South Africa is a big political prize so don’t underestimate the power of the latest chapter in the greater story of Democratic Alliance (DA) corruption. They will do anything it takes to cover-up the fact that their long-running “anti-corruption” and “good governance” campaigns were lies. They’re even prepared to get rid of one of their own councillors for questioning their illegal operations.
The DA Mayor and Speaker of Knysna have been accused of using Public funds to hire Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Inc. Attorneys, one of South Africa’s leading law firms, for personal legal action against a whistleblower who has linked them and the DA’s Cape Town leadership to corruption. In parallel, they’re also trying to get rid of fellow DA Councillor Peter Myers whose been objecting to their illegal actions.
That whistleblower is me, Mike Hampton. I consider this latest development to be a continuation of the DA’s severe intimidation and harassment of me, the prioritisation of their interests over the Public’s interest.
Major municipal investigations and processes costing the Public millions of rands have proven several of my allegations true yet no one has been punished. The Committee Petitions for Parliament has recommended to NCOP that the National Office of the Public Protector investigate my allegations, also why their Western Cape offices failed to appropriately do so.
Mayor Eleanore Spies and Speaker Georlene Wolmarans have allegedly abused public funds to pay for personal lawyers against me. As with all corruption evidence presented to Premier Helen Zille and DA Leader Mmusi Maimane, there has been a failure to act. That makes them complicit, and as the law allows, possibly punishable by being jailed for the millions in losses (the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act kicks in jail sentences at R100,000).
On July 5 2017, I sent Mayor Spies a list of questions. They mostly regarded personal matters but in the Public interest as the concern was that her leadership of Knysna was compromised. The email included questions regarding:
- Loans – Mayor Spies’ integrity and position because of loans she’d allegedly received before the Local Government Elections from Councillor Peter Myers who seemingly ran the Municipality after they won (with her allegedly still owing him monies). Before the election, Myers had been involved in giving funds to ex-ANC Councillor Velile Waxa to assist him running as an Independent. Rumours were that it was done as part of a DA covert mission to win the election because they were worried about eroding support. As a community activist belonging to no party, I had played a part in that by repeatedly exposing corruption and asking questions they mostly refused to answer. The DA faction and funding seemed true when once upon a time ANC Mayor Spies became DA Mayor, Myers became DA Deputy Mayor and ex-ANC-now-‘Independent’ Waxa the DA’s coalition partner. The partnership was made stranger by Waxa having also once been a municipal employee who was pushed out after leading a protest that lit fires on the N2.
- Rowan Spies – He was Eleanore Spies’ husband but got divorced to become ‘life partners’ before elections. Nothing changed. they still lived and attended functions together. The DA then appointed him, a well-known alcoholic with no experience, as Councillor to Eden District under which Knysna Municipality falls. Helen Zille was made well aware by me of a forensic report regarding his alleged involvement in ANC graft (link to submission to Public Protector) and payment made into his and his wife’s joint account yet Zille allowed him to become Councillor and her Mayor. As Mayor Spies had refused to answer questions regards the alleged graft, she now refused to answer if it was true that he had been admitted to rehab twice in 2017 or answer, in a later email, why there was a warrant of arrest out for him for failing to appear in the Knysna Magistrates’ Court. During the latest controversies, the DA strangely promoted Rowan to the Head of Roads.
- Fran Kirsten – Mayor Spies friend and election campaign manager who was illegally contracted as Manager Communications (link to submission to Public Protector) of the Knysna Municipality’, without process and despite her lack of qualifications. I wanted to know who was going to pay the Public back her salary.
- The Great Knysna Fire – Did Mayor Spies feel guilty that illegal (link to submission to Public Protector) and possibly cronyistic appointees were in several leadership positions during the mishandled disaster, and whether she carried shame for not helping the homeless victims with, “at least, Wendy houses on a school field”. As I had been one of those homeless, that doubled as a personal question from my side.
Despite follow-up, I received no response from Mayor Spies. That was unsurprising as I’m mostly unconstitutionally banned by Knysna Municipality, the Western Cape Government and the Democratic Alliance. It seems that the greater my service to the public in the fight against corruption, the less likely the DA will deal with me.
Instead, on July 11, I received the first of 3 letters from Attorney Lionel Egypt, the Director Dispute Resolution and Head Public Law Sector for Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Attorneys that’s based in Cape Town 490km away. Why would one of the 13 executives in charge of over 350 attorneys, be sending me a legal threat on behalf of the Mayor of Knysna (pop 72,000)?
Firstly, Attorney Lionel Egypt has recently made good money out of Knysna. I’m aware of at least 2 instances:
- He defended and won the Municipality’s approval of the controversial Mosque.
- He and his team investigated a tender so as to provide a lengthy legal opinion. Ironically, I’d exposed that illegality in which the Manager Electrical’s husband had been receiving tenders from her department. I’d taken the information to resident Susan Campbell who’d launched an objection with the Municipality. Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Attorneys found the tender they researched to have been in contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act and the Municipality’s Supply Chain Management process. However, Egypt recommended that monies be deemed irrecoverable as it would affect the morale of employees and because the cost of recovery could be high.
That’s customary at Knysna Municipality under the DA – do wrong, delay investigation for as long as possible, launch an expensive investigation if the matter is not let go by the Public, then don’t punish anyone. The lack of accountability is what ensures the DA’s advertising of good governance to be a big lie.
Secondly, the list of local attorneys against me on behalf of DA members is exceptionally long. Some of those may possibly be wary of getting involved with investigations looming, especially after our community exploded after I and Campbell, as a witness, appeared in Parliament on SABC3 news. Additionally, the DA has yet to fulfil their public declaration and emailed threat to have me jailed.
Thirdly, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Attorneys are obviously a top-notch company. That and the staff of 5 involved in my case would arrive with expensive legal bills which in itself is suspicious as I’d heard that Mayor Spies’ financial problems were ongoing (which is why she’d needed money from Myers). Attorney Egypt and his staff were utterly evasive to my questioning whether they were representing Knysna Municipality or Spies in her individual capacity i.e. who was paying the legal bill, the Public or her?
If it’s true that the Municipality was paying, then it’s unlikely that the very experienced Egypt would’ve been unaware of the illegality after I introduced the topic. Why risk tarnishing the reputation of Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Attorneys? It begs the question of how much money their firm has earned from the Democratic Alliance, the Cape Metro and other municipalities under their power? After all, what other relationship could persuade major legal players to participate with politicians against a whistleblower? Of course, it could just be about the money but how can morality not be part of the law when it’s by choice rather than appointed?
Their third letter to me objected to my ‘Democratic Alliance Mafia’ blog which I’d posted both in the public interest and in refusal to be intimidated by the DA. It’s the most revealing letter, cherry-picking parts to ignore the whole. The whole includes frightening threats which Cliffe Decker Hofmeyr Attorneys seems to have no problem with.
It’s problematic that the law has become a weapon for the unjust versus the just. My many negative experiences with a justice system favouring politicians lead me to believe that the legal profession is more bully than a knight.
Notably, the tone of the email switched from representing Spies to seemingly representing “officials”, “Wolmarans” and “Myers”.
How far did Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Attorneys get in its alleged illegal service to Mayor Spies, Speaker Wolmarans and Councillor Myers? It’s been rumoured that the cost is far greater than the letters they sent me but the role of Councillor Myers needs fair clarification.
The anonymously run Knysna Politics Exposed page clearly has inside information and seems to have been set up in reaction to Myers coming under attack by his own party – he was recently demoted as Deputy Mayor and kicked off the Mayoral Committee through an extraordinary Vote of No Confidence by his own party. The Council’s substantiation was basically non-existent which fuels the counter-argument that it was done to stop him from stopping illegal Council activity (Myers is no saint but I skip that broader picture to remain focused on the current issue).
A 29 November 2017 post suggests that Mayor Spies (and consequently the DA) has bought Councillor Waxa’s support:
“The alliance between the DA and Councillor Waxa – if indeed it is an alliance – continues to drag the DA into questionable political decisions. A brief explanation – each ward receives R350,000.00 a year for capital improvements in that ward. Capital improvements should consist of improving the long term asset value of the municipality – for example – building new roads, play parks, storm water drains etc. In addition, they receive R50,000.00 for operational items – for example, parking attendant bibs, sports clubs, or worthy charities or causes. It was revealed in the meeting, that councillor Waxa from Ward 4, has managed to get the mayor and Municipal Manager to agree to switching funds ear marked for capital improvements in his ward to buying R250,000.00 worth of soccer kit. This of course is contrary to every budgeting principle and seems to have been agreed to by the mayor to buy councillor Waxa’s political support…”
Speaker Wolmarans has failed to respond to me regards her part in this but Myers objected in Council against the illegal use of public funds to foot the bill.
On Dec 9 2017, the following two comments on Knysna Politics Exposed coincided with what I’d heard from an informant:
“Melony Paulsen, the Legal Manager, is supposed to provide information on how much has been spent to the next Finance and Governance Committee in February 2018. Every cent that has been spent will of course be illegal and should be recovered from the responsible parties.”
“We would not have known about this expenditure if Peter Myers had not raised it in the last [Section 80] Governance meeting. There was significant resistance from Ms. Paulsen and the MM [Municipal Manager] to providing this information. The value of councillors who ask the difficult questions without fear or favour should not be underestimated. Most do not know what is happening, toe the party line and have no interest in exposing uncomfortable issues. They forget that they have been elected to represent our interests and not to keep a low profile and look pretty on Facebook and in the newspapers.”
On January 8 2018, in response to a question regarding the Knysna Fire investigation report that the government has allegedly hidden from the Public, Councillor Myers responded to me with:
“I am currently facing an internal DA disciplinary process. As a result, I do not wish to comment publicly on any issue until the process has been completed. For a formal response to your question, I suggest you contact the mayor or the municipal manager.”
Will they get rid of Myers before he gets answer to the questions regarding the legal bill?
Those who have so far failed to respond to my queries include Knysna Municipal Manager Kam Chetty, Chief Financial Officer Mbulelo Memani and Manager Performance, Internal Audit & Risk Management Walter McCartney.
More importantly, the DA’s Helen Zille, Mmusi Maimane and James Selfe haven’t responded let alone acted against what’s happening in Knysna. I extended the deadline to respond until today but the original email stated:
“This is a request for comment from Premier Helen Zille, Mmusi Maimane or James Selfe who’ve previously (and unfortunately) not addressed the long list of DA party’s corruption I’ve presented to them. Instead, it seems that they would rather have the DA destroy me.Nevertheless, I give you chance to comment before I publish this evening. Please respond by 6.30pm. 3 hours is sufficient considering your large support team and that you sometimes respond well to others regarding non-DA corruption matters.
1. Why has the Knysna Democratic Alliance being illegally spending public funds on lawyers to harass me?
2. Was the theft undertaken by local councillors in their personal capacity or was it a DA decision?
3. If not a DA decision, then how do you separate their action from your party considering that it was done by DA Mayor Eleanore Spies and and DA Speaker Georlene Wolmarans? More so considering that you three and other leaders are complicit through long-held awareness of the DA corruption they seek to cover-up.4. If you were not involved, when will you be initiating suspension and investigation? Will that rightfully include me as a witness and victim to the bigger picture?
5. How much was spent? How much is owed? Provide a copy of billings.
6. Who in the Knysna Municipality’s Administration signed off on it?7. Provide all related correspondence.
8. Why is the DA seeking to remove DA Councillor Peter Myers? It’s well known that I have no love for the man owing to him previously being on the side of DA wrongdoings yet that isn’t why you’re seeking to get rid of him. I wonder if your removal of him via an unsubstantiated vote of no confidence was historical. It was certainly undemocratic and thus for hidden agenda. Your faction fight finds him using the only tools of defence he has i.e. he’s now ironically fighting to stop more DA wrongdoing. The DA’s response, which with your awareness means you support it, is to try remove him from your party (that’s after his recent demotion for opposing the alleged illegal funding of Knysna Tourism under the alleged orders of your inner circle DA MEC Alan Winde). Relevant to the current situation is that Myers intends asking questions to Council regarding the illegal legal fees. Is one reason for the his disciplinary hearing to prevent him from asking those awkward questions that expose DA crime? If not, then what are you doing to ensure that the right questions will be asked… and why hasn’t a Special Council Meeting and an Emergency Constituency Meeting being called to do so? The latter would have to be without Winde owing to his conflict of interest.
9. I’ve been repeatedly taken to Court by DA members and associates. This is a continuation of the DA’s unconstitutional behaviour. Why have you not investigated the possibility (for me, it’s certainty) that it was all dirtily orchestrated to try destroy me in order to stop my revealing of DA corruption? How does your inaction not make you look guilty of its orchestration? After all, it’s your party that benefits, including your friends.
Please answer the questions to the best of your honest ability. I understand if relevant paperwork is only presented tomorrow.
Mike HamptonKnysna, the Prettiest Town in South Africa Our Facebook - facebook.com/loveknysna Subscribe to Love Knysna! - loveknysna.com Love Our Town by Protecting Her - knysnakeep.org Help Knysna by Volunteering - loveknysnaprojects.co.za
A DA supporter posted on Facebook: “Mayor Eleanor Bouw-Spies owes the Knysna residents a question and answer session regarding the decisions she has made, surely? She is a servant of the rate payers not a law unto herself…. let her face the residents and explain herself so that we can understand what is happening within the DA. Please.”
There’s the saying that transparency makes corruption impossible. Conversely, political mud makes corruption seem far more possible.
- Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr threatens me with High Court action
- Hampton asks whose paying Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Attorneys’ legal fees
- Hampton follows up and questions what he considers to be bully tactics
- Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr evasion and states it’s proceeding with High Court action
- Hampton responds to Lionel Egypt’s evasion
- Third letter from Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, regards ‘DA Mafia’
- Hampton queries Helen Zille, James Selfe and Mmusi Maimane
- Attorney Lionel Egypt – Lionel.Egypt@cdhlegal.com
- Knysna Municipality Chief Financial Officer – firstname.lastname@example.org
- DA Federal Executive Chairperson Helen Zille – email@example.com (updated)
NB: Please note my three other image posts on this website today. They’re a protest against the DA’s corruption of our courts.