I wish I could say that you wouldn’t believe what the DA leadership has done but the slippery slope of corruption is a natural slide. This is the ultimate proof that your vote and petitions means nothing to the corrupt and powerful. The DA has issued a flyer against its own Knysna Mayor, denouncing him with blatant propaganda meant to protect the corruption its leadership is implicated in…
The province of the Western Cape is captured. The Democratic Alliance (DA) has become arrogant in the fact that law enforcement agents will protect them instead of investigating them. The Presidency, NPA, SAPS and Office of the Public Protector have failed us.
Only that kind of DA arrogance, immoral and illegal, could make them so bold as to issue the following flyer attacking their own councillors for standing against the corruption of the criminal Eleanore Spies whom they promoted to the National Assembly after an expensive Knysna investigation recommended she be criminally charged and disciplined.
She was charged but the Hawks have done nothing for a year. Well, that’s not quite true as the chief analyst for the province, Colonel Piet Bergh, is involved in the cover-up. General Godfrey Lebeya and Minister Bheki Cele have failed to act despite numerous complaints.
DA COUNCILLOR PETER MYERS RESPONDS
Peter Myers, Mayoral Committee member and DA Councillor, is outraged by his DA leadership’s attack:
“It is problematic in that Mayor Mark Willemse never carries himself as the leader of Knysna. He needs to be more decisive and up front when attacked, and especially more direct with the Public about the corruption I reported. Instead, Councillor Peter Myers (who is believed to be the real power), is always the one to respond on his behalf. Nevertheless, the words of Myers must be heard:
I am in possession of a circular that has purportedly been sent by the DA (contains the DA logo) entitled LET’S TALK – KNYSNA, with a sub heading: Understand why the DA does not support Mayor Mark Willemse.
The content of the circular is obviously defamatory and largely untruthful, misleading and plainly mischievous. Its effect is to bring the DA in Knysna into disrepute – a circumstance I greatly regret. I will however take this opportunity to reply in detail in order to set the record straight and ensure that the residents of Ward 10 and of the greater Knysna are in possession of the correct facts and information.
1. I am making this statement as a full member of the DA and as the DA councillor for Ward 10 and the Chairperson of The Finance and Governance and Economic Development Portfolio’s.
2. The circular untruthfully states that “In 2018 DA members Mark Willemse and Peter Myers made a decision to go against their caucus and the leadership of the party …” A disciplinary process was instituted against Mark Willemse and me in this regard and at the end of that process both Willemse and I were found not guilty of going against the caucus and were completely exonerated in the matter.
3. Willemse and I did not vote with anyone – ANC or otherwise – we both voted our consciences to remove the then DA mayor, Eleanore Bouw-Spies.
4. I for one voted to remove Bouw-Spies because I had been forced to conclude that she was not a fit and proper person to hold the office of mayor due to her involvement in corruption and maladministration. The DA is clear that it stands against corruption and maladministