MEC Anton Bredell, so there’s check and balance, I’m CCing your right-hand man, Graham Paulse, and Melanie Joffee, Senior Manager with the Western Cape Auditor General’s office. I’ll ask her two important questions near the end. In the interests of justice, I’ll ask you many.
I refer to your letters to Knysna regarding alleged fraud, maladministration and corruption. They were dated 30 April and 23 June 2020. Was your intention for them to fail?
Accountability: “The state of being answerable; responsibility for the fulfilment of obligations; liability to account for conduct, meet or suffer consequences.” – The Century Dictionary
You’re intimately acquainted with Knysna, both as the Western Cape MEC Local Government, and as the Western Cape Democratic Alliance Chairperson. You’re not ignorant. You’re a powerful man who’s deliberate. You’ve interfered in our town before. What was your intention here?
You may have addressed Speaker Titi Gombo, but it’s the Administration that would compile the info you requested. The two most important people who’d be involved in that collection are CFO Mbulelo Memani and Legal Adviser Melony Paulsen. Unfortunately, both are corrupt or, as you may put it, allegedly corrupt. Memani is involved in many of the issues you mention. Paulsen is directly implicated via the De Swardt Vogel Myambo report, and, in the broader picture, she’s the lawyer who doesn’t use the law to protect the citizens of Knysna. She’s more friend to the corrupt than to us (and let’s not forget the ISDF tender wherein she and you, MEC, did us disservice).
The CFO’s Financial Department underlings can’t be used because one was illegally promoted by him, another illegally scored an auctioned property below reserve price, and the one whose probably innocent is still being victimised by an investigation supporting the CFO. The bigger problem is that Council hasn’t suspended him despite 5 months having passed since 4 of 6 pages of charges were levelled at him.
Council is supposed to provide oversight but they’re compromised too.
Mayor Elrick van Aswegen is one of your bullet points. The DA is rumoured to be in collusion with property developers, which would affect the Thesen issue. All the parties allowed the criminals fingered by the De Swardt report to getaway. They’ve also failed to address the allegations against Deputy Mayor Aubrey Tsengwa who gave up his power so that Van Aswegen could become Mayor. He and the CFO are alleged to be involved in a kickback scheme (with rumours that some of that cash went to the ANC REC).
Director Corporate Services Phumla Makoma must also be excused because some things, such as the undervalued property that Memani’s underling received, would have required her signature. Did the R64-million in properties that vanished need it too? It’s also worrying that she and he used to work at the same municipality before they ‘transferred’.
The only qualified people who may not be compromised are Acting Municipal Manager Louis Scheepers and Director Planning Marlene Boyce. I haven’t finalised my opinion about them but was disturbed by Louis refusing to accept my complaints, of which some are the same as those you mentioned.
You, as both MEC and DA Chair, are in severe conflict of interest with integrity in Knysna. And we have the recent example of Oudtshoorn wherein you refused to act against the corruption of the Municipal Manager but instead plotted to illegally take over the town for the benefit of the DA. Your credibility, which is on the floor, has been used as a doormat.
I do not have a copy of your April letter. Will you provide it?
It’s important that your June letter be partially effective than not at all, and that we are assured that it’s not you and Premier Alan Winde subversively seeking proof of dysfunction so that you have another shot at putting Knysna under the administration of the Western Cape, and under your department.
Consequently, I have the following demands:
- Acknowledge the complainants and provide us reference numbers.
- Ask Gombo for proof of all the occasions she’s brought the issues mentioned in your letters to Council, and all who’ve been involved in collecting the information that was needed to respond to you.
- Similarly, address the excluded matters by requesting a list of all other complaints that have been brought before Council, or sent to AMM Scheepers and his predecessor, Gratz.
- Allow the complainants to respond in case you’ve been lied too.
- For impartiality, submit all the information to COGTA Chair Faith Muthambi whom you are aware is currently looking into Knysna and Oudtshoorn.
- If no action, or sufficient action, has been take by Gombo, the Administration and Council, you must provide details and explanation of such to the complainants, and submit to COGTA too.
I’ve deliberately not addressed the issues to avoid repetition but point out that Sakhi’Khaya, who is alleged to be involved in a water tender fraud, is also supplier to the City of Cape Town.
- Your April 23 letter to Speaker Gombo.
- The initial 4-page allegations against CFO Memani (which includes the allegation against Deputy Mayor Tsengwa). Some of these were not included in your letter. Note that it states that there are 2 more pages.
Impartiality is impossible but this will make it harder for anyone to be partial. We cannot erase the storm but we can blow a few clouds away so that Knysna gets a better view of its wounds. That will be further visible if my last questions are answered honestly.
Melanie Joffee, you’re a Senior Manager with the Auditor General. A longstanding problem has been the Auditor General giving the Knysna Municipality a higher rating than it deserves. Despite severe corruption, there were years when it received clean audits which it waived as defence against corruption allegations. It was rumoured that the latest finding was meant to be qualified but was upgraded to unqualified after CFO Memani flew to Cape Town and persuaded your office to change it. It’s possible that a lower audit level would’ve encouraged action, instead of allowing corruption to continue until it forced our town to its knees. Please explain this and, more importantly, how it’ll never happen again. Then make up for it by, this year, by having experienced officers undertake the most intensive audit Knysna Municipality has experienced.
Melanie, why has there never been an accounting for the donations during and after the Great Knysna Fire? How could the biggest fire in our country’s history be trivialised by the Auditor General? Why is that we have never received a payment despite the three-year anniversary having occurred last month? Please help us heal. Live up to your motto of “Auditing to build Public confidence.”
Anton Bredell, you’ve chosen the power of the DA over your service to us as MEC. You approved the illegal tender for property developers to decide Knysna’s future for 30 years. You were slow to act against DA coalition partner Velile Waxa which gave problems more time to fester, and resulted in the assassination of ANC Chief Whip Victor Molosi.
You were also slow regarding the De Swardt report and, as DA Chair, you allowed the incriminated Mayor Eleanore Spies to be promoted to the District, and then up to the National Assembly. It seems to be no coincidence that she’s now the Constituency representative for Oudtshoorn where you’re implicated in sedition. Previously, you gave her husband a seat on the District Mayoral Committee despite the Mazars report against his fraud and graft. Memory Booysen also has a sordid history yet he became District Mayor.
Recently, you offered propaganda to the Media by stataing that you have a zero-tolerance approach toward those who transgress the financial laws governing this province, regardless of political affiliation. That was tailor-made denial. It was lie. You’re politically afflicted.
How can you be trusted as MEC if you, as DA, require compromised individuals working for your organisation?
You’ve ignored me for years – stop. You know I won’t.
- My complaint can be download in its original pdf format.
This is #Day 17 of my 100 Days of Activism against Corruption.