executive, none would act against them. Instead, it has been treated as if the report is a legal opinion of inconsequence when it clearly is not. There has been a deliberate cover-up from Local Government to Province.
19.8. It must be made clear that the report was not an opinion and that it’s concerning contents should have demanded follow through.
19.9. As it stands inactive, the De Swardt report could be considered as wasteful expenditure but that would be paid by the taxpayer and give the incriminated a free pass. Those who failed to act timely must be held accountable as much as those fingered in the report.
19.10. It has been 3 years since the investigation. The evidence needs to be made public.
19.11. Notably, new Acting Municipal Manager Louis Scheepers and new Mayor Elrick van Aswegen have been obstructive to my complaint. The Mayor is friends with Paulsen.
UPDATE: The National Prosecuting Authority recently declined to prosecute Spies. No reason has been made public. Notably, the NPA previously failed to act against corruption I reported. But the fault begins with the Hawks which earlier protected the DA. It is their investigation that is supposed to give the NPA wings. Whereas I cannot state that this investigation deliberately whitewashed DA corruption, it is important and damning that I was not interviewed. After all, one of the charges against Spies was for her using Public funds to pay her personal lawyers against me.
G: KNYSNA TOURISM
The De Swardt report makes strong mentioning of irregular funding of Knysna & Partners and the related Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr legal opinion regards the funding mechanism [b13].
I became an activist because of the illegal funding and cronyistic distribution. I have been denied justice for 10 years. The Western Cape Government and the Office of the Public Protector are involved in the cover-up.
I reported it to the Auditor General in 2014 who never acted despite meeting me.
Knysna Tourism was a Section 21 company fulfilling the tourism mandate of Knysna Municipality. The importance of this cannot be underestimated in our tourism-based economy. It changed its name to Knysna & Partners but later reverted to the original.
23.1. Knysna Tourism only existed because of a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with Knysna Municipality who paid it more than R4-million of taxpayers’ money annually. That was its primary funding, given in the form of a grant-in-aid that required no tender process.
23.2. Councillors were on the Board of Directors and municipal officials on its sub-committees. That meant that they were approving its funding in conflict of interest.
23.3. When I first encountered Knysna Tourism, its CEO was a well-known DA constituent.
23.4. Knysna Tourism distributed the funds it received to contractors it favoured and not through tender processes.
23.5. The organisation ran into debt 4 years in a row and was bailed out each time by the grant-in-aid – it is illegal to fund debt with public funds.
23.6. The grant-in-aid was the only grant-in-aid to not be approved through the Grant-in-Aid Committee i.e. further failure of Supply Chain Management.
23.7. It is my belief that Knysna Tourism was a business of cronyism. As examples of irregularities:
23.7.1. A staff member had her trip to Jamaica paid for with the excuse that it was to help the local Rastafarians. They were not consulted and received no benefit from the trip.
23.7.2. Two local businesses received loans, an illegal use of public funds.
23.8. Even if Knysna Tourism had been a legal entity, its funding should have been halted after its repeated failure to uphold its SLA. For example:
23.8.1. The 4 years it ran in the red.
23.8.2. Its failure to spend its BEE quotient on BEE, instead counting the coloured manager’s salary as a portion of it and, in one year, paying a consultant instead.
23.9. Although I was not given credit, my protest changed the way the organisation was viewed by the town and led to action.
23.9.1. A disciplinary hearing found the CEO Shaun van Eck guilty of 4 charges of gross misconduct (each a dismissible offence).
23.9.2. Instead of punishment, he was given a R270,000 farewell handshake after signing a non-disclosure agreement.
23.10. For 2 years, the organisation ran without a CEO.
23.10.1. It continued to receive funding.
23.10.2. The non-executive Chairperson of the failed Board acted as an executive Chairperson. He was illegally paid as a consultant through a third party.
Knysna Tourism received approximately R40-million during my complaints against it. The same DA faction fight that resulted in the De Swart Vogel Myambo reported, produced the Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr legal opinion which found the funding to be irregular without a tender process, and there to be a conflict of interest in having those in the Council who approve its municipal funding being on its Board of Directors.
Despite this, then MEC Alan Winde (later promoted to Premier) allegedly ordered that they must be paid again. They were. Not only was that irregular, it was fraudulent. As stated by the De Swardt report, Municipal Manager Chetty’s contract was fraudulently backdated to approve Knysna Tourism’s funding. DA Mayor Spies and Manager Legal Services Paulsen were complicit. Consequently, Tourism’s funding became illegal twice.
One main reason why I believe that my life has been destroyed by those involved, is because the funding of Knysna Tourism was not unique. The DA, via local councils, had replicated it across the province. Irregular expenditure will be in the hundreds of millions. It was a situation ripe for abuse, maybe intentionally so.
It is impossible to recover years of intentionally irregular funding but the funding after the Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr opinion is logical and plausible. If COGTA concurs that previous funding model was wrong, it helps prevent such occurring again, and maybe stops it where it continues elsewhere. The funding model comes first. The fact that the MM Chetty, Mayor Spies and Manager Paulsen conspired to fraudulently backdate a payment is addition, not primordial.
Justice, however, appears unobtainable. It is notable that WESGRO was established to market Cape Town. A DA MP became its CEO. And now WESGRO has taken over the marketing of most towns, including Knysna. It appears to be another way to maintain control. Knysna, a tourism-based economy, is run by agents appointed by Cape Town. WESGRO now receives the funding Knysna Tourism used to receive, and some of those who use to be on the Board of Tourism are now “advisors”.
I do not know if WESGRO fulfilling Knysna Municipality’s tourism mandate is legal. Then-Mayor Mark Willemse stated that had to be determined yet WESGRO was installed without that validation.
Was WESGRO being paid its usual quarterly one million rand during the coronavirus crisis?
30.1. It is a contractor, not an employee and thus cannot receive payment for services not rendered.
30.2. For 2 months of the lockdown period, WESGRO had to close.
30.3. On reopening, it would provide limited service.
30.4. I do not know the result but at one stage WESGRO appealed to the Knysna Municipality for payment in return for it providing coronavirus support. That is not its mandate, and thus it cannot be paid for it.
30.5. The special considerations afforded to those in ‘Knysna Tourism’ must be stopped.
H: SALGA OFFERS TO SUE TO PROTECT CRIME
In addition to using public monies to try silence me, the Knysna Municipality has used propaganda and privately instituted legal attacks. Although the latter two do not fall under the AG’s mandate, it is possible that, indirectly SALGA does.
SALGA’s management wanted to unConstitutionally make me a test case for local government suing a citizen [b14]. That was obviously extraordinary.
32.1. The appearance of SALGA’s Lance Joel was organised by the DA. Notably, DA Speaker Georlene Wolmarans was on SALGA’s provincial committee.
32.2. Joel’s presentation to Council on 5 April 2018 was illegal as it was unscheduled.
32.3. When I complained to SALGA’s National manager, Xolile George, I was threatened with litigation through an internal lawyer and then Hogan Lovells Attorneys.
