Ray Barrell was immediately in the hot seat as he chaired the Knysna Government and Economic Development Committee Meeting for the first time. It was his add-on duty after he was elected to the powerful MAYCO (Mayoral Committee) last week.
There were two items on the agenda, the proposed skate park for George Rex Drive and the sale of Erf 65 in Buffalo Bay. The skate park became a metaphor for government incompetence and failure that will be addressed in another blog. Let’s first discuss the controversial sale of the prime beachfront property in Buffalo Bay.
Knysna is subject to major issues that South Africa experiences as a whole: 6 million taxpayers cannot support 16 million social grants forever; we’re riding a financial rollercoaster on wobbily tracks built by countries far bigger than us who want to abuse us, not help us. Our microcosm is ironic in that the better Knysna Municipality delivers services the more likely the town will attract people who have less elsewhere. Knysna has been shielded, somewhat, by Plettenberg Bay which has suffered the most from the influx of people from a destitute Eastern Cape… but Knysna is only 30km away.
Knysna Municipality has no money. Recently “we” took more loans (R15million) and, in the process, discovered that some banks wouldn’t consider “our” request (i make a point here of “us” and “we” because we vote for the politicians in charge and the Knysna Municipality works for us). We’re radically behind on our infrastructure needs (a billion shortfall estimated over the next 15 years) and that situation has no remedy i.e. the backlog will increase. As much as housing is needed, how can a house become a home without jobs?
So to band-aid the situation, the Knysna Municipality is desperately raising money by selling one of it’s properties, Erf 65 in Buffalo Bay. It’s a topic that had “racism” yelled in the Council Chambers this past Wednesday. It’s even more controversial than that.
In Part 2 we discuss the hypocrisy of COPE and claims of DA racism.