Did Knysna Municipality pay SALGA for its ‘services’? If so, that would be wasteful expenditure.
Corruption requires support staff. The Mayor’s office and the Mayoral Committee have made appointments through cronyism. The following include confirmed and alleged.
I exposed Mayor Spies for having illegally contracted her friend, Fran Kirsten, as the Manager Communications for Knysna Municipality. Kirsten had been a marketing contractor for Knysna Tourism. Her new ‘position’ was given without the required tender process. I also revealed that Manager Communications Christopher Bezuidenhout had been moved into a non-organogram position in the Mayor’s office to accommodate Kirsten. It had not undergone the IDP’s public participation process,
35.1. The AG’s 2017 Final Management Report proved I was right [b15 & b16].
35.2. Bezuidenhout and Kirsten were involved in propaganda against me which benefitted their corrupt bosses.
35.3. There were no consequences. Kirsten left and allegedly received small contract work thereafter. Bezuidenhout returned to Manager Communication, lying that he had always been such. The Municipality lied to the AG too.
35.4. Bezuidenhout was paid R382 932 which must be recovered.
35.5. Kirsten was paid R382 545,00 which must be recovered.
35.6. Bezuidenhout remains employed.
To keep Kirsten and Bezuidenhout employed, Mayor Eleanore Spies’ plan was alleged to simply switch their positions. The Mayor’s Office Manager’s job was referred to in-house as “Kirsten’s job” even whilst she was contracted as ‘Manager Communications’. Instead, Kirsten only got to be Acting Office Manager for a period (which was probably unlawful too). Instead, the fulltime position went to Priscilla September, the niece of Councillor Waxa, the DA’s one-time coalition partner.
36.1. The job was not advertised. September was hired through alleged blackmail.
36.2. A faction fight resulted in Councillor Velile Waxa threatening a motion of no confidence in the Mayor Spies. There was no evidence, but it was well known that he strong-armed Spies. After September’s appointment, that MONC never happened.
36.3. Waxa is currently in jail for planning the successful assassination of ANC Chief Whip Victor Malosi.
36.4. September quietly left her job and my complaints were ignored.
36.4. The monies paid to September must be recovered from Eleanore Spies.
Belinda Hobson was an employee of Knysna Tourism who then joined the Mayoral Committee as an assistant.
37.1. The 14 July 2020 MPAC meeting was postponed to 28 July 2020. The agenda included: “For MPAC to investigate and recommend to Council the recovery and or write off of Irregular Expenditure referred by Council for MPAC investigation as contained in the 2018/19 AFS.” [b17].
37.2. Point 1.7 states: “The order and payment to Afrihost and Telkom relate to the Municipal building that has been used by Knysna Tourism. Council expressed itself that due to the winding dawn of the Knysna tourism contract, that their offices must not be closed, be open while the other mechanism were still being finalised with WESGRO. A municipal employee was seconded (Belinda) to work at the office. Telkom account for the landline and internet connection had to be paid for the operations of the offices. These payments should not have been treated as irregular expenditure as the building is a municipal building. The payment should have been treated as statutory payments as provided for in the SCM policy.”
37.3. Was Belinda Hobson’s Mayoral assistant position legally acquired?
37.4. Was Belinda Hobson’s secondment to Knysna Tourism/WESGRO legal?
Advocate Julie Seton is married to ex-DA Deputy Mayor Esme Edge who was on the Board of Knysna Tourism during the disputed period. Seton applied to be a director too. Together, they continue to be defenders of corruption involving the DA and made the biggest effort to destroy my life. It was their private investigator pretending to be a SAPS detective who implied that I would be killed. The Knysna Planning Tribunal has been a hotbed of infighting – who approves what developments and for what reason is important. It is part of the biggest problem Knysna faces. Those issues are irrelevant to this complaint but serve as reminder of what is at stake.
38.1. The hiring of Advocate Julie Seton as an assistant/secretary to the Knysna Planning Tribunal in 2018 is alleged to have been irregular.
38.2. Note that she sometimes uses the names Julie Lopes and Julie Jefferys.
Dawie Adonis was illegally in office as Director Community Services and then illegally moved to Manager Parks and Recreation. Adonis was known as a man with a lot of power. He has long been protected by the ANC and DA.
39.1. The Director position requires an NQF7 (an Honours Degree). Adonis only had an NQF5 (Matric). He was provided opportunity to qualify but failed to do so yet remained in position.
39.2. In June 2017, 2 weeks into the Great Knysna Fire, during which this unqualified man was supposed to play a pivotal role, he was moved into an unadvertised and previously part-time position.
39.3. I do not know his salary but in Council the DA wanted him to retain his same 7-figure annual salary which was more than his new ‘boss’ earned. It seemed that the DA-led Council was using the crisis as cover.
39.3. MEC Local Government Anton Government was long aware, particularly through complaint by Susan Campbell, but permitted the situation.
39.4. Adonis remains employed as Manager Parks and Recreation.
The disciplinary processes against the following people in 2020 added to the instability of Knysna Municipality. It has been alleged that they have not followed fair process:
40.1. Bryan Campher (Project Management Unit Officer for Technical Services)
40.2. Avitha Jagaysor (Senior Manager Financial Management Services)
40.3. Sitembile Vatala (Municipal Manager)
Municipal Manager Sitembile Vatala’s was suspended in February 2020. It is now August, 6 months later. There appears to be deliberate delay in resolving the situation, and it would be too convenient to use the coronavirus as excuse.
Delays have caused major instability in Knysna. The past two years had 2 Municipal Managers and 6 Acting Municipal Managers:
- May 2020-ongoing: Louis Scheepers (Acting Municipal Manager)
- March 2020-May 2020: Michele Gratz (Acting Municipal Manager)
- June 2019-Feb 2020: Sitembile Vatala (Municipal Manager)
- February 2019-March 2019: Makoma (Acting Municipal Manager)
- January 2019-February 2019: Hariparsad (Acting Municipal Manager)
- August 2018-January 2019: Johnny Douglas (Acting Municipal Manager)
- July 2017-August 2018: Kam Chetty (Municipal Manager)
- July 2018-August 2018: Marlene Boyce (Acting Municipal Manager)
Thesen Islands will become one of Knysna biggest scandals. What is happening with suspended Manager Land Use Hennie Smit may be the key to opening that door.
43.1. The suburb was already controversial owing to its architect/developer Chris Mulder heading up a consortium that was illegally given the ISDF tender by MEC Local Government Anton Bredell. The ISDF was supposed to decide Knysna’s future for the next 30 years. That will be addressed in pt. 6 hereunder.
43.2. The largest businesses on Thesen Islands are alleged to be grossly undervalued, having cost the Municipality millions in rates and service fees.
43.3. Thesen Islands homes are allegedly undervalued by R1-billion though that loss may never be recouped by future earnings owing to the coronavirus collapsing Knysna’s economy.
43.4. As DA MEC Bredell contravened his own department and Treasury’s report against the ISDF tender going to Mulder and Knysna Creative Heads, there was obviously favouritism. That seems to have continued with local DA Leader Michelle Wasserman who recently put forward to Council that Thesen Islands needed a second overlay, for businesses only. That would fit in with the fact that the businesses have been underpaying, have being developed with illegal deviation to increase profits, and want control over themselves. Suspiciously, Mulder’s business buildings burned, and taller ones were erected.
43.5. Mulder’s family has interests in three buildings alleged to be illegally constructed.
43.5.1. The Lofts added a third floor and a foundation where there previously used to be pillars. The new raised deck needs to be checked for legality too.
43.5.2. île de païn restaurant is on the opposite side of The Boatshed and Loft Boutique Hotel, facing the road. The same 3-storey elevation was applied. Additionally, its alleged that the 3 apartments on the top floor, named The Terraces, rented out as holiday accommodation, cannot be legally utilised for that purpose.
43.5.3. The Boatshed theoretically encompasses the above buildings but is normally the main building that is called that. Is the new construction also above the height constriction?
43.5.4. These changes would have added millions in value to the buildings and customers may have added millions more.
Manager Hennie Smit is allegedly implicated in approving deviations. He has been suspended for a year. As one of the highest paid managers, his salary, as loss to the taxpayer, has been approximately R1-million.
44.1. Has the suspension followed the rules i.e. has the delay been justified?
44.2. What are the associated legal costs?
44.3. Allegedly the Knysna Municipality is being taken to court by a resident’s association even though the Municipality has admitted the problem. Is the court case wasted expenditure?
44.4. Were the complaints against the Thesen Islands deviations in pt. 4 handled with fair process?
K: ISDF TENDER & MEC ANTON BREDELL
This 7-year-old issue remains current and affects the future of Knysna. The Integrated Strategic Development Framework (ISDF) was the long-term plan for Knysna. It was rumoured to be the test case for the Western Cape. The first tender for R2,749,336 was given to Knysna Creative Heads (KCH), a property developer consortium, who never won the tender and had the most conflict of interest. They were paid R498.560 before signing the contract and, later, a further R250,000 above the tender price.
45.1. On the 15th of April 2013, the Knysna Municipality appointed Chris Mulder’s consortium, known as Knysna Creative Heads (KCH), to prepare an ISDF for Knysna. This consortium did not achieve the lowest price or highest score in the tender.
45.2. It was a hard fight, primarily by me and Susan Campbell, to force investigation which was eventually conducted by the Western Cape Treasury in conjunction with Graham Paulse from Local Government (his boss being MEC Anton Bredell).
45.3. Bredell withheld the consequent report. A summarised version eventually arrived in March 2015. Nevertheless, the 10-point summary concurred with the objectors.
45.4. In total contrast to the findings, Bredell approved the tender award to Mulder and KCH. Again, the tender was blatantly awarded to the wrong tenderer. The full report continued to be kept secret and municipal lies ensued.
45.5. The full report was eventually gained through the Office of Public Protector by Susan Campbell on 23 November 2015. The report was damning despite not addressing serious areas of conflict of interest and failing to investigate Manager Legal Services Melony Paulsen [b18].
45.6. At the November 2015 Council meeting, Easton requested R579,000 more for Knysna Creative Heads, up and above the tender amount. It was made more extraordinary by him being unable to detail what the amount would be used for. He was told to return with answers.
45.7. At the next Council meeting on 10 December, Easton tried to push the ISDF draft through Council. He still never had answers regarding how the R579,000 would be spent but shifted his position by stating, without explanation, that it was not a final figure.
45.8. On 10 January, the figure requested was altered to R250,000 for a community consultation session on the ISDF (despite the draft not having been made to the Public and no one explaining how the poorer communities would be able to access it if it was made available). Suspiciously, he was not asked to explain how it would be spent. Alone, it was an irregular deviation.
45.9. In July 2016, the ISDF was one of the charges against Municipal Manager Grant Easton. I considered him guilty on several charges, but it is more important that he was being used as scapegoat. He quit during the disciplinary [b19].
45.10. In January 2017, my ISDF questions were deleted from the Knysna DA Facebook page, and I was banned.
45.11. On 3 August 2017, Bredell lied about the ISDF to the Provincial Legislature, telling them that investigations had cleared the ISDF.
There remains no clarity on the ISDF. The intention is to go ahead with it though that has not been stated publicly. Parts are rumoured to have been secretly followed.
Often an excuse for deviancy is to state a tender was illegal but the work was done so there is no recommendation for recovery of monies spent. It becomes a legalised get-out-of-jail free card. That cannot apply here because the ISDF decides the future of Knysna, where businesses will be placed, where humans will settle, roads built etc. In the hands of those without conflict of interest, controversial local property developers who had tried to change the urban edge to make bigger profits, the result may have been different. And that’s before further conflict of interest in which Mulder’s wife and son were involved.
47.1. All monies must be recovered.
47.2. Officials must be held to account for making early payment and for paying more than the tender quote.
47.3. Bredell and others must be held to account for blatantly ignoring Treasury’s report. The tender award was fraud.
47.4. The ISDF must be readvertised.
47.5. The cost of the advertisement and the winning tender amount, if higher, must be extracted from the officials and councillors involved.
L. THE VALUABLE EAST HEAD MUNICIPAL BUILDINGS TENDERS
As a geographical location, the East Head is the second most well-known icon, after Knysna Estuary. It is on most tourist itineraries, the destinations being its lookout point on top, and its base which is where the Indian Ocean meets the estuary. On public land curated by the Knysna Municipality, are a scenic deck and walkway, toilets, a shop and two restaurants with a parking lot in between. This land and the buildings are owned by the people of Knysna who have essentially entrusted the Municipality to look after it for them. However, it has meant the loss of millions, so mishandled that part is currently not in operation.
Collectively, this asset is/was referred to as the “East Head lease”. The active restaurant is the East Head Café. The other, which closed, was Cornuti’s Ristorante but was then renamed Senza). Cornuti’s won the previous tender but fell R4-million in arrears. Court battles are rumoured to have summed the total loss to R7-million. No municipal officials have been held accountable for the loss.
The East Head Café was in the uncomfortable position of subletting, paying rent to Cornuti’s which did not pay the Municipality. However, the East Head lease ended on 31 December 2016. This is the one of the most expensive public property assets in Knysna yet the Knysna Municipality excluded public participation and failed to put it out to tender. Instead, they gave a separate lease to the current sub-lessee, Alburger No 74 CC (which trades as the East Head Café), which commenced on 1 January 2017. That was a 3-year lease with an option to renew for a further 3 years. I assume that option was taken, meaning it would have another 29 months to go. Effectively, it was given a 6-year lease.
The issue captured my attention when I attended the 6 December 2016 Ordinary Council Meeting. Therein, there was an extraordinary happening in the public interest. Acting Chief Financial Officer Lourie Fourie stated that he was duty bound to report the Council for pushing the lease through. He referred to his 7-page ‘physical’ report which the Ordinary Council Meeting had excluded from the agenda. He was bizarrely belittled, publicly scolded that he was not a lawyer and the gravity of his position ignored. The Democratic Alliance (DA), with support from the Knysna Unity Congress (KUC), African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and Independent/DA coalition partner Velile Waxa, approved the lease.
Knysna Municipality denied me a copy of the recording of the Council Meeting but I took notes:
52.1. Marlene Boyce (then Acting Director Planning) stated that the asset value was approximately R9-million and thus the East Head Café section could be valued at half that, R4.5m to R4.6m (this is problematic and will be addressed further on).
52.2. Peter Myers (DA Deputy Mayor): Not worth over R10-million so asset transfer regulations do not apply.
52.3. Elrick van Aswegen (COPE): How is it possible that such a prime property is only worth that?
52.4. Victor Malosi (ANC): This application did not comply with full BEE. She [Mayor] misled us. Not BEE, only 1 shareholder.
52.5. Eleonore Spies (DA Mayor): I never said that they were “fully BEE compliant”. I said that regards an “aspect” i.e. That there was a black shareholder.
52.6. It was stated that the black shareholder is Nicholas Njozela and works for the state as the Principle of Percy Mdala High School. He owns only 1% of Alburger No 74 CC t/a East Head Café.
52.7. Victor Malosi (ANC): Stated that “SCM s44” must be complied with.
52.8. Malosi wanted the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to comment. There was objection from Myers. Van Aswegen wanted the report from Melony Paulsen, the Acting Director Corporate Services (also the Legal Adviser to the Municipality).
52.9. Paulsen condoned the lease, saying that it was not a procurement process or an award.
52.10. Victor Malosi (ANC): “It’s obvious that we care less for people coming from a previously disadvantaged background.”
52.11. Louis Fourie (CFO) [quote/paraphrase]: “I will not belabour the point. Prior to the item before the MAYCO, there was complete disagreement between officials. I went to the effort of making a 7-page report based on legislation and the Council’s own immovable property policy. I requested the MAYCO to include my report before Council which they did not. It is my honest opinion that this recommendation is disregarding the MFMA. In my opinion, it will lead to irregular and wasteful expenditure. In the event that the accounting officer proceeds, I, as the responsible official, must immediately report it. That’s my responsibilty as CFO and I shall do so accordingly.”
52.12. Peter Myers (DA): “I object in the strongest possible manner… I protest in the strongest possible terms to the speech you allowed the CFO to make. I do not believe that in terms of the MFMA the CFO is allowed to directly influence the Council. He disagrees with the legal advice we received. He will agree that he is not a lawyer…”
52.13. [Someone in the ANC]: ” I don’t understand how we cannot take advice from the CFO.”
52.14. Victor Malosi [ANC]: “Is there any particular reason why the CFO’s comments were not incorporated into this agenda?”
52.15. It was stated by the DA that there had been much discussion already in the MAYCO and that the reports the Paulsen and Boyce had delivered to Acting Municipal Manager Bevan Ellman were done so orally i.e. no written report.
52.16. Elrick van Aswegen (COPE): “Here’s an opportunity, for the first time in the history for our municipality, where a black business could run a business at a strategic point.”
52.17. ANC: “We want to condemn this in the strongest terms possible. S14 must be applied.”
52.18. The lease was approved [b20].
An informant provided me CFO Louis Fourie’s ‘s argument [b21] against the lease. I summarise his main points:
53.1. Section 40 of the Supply Chain Management Regulations stipulates as follows: Disposal Management: 40.1 a supply chain management policy must provide for an effective system of disposal management for the disposal OR letting of assets…
53.2. Section 5.3 pf the Management of Immovable Property Policy [b22] stipulates that: In terms of section 40 of the Municipal Supply Chain Management regulations, a Municipal Supply Chain policy must provide for an effective system of disposable management for the disposal and letting of assets. For that purpose of immovable assets of the municipality, this policy must be seen as the disposal management policy of the municipality.
53.3. The Management of Immovable Property Policy states that: “disposal” also means “letting” /and/ “private treaty” means “disposal without public competition as defined in the MFMA to a non-government entity”.
53.4. This disposal must be done: “The Property Management Section is responsible for the administration of this policy, and shall, in this regard, in consultation with the supply chain Management Unit of the Municipality, be responsible for the administration of the competitive bidding process relating to the disposal and leasing of the Municipality’s land.”
53.5. The “key consideration is that of the interests of the municipality (and thus its residents) rather than that of individuals should be paramount… there should be maximum benefit to the municipality, its operational requirements and the broader community.”
53.6. Core Principles: In terms of section 14(5) of the MFMA, a letting “must be fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and consistent with the Municipality’s SCM policy.” This process must be done by means of public competition and at market value except when the public interest or the plight of the poor demands otherwise.
53.7. The Municipal Manager shall conduct a public participation process in respect of Non-High Value Disposals (under R10-million).
53.8. Management of Competitive Bids: “For property values above R1 million (incl. of VAT)”, the Municipal Manager “shall establish committees for the preparation of bid documents” and “the evaluation and adjudiction of such bids”. NOTE – the East Head Café’s non-escalated rental amount for 3 years is R1.44-million.
53.9. It is the role of the Bid Adjudication Committee (BAC) to consider and approve all competitive bids between R200,000 and R10-million.
53.10. The CFO proposed that a 6-month lease be granted so that the public participation and tender process could be completed.
There appeared to be a preordained decision to favour the owner of East head Café. Legal Advisor Melony Paulsen was obstructive. Councillor Peter Myers was vigorously unprofessional in emails to me. Acting Director Planning Boyce was obviously on his side in the argument. Attorney Susan Campbell, from the Knysna Ratepayers’ Association, was best friends with Boyce and Myers. She argued for them online. I counter her argument lest the Municipality uses it to the COGTA.
54.1 Susan Campbell argument must be compared to the CFO’s.
54.2. Campbell stated that there was a difference between “disposal” and “leasing”. However, the CFO’s argument is that the Management of Immovable Property Policy states that “disposal” also means “letting”.
54.3. Campbell stated that section 21 of the Supply Chain Management Policy of the Knysna Municipality allows for “Private Treaty”, making open bidding (i.e. tendering) unnecessary. Outside of estate agents selling by private treaty, it must be asked what is “private treaty” and what rules governs the introduction of such special circumstance?
54.4. Campbell’s point that the East Head Café lease complies as a sustainable economic return to the Municipality is valid. She does not explain why that would not be so if, for example, another restaurant owner occupied the premises after fair tender. Or, if put out to tender, if it were possible that the current tenants would offer more money i.e. greater benefit to the public.
54.5. The property asset was valued at under R10-million and the lease is 3 years, thus not having to be advertised. For Campbell to be correct, she would have to first win the argument on whether the definition of “disposal” includes “leasing” or not.
54.6. Additionally, the renewable lease seemed to be convenient way of making a 6-year lease appear like a 3-year lease.
54.7. The argument for deviation from competitive bidding is through private treaty because the “transaction will be exceptionally beneficial to, or have exceptional cost advantages for the Municipality which would not be realised if a competitive process were to be followed by the Municipality”. Campbell did not explain how the Municipality can determine the future, proving that all possible bidders wouldn’t be beneficial.
54.8. It is indisputable that the East Head Café is a benefit to our town. It is an exceptionally well run and well-regarded restaurant. However, it also benefits from its location, one of the best, if not the best, location in Knysna.
Although the 1% shareholder appeared to be window-dressing, he is still the principal of a school. Section 44 of the Municipal Supply Chain Management Regulations prohibits persons in the employ of the state to do business with municipalities.
56.1. The approval of the lease was made by Acting Municipal Manager Bevan Ellman who, the same day, gave 1-months’ notice of his resignation from the Knysna Municipality. He has little incentive to be accountable for his decision.
56.2. Ellman had only been Acting Municipal Manager for 2 months. He was inexperienced.
56.3. Ellman’s predecessor, Carl Mattheus, quit after only 1 month, claiming political interference in his job.
56.4. No one was permanently occupying the positions of Municipal Manager, Chief Financial Officer, Director Corporate Services and Director Planning & Development. It was a handicapped municipality at great risk of political interference.
56.5. The Budget Officer and Municipal Manager were suspended.
Supply Chain Manager Fredri Kruger’s argument was missing. What was her justification for approving this lease?
58.1. The debate over lease terms and the properties’ value seemed interlinked. The ‘under R10-million’ R9-million value means that there were less hoops for the lease to jump through.
58.2. The ‘under R10-million’ value was emphasised by the DA and Marlene Boyce when the East Head Café was considered to be half the valuation, 4->4.6-million. Conflictingly, the valuation has it at R5.3-million.
58.3. It is reasonable to be confused at the low price of the East Head. An empty plot in Buffalo Bay fetched the municipality R15-million in 2015. This plot has two major buildings which include 2 restaurants, 3 decks, a shop, and a parking lot. Considering its location, it could be said to be unique, even priceless. Why is it that the valuer compared it to cheap buildings in town and to the Knysna Waterfront which has a vast array of shops with apparently different deals, some based on their earnings. It is well known that Knysna Mall, with no view, is the more expensive place to let. Even the municipality pays R100,000 per month for what is called the ‘Standard Bank’ building in town. The valuator seemed to deliberately aim for a lower value.
Best Deal: Outside of the evaluation, the goal must be to get as much money as possible. Giving the ‘shop’ to East Head Café as a storeroom for only R1200p/m was unlikely the best deal for the public.
The Immovable Property Policy emphasises BEE immediately with: “The inquitable spread of ownership of property throughout the municipal area and the historical causes thereof are recognized, and Council acknowledges that it has a leading role to play in redressing these imbalances by ensuring that the immovable property assets under its control are dealt with in a manner that ensures the greatest possible benefit to the Municipality and the community that it serves…” and continues on the same page with…
From its first page, the Immovable Property Policy conflicts with the act of awarding the East Head Café lease.
61.1 It includes “letting” under the definition of “disposal” (pg5).
61.2. It states that “public interest” means disposal or letting to:
- a) promote the achievement of equality by taking measures to protect or advance persons or categories of persons, disadvantaged by unfair discrimination;
- b) afford black people who are South African citizens a preference in respect of the disposal and letting of immovable property as envisaged in Section 9(2) of the Constitution;
- c) promote BBBEE through disposal and letting.
Does the Finance Department of the Knysna Municipality refer to rentals of public land as “asset disposal”? It is repeatedly clear that the Immovable Property Policy does.
Does an unsolicited bid require comment or approval from Provincial Treasury?
The profitability aspect cannot be ignored. Considering the papers that East Head Café submitted when applying for the lease, the annual turnover may exceed R15-million annually. Whoever runs a restaurant from that location has the chance of getting rich.
In para 10 above, I stated that the other restaurant was Senza.
65.1. The owner was eventually evicted.
65.2. Millions lost and no one held accountable.
65.3. Worsening the situation is that the building that housed it has sat empty the past 2-3 years. It is possible that R2-million in rates and taxes has been lost.
65.4. At one stage, it was put out to tender by Melony Paulsen but I was told that was a sham. That seemed true after a business contacted Paulsen on 7 December 2016. Paulsen told them to wait for the tender to be advertised, and that she would be informed when it was. That allegedly never happened. But the offer meant an immediate loss to Knysna. Knysna Municipality was offered R55,000 per month, R220,000 rent and deposit in advance, and three months’ rates in advance. The prospective tenant only asked for a three-month lease with an option to renew on a month-to-month basis thereafter and stated that they would voluntarily agree to vacate the premises two months after the tender winner has been announced.
65.4. No lease was awarded.
65.5. What is the condition of the building now?
65.6. What has been the goal in keeping it empty? Is someone going to score other than the one restaurant without competition?
M. SEDGEFIELD (KNYSNA) DESALINATION PLANT
Is the Sedgefield desalination plant wasteful and fruitless expenditure?
It was built in 2009 at a cost of R16-million and has cost millions more to maintain but has never supplied water because we were told the cost would be too high.
One month before the Great Knysna Fire in 2017, James-Brent Styan‚ spokesperson for DA Local Government MEC Anton Bredell contradictory said that the Sedgefield desalination plant was operating at full capacity to alleviate the situation in the region “but is unable to provide water directly to Knysna”.
Early 2017, I had an email conversation [b23] with Tom Callaghan, Head of Group Business Development, and the Divisional Director of GTEK (Pty) Ltd Water, the company that had installed the plant. He seemed to mistake my position because he hoped that I could influence the Municipality to use his company again. He said, “DWS and The Water Research Commission to upgrade the plant with new technology and service and maintain it properly. The upgrade would be at NO cost to them, and price of water would be within current municipal rates. We never heard back from the municipality. Very frustrating for us”.
Why would Knysna Municipality choose to waste millions on operating a desalination water plant that it is not using when it could switch providers and put it to use in a water scarce area?
If the reverse osmosis plant mentioned here is the same desalination plant, then COMAF 25, in the AG’s Financial Management Report 2019 may contain relevance. T29 of 2018/19’s was deemed to suffer from control deficiency resulting from advertising not meeting regulation standards.
How much has it cost to maintain it since inception?
Tom Callaghan said that there was another plant in Knysna. How much did that cost to build and maintain?
In the bigger context, we know that the Western Cape has had desalination controversies.
Who is benefiting from the existence of desalination plants in Knysna?
N: WARD ALLOCATIONS DISTRIBUTED BY COUNCILLORS
I do not recall the year of initiation, but it may have been 2016. R2-million of capital expenditure was allocated to each Ward Councillor to choose what they wished to happen in their wards. That rose to R3.5-million in 2018. I do not know the current figure.
As projects are not designated before budgeting, the practice must be considered irregular expenditure, even more so because politicians are barred from interfering in the Administration.
It is money that can easily buy populism rather than what is most needed for the Ward collectively. It encourages favouritism.
78.1. I attended a Ward 10 committee meeting where some monies were dispensed at member’s whims, without submission from the public e.g. they decided to fix the pavement outside one restaurant (which could be interpreted as favouritism) and place a park bench by the Knysna Estuary.
78.2. Cronyism was amplified by on 27 November 2017 when the DA, as promoted by Mayor Spies, approved Councillor Velile Waxa deviating to buy R250,000 worth of soccer gear [b24->b27].
78.2.1. That was not capital expenditure.
78.2.2. It was rumoured to be a bribe which must be taken seriously considering that the DA had secretly given him funds before the 2016 Local Government Election, and then made him their coalition partner thereafter. In 2018, two years after the election, DA Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela stated that Waxa would be joining the DA. DA Councillor Martin Young stated on Facebook that Waxa had signed up 200 new members to the DA. They then delayed action against him after he threatened a woman in Public and interfered in a tender. He was then found guilty of organising the assassination of ANC Chief Whip Victor Malosi.
O: ALLEGED KICKBACKS TO DEPUTY MAYOR AUBREY TSENGWA
Aubrey Tsengwa was a local law enforcement officer when a 27 March 2013 disciplinary process found him guilty of misconduct for being involved in a physical fight at an ANC meeting in a municipal library hall. A long process of objection began. I attach a 16 April 2015 High Court document as reference [b28].
79.1. Has the process completed? If not, why not? If yes, when did it end and why did it take so long?
79.2. How much has the Tsengwa case cost Knysna Municipality i.e. the Public. It is rumoured to be over R2-million.
79.3. Has anyone unduly benefitted from the costly delays?
79.4. Has Tsengwa, as an ANC member, received special treatment. Notably, he became a Councillor and then Deputy Mayor. As there was no Mayor owing to a DA faction fight, Tsengwa was the de facto Mayor for 9 months. In June 2020, he led the ANC in voting for COPE Councillor Elrick van Aswegen to become Mayor, in coalition with the ANC i.e. Tsengwa has influence.
COGTA has the 4-page list of allegations against CFO Mbulelo Memani by the (currently suspended) Municipal Manager Sitembile Vatala. It was dated 5 February 2020. It included questions relating to Deputy Mayor Tsengwa, and builds on the rumour that CFO Mbulelo Memani was in league with Tsengwa, funnelling money to the ANC. For convenience, I have attached the relevant page with item “u.” which was: “Tsengwa trading as Civil was paid on 12 december 2019 an amount of 50,000 and again on 20 december 2019 an amount of R61,875. It is alleged that the Deputy Mayor receives kickbacks from this entity.” [b30->b33]
80.1. The law requires a disciplinary process to decide innocence or guilt. Did the Knysna Municipality follow procedure?
80.2. Has Tsengwa through the same entity or any other entity received other payments.
80.3. If work was provided, what was it and did Tsengwa notify the Municipality of the company’s connection to him?
80.4. If no work was provided, what has been done to retrieve the monies?
P. THE DBSA LOAN
When Knysna Municipality was reported as being in a financial crisis this past February, it was stated that last year’s R50-million cash flow positive had become this year’s R200-million negative. It would have required exceptionally negative effort on the part of CFO Mbulelo Memani to accomplish that. How it happened needs to be investigated from all angles. These will assist:
81.1. The 4-pages of allegation queries by MM Sitembile Vatala to CFO Memani are in your possession but I reattach for your easy reference [b30->b33]. Points “s” and “t” mentioned that R11-million paid to Sakhikaya Suppliers was unauthorised. I believe this was referring to the supply of water meters. The following irregular tendering is likely related. The November 2019 purchase of prepaid water meters cost R15,215,797. It was not budgeted for nor approved by Council.
81.2. The CFO allegedly used budget over-rides and investments to cover up the fraud that was occurring. These items require detailed investigation.
81.3. A DBSA loan for R71-million played a pivotal role in deepening the crisis that politicians used as a weapon. It is possible that DBSA was a willing participant. COGTA can fill in the blanks in between:
81.3.1. Although there are two different items involving R71-million, I think that the correct one was approved at the 23 April 2020 Council Meeting [b34]. After AMM Michele Gratz announced she was quitting, requested provincial administration, and then tried to become the Administrator, DBSA postponed the loan [b35].
81.3.2. Why did CFO Memani begin projects the loan was meant for before the loan was received? Who benefited? It is alleged that approximately R30-million was already spent.
81.3.3. Was the DBSA loan meant to cover up shortfalls in any other projects?
81.3.4. The finalisation of the budget was postponed twice because of DA objecting to the budget having not being adjusted to reflect the loan’s absence.
81.3.5. The Council never questioned the CFO regards his advance spending, not even after I emailed the query to AMM Louis Scheepers and Mayor Elrick van Aswegen [b36].
81.3.6. The loan itself was not reason alone to postpone the finalisation of the budget. It was part of the DA’s plot to seize power, but it is unnecessary for me to detail that here.
81.3.7. DBSA refused to answer my queries which had included me sending them background which included the 4-pages of allegations against CFO Memani. When Scheepers became AMM, I queried DBSA whether they would give him preferential treatment considering that Scheepers used to work for them.
81.3.8. As nothing had changed (except the arrival of Scheepers), it was to be expected that the budget would fail to be approved at the third Council meeting. Instead, Scheepers quietly said that the loan would happen. That he was not questioned or asked for proof, and that the budget was approved, likely meant that there was political agreement behind closed doors.
81.3.9. Did DBSA give the loan? If so, when? And why would they when it was clear that Knysna was in a financial crisis with a CFO who was corrupt?
81.3.10. It is illogical for a Municipality to take on debt during a crisis caused by corruption. The situation required investigation and understanding, not money to cover up the problem, and not R31-million in interest that would further burden the citizens of Knysna.
81.3.11. Part of that clarity would include knowing what investments CFO Memani used as collateral, were they allowed for that purpose, and was such usage approved by Council?
Q: COMPLAINTS & INFORMATION OBSTRUCTION
This is request for Knysna Municipality’s complaints, queries and PAIA system to be audited. Their obstruction is necessary attribute for their corruption. If I had been acknowledged, it stands to reason that they would have had to act. Instead, tens of millions have been misused and lost. Before I list specific examples, I provide background.
If a complaint or query is filed, it is the Constitutional duty for Knysna Municipality to respond. It is my understanding that if the complaint involves maladministration or corruption valued greater than R150,000, a manager working for local government is duty-bound under PRECCA to report it to the SAPS.
Knysna Municipality uses the Collab system to monitor complaints and enquiries.
When the DA established the Eden Corruption Hotline, it was a farce. My complaints against maladministration and crime implicating the DA were simply ignored. Follow-ups were fruitless. Corruption lines pretend to fill a Constitutional duty but are likely to ignore major corruption involving the main power faction.
It would appear to be unconstitutional for Knysna Municipality or any Government to restrict how complaints can be received for them to be considered legitimate e.g. via a generic edress rather than to the Municipal Manager or Mayor. There is a major difference between reporting a pothole and a corrupt CFO.
This year, Knysna Municipality stated that only one edress or the corruption cellphone app could be used. The Audit Executive of this corruption ‘hotline’ is Chief Audit Executive Walter McCartney who is a long-time employee known to avoid conflict. He has been aware of many issues via emails from me but never responded or acted. Additionally, as reported, CFO Memani is corrupt, and several managers are illegally employed and/or receiving unlawful gains. An inactive McCartney cannot be trusted.
Knysna Municipality is a corrupt Government that hates me for repeatedly exposing their corruption. I no longer pretend to hide my disgust when dealing with them.
88.1. Many of its politicians and their cronies have taken me to court to try break and silence me.
88.2. Enlisted SALGA in a plot for Government to sue me.
88.3. Issued propaganda against me.
88.4. Previously banned on municipal Twitter, had comments removed from their Facebook, and my email addresses blocked on and off.
88.5. On the rare occasion I am given a reference number, I am not answered.
88.6. PAIA’s are denied with flimsy reasoning. The official who deals with PAIA is Manager Legal Services Melony Paulsen. As I have exposed and criticised her, she is obviously going to be unhelpful.
88.7. On 5 March, then Acting Municipal Manager Michele Gratz stated in a municipal, press release that “We need the community’s assistance to ensure that we can thoroughly investigate any reported instance or suspicion and resolve it effectively.” As she clearly had not acted against the deeply corrupted Financial Services department, she merely became the latest in a long stream of liars.
A full forensic investigation is required but a few of my personal examples can be used so that it can be determined how unresolved queries are marked as ‘done’ or ‘not done’.
I cannot find the news item, but I think that it was in April 2020, in then Acting Municipal Manager Gratz’s third month of contract. She stated that, under her, thousands of Collab complaints, most of the backlog, had been cleared. That would seem implausible unless they were simply and incorrectly marked as resolved. For example, I have not received response on many dozens over the years. How were thousands suddenly and successfully acted upon?
Examples of unresolved complaints that were given a Collab reference:
91.1. Collab 614129 (2017.02.28) – Regarding the possibly illegality of allocating R20m to Ward Committees, each receiving R2m as its discretionary spending [b38].
91.2. Collab 624393 (2017.04.12) – Questioning if and why Budget Manager Avitha Sunkar suspended [b39].
91.3. Collab 623978 (2017.04.13) – Family members of Mayor Spies and Director Adonis allegedly given temporary contracts [b40].
91.4. Collab 624791 (2017.04.20) – Political and advertising bias by Knysna Municipality which used its official Facebook to stand against President Zuma, and repeatedly promote a movie. It also was a follow-up regarding the illegal contracting of Mayor Spies’ friend, Fran Kirsten, as Manager Communications [b41].
91.5. Collab 707089 (2018.05.23) – Querying the unannounced appearance of SALGA’s Lance Joel in a Knysna Council Meeting to state official support for suing me as a citizen [b42].
91.6. Collab 870979 (2020.07.20) – Querying Financial Services being captured and detailing illegal appointments and illegal financial rewards [b43].
Examples of unresolved complaints that were sent to an official but never given a Collab reference:
92.1. This is the recording of the conference call involving Mayor Elrick van Aswegen, Acting Municipal Manager Louis Scheepers and me. I had a long list of issues to address but their goal was clearly to be obstructionist and not personally accept responsibility for complaints. Even the two I squeezed in, the allegedly stolen Knysna Fire donations and De Swardt Myambo report, were blocked [b44 & b45].
92.2. 2018.01.24 – NCOP went nowhere. After three hearings, they stopped responding to me. The Committee’s investigator got a job with the DA. Consequently, when Kam Chetty became Municipal Manager, I sent him evidence of the corruption that was reported to NCOP. I included proof of the propaganda campaign against me by councillors. I registered it to ensure it arrived. He never responded [b46->b48]. Notably, he was the DA’s Administrator in Oudtshoorn before his redeployment.
92.3. 2016.08.15 – Elephant in the Room: This involves 4 issues which mostly remain current and show how unattended problems create more problems [b49].
92.3.1. Wayne Sternsdorf was allegedly hired through cronyism to become Sedgefield Station Commander. The selection panel included his friend Fire Chief Clinton Manuel. Both had left Cape Town under scandal. It is important if either disclosed their conflict of interest and that Sternsdorf had quit Cape Town during a disciplinary hearing in which he was alleged to have put a noose around a black cadet’s neck and made him act like a dog.
92.3.2. Rowan Spies was clearly implicated in graft and fraud by the Mazar’s Report in 2011 yet it was buried by the DA. His wife would later become the DA’s Mayor and she is now in the National Assembly. Her name was also mentioned in the report with regards a joint account that allegedly receive money that was to be passed on as graft. Both Spies’ has never been held accountable. Rowan Spies is currently a Mayoral Committee Member in the Garden Route District Municipality which oversees Knysna.
92.3.3. Dr Martin Young was a DA councillor, and a primary figure in the intimidation campaign I suffered for exposing corruption.
92.3.4. Advocate Julie Seton was a primary figure in the propaganda and intimidation campaign against me, and a partner of Dr Young’s. Her goal was to defend corruption, the DA and her married partner who was the Deputy Mayor when this mess began. Seton would continue to be involved against me after this complaint. She and Dr Young would go on to create and use a fake psychiatric diagnosis of me as a sociopath and a danger to children which ran concurrent with propaganda of me as a child abuser.
92.3.5. Mayoral Committee Assistant Heidi Vogel signed for the copies I left for each councillor. Most are current representatives which includes the promotion of Titi Gombo to Speaker, Elrick van Aswegen to Mayor and Eleanore Spies to the National Assembly [b50].
92.4. There has never been an accounting for my valuation roll query and complaint of 21 March 2017 [b51 & b52]. It is possible that the preceding Collab 616677, dated 7 March 2017, relates [b53]. The following three Knysna Municipal staff and representatives had houses strangely and grossly undervalued on the valuation roll.
92.4.1. Director Community Services Dawie Adonis (still employed but in different position).
92.4.2. Councillor Peter Myers (quit this year).
92.4.3. Anthony Morgan (was in Financial Services but may have left).
On 6 March 2020, AMM Gratz posted on Knysna Municipality’s. She requested that the Public report corruption and stated there is a cellphones app we can use which would inform the Chief Audit Executive (which is Walter McCartney) [b54].
93.1. The issues I have exposed are well known to members of the Public who follow the Municipal news. Concurrently, it is well known that 10 years of corruption has not been acted upon. Several commentators expressed disbelief that it would amount to accountability.
93.2. Another pointed out that no one was held accountable for the 20% scarce skills allowance that was illegally granted to directors.
93.3. Two commentators said that the app was not working.
93.4. Relevant to an audit of complaints is that I used their Facebook post to prove that they do not act against corruption. For one month, I posted queries and links to my blogs about corruption (which were also sent to the Municipality). To ensure that they could not be unaware, I tagged Knysna Municipality several times, and addressed manager Communications Christopher Bezuidenhout whose responsibility would include social media pages. Knysna Municipality must explain why they did not accept this reporting of corruption.
93.5. Previously, on 26 July 2019, I informed Knysna Municipality of my Easy Guide to Corruption [b55 & b56] which summarised the main items of corruption I had exposed and reported and had been persecuted for. This is a read receipt from Walter McCartney who never responded [b57].
The rules of order for the Knysna Council allow a member of the Public to address the Council [b58]. Notably, as one the main submitters of serious complaints (which are often double as exposes), I have never had a Speaker respond positively.
94.1. On 28 November 2019, I requested of Speaker Titi Gombo that I be allowed to address Council [b59 & b60].
94.2. “The topics would be unfinished matters relating to the De Swardt report, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Opinion, the illegal ISDF tender, obstruction of PAIA and more. I will also address the persecution I’ve suffered for exposing municipal and political sins against our town. Although you’ve long held my summary in your possession, I reattach for convenient context.”
94.3. She never responded and would not do so when I phoned her. Three follow-ups to Mayoral Assistant Kirsty Hofhuis were ignored [d16b]. How are such requests filed?
Manager Legal Services Melony Paulsen, as previously stated and shown, is corrupt. She, like Communications Manager Christopher Bezuidenhout, blocks information that reflects poorly on the corrupt Knysna Municipality. Paulsen does so as the official responsible for PAIA requests.
95.1. I submitted 32 PAIA in the Public Interest over the period 2016-2020. I was mostly denied information on flimsy pretext. When I received partial information, it would be the uncontroversial bits.
95.2. My queries often related to corruption that would be proven later e.g. the illegal appointments of Manager Communications Fran Kirsten, Director Dawie Adonis and Municipal Manager Kam Chetty.
95.3. COGTA can perform an accountability check regards:
95.3.1. Knysna Municipality obstructively and illegally raising the PAIA fee from R35 to R150.
95.3.2. Rejecting a form that I made that complies with all legislation, is a copy of a national form, but better than the form Knysna Municipality uses because it allows more space to fill in the complaint.
95.3.3. Most importantly, the PAIA report that all local governments must annually submit to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC). My PAIA regards that was ignored but the SAHRC told me in 2018 that Knysna Municipality had never done so.
How does the handling of complaints compare to the attitude and time frames established by Knysna Municipality’s Customer Care Policy, Customer Service Charter and Integrity Management Framework? There is also the Local Government Anti-Corruption Strategy to consider.
R: PETUNA’S POSSIBLE ILLEGAL APPOINTMENT
Some of the major problems Knysna Municipality has faced started with the appointments of people into high positions despite them being under scandal and allegation at the place of their previous employment. That worsens when those questionable people are then responsible for approving similarly questionable staff.
On 5 September 2019, the Knysna-Plett Herald reported that Knysna DA Constituency Head Dion George had objected to the appointment of Lindile Petuna as Manager Human Settlements [b61].
98.1. A book about corruption stated that Petuna was accused of having misled the Nelson Mandela Bay Council 133 times. He quit during his disciplinary and was hired in Knysna.
98.2. Municipal Manager Sitembile Vatala, who appointed Petuna, is currently suspended.
Was the correct procedure followed for Petuna’s appointment and were the allegations against him disclosed as legally required?
S: KNYSNA MUNICIPALITY ASSESSMENT REPORT
Knysna Municipality would be in better health if it had paid attention to the Western Cape Government’s September 2018 Knysna Municipality Assessment Report [b62] and the consequent 53-page November 2018 Support Plan [b63].
It would also have avoided new controversies e.g. the Support Plan, on page 7, stated: “Protect the integrity of the Municipal Planning Tribunal (MPT). Investigate allegations and any other matters that may negatively impact on the credibility of the MPT or the appeal process and address the findings.” The Municipality’s strange interpretation of that was to appoint Manager Human Settlements Lindile Petuna to the Tribunal whilst Attorney Susan Campbell, who had stood against the illegal ISDF tender, was kicked off.
T: ‘SAME SHIT, DIFFERENT GOVERNMENT’ BOOK
I released my book, ‘Same Shit, Different Government: Part 1 – The Corruption & the Intimidation’ in March 2019 [b64]. The title mocks the DA for pointing fingers at the National ANC, away from itself, whilst it was robbing and hurting Knysna with the other hand. It is the first in an intended trilogy. It details how I became an activist, the corruption I discovered, and the realisation that the DA was not the clean, transparent, anti-corruption party it portrayed itself to be. It mostly deals with MEC Anton Bredell and the corrupt ISDF tender, then MEC Alan Winde and the illegal funding of the Section 21 company named Knysna Tourism, the intimidation I suffered as consequence, and how people such as Helen Zille did not help, and instead joined the cover-up.
As a digital book, it is linked to evidence on my website. I have uploaded that separately for COGTA [b65].
A pdf copy of the book was sent to over 100 DA politicians, including Helen Zille and the DA Federal Executive. As of today, it has been downloaded for free 2608 times [b66]. It is the first book about DA corruption.
Besides my meetings, many emails and read receipts, the book is further evidence that the DA was aware of the corruption but did not act. They knowingly allowed my life to be destroyed because cover-up, and protecting those involved, was more important.
Download from Dropbox.
The Hawks, SALGA and the Office of the Public Protector are corrupt. Legal Aid, the SAHRC, NCOP and the Courts appear to protect the DA. COGTA previous failed too.
With no Government ‘oversight’ body willing to punish the past 10 years, Knysna Municipality has become a toxic environment that serves and protects itself to the detriment of the Public. Historical crimes cannot be separated from current because they are inextricably entwined. Those who left scandal for new jobs became an advertisement for the fact that the odds are even in the favour of the losers. Worse are those that remained for they became the de facto defence for colleagues and bosses choosing themselves over the town. They are a criminal network, with salaries as bribes and protection as patronage.
There are no political parties in Knysna. Most shouting under an ANC or DA flag are theatre. There are both factions within the parties and cross-party factions. Consequently, for example, the transition of Eleanore Spies from ANC Mayor to DA Mayor was seamless. Although often one unit when protecting crime within, when loyalties shift or there is a challenger to a faction head, the fighting can shine a light on a corner of truth e.g. a DA faction fight produced the De Swardt Vogel Myambo report and the Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr opinion (both detailed hereunder). Hypocritically, the same councillors who previously refused to help me with several of the issues involved then used those as weapons against their colleagues to try keep their jobs. However, their damning facts damned no one. The circus ring turned, and life, in the bigger picture, continued more corrupt than before, turning the enormous cost of those actions into never-to-be declared wasteful expenditure.
I need the readers of these documents to understand that there is a severe consequence when failing to proportionately address wrongdoing. A councillor was assassinated, and it is arguable that the hundreds of millions that have been wasted over the long term have indirectly killed many more. It is guaranteed that the sale of properties and manhole loans for corruption have ensured the next generation’s future will be far less in quality than it should have been.
Please be dutiful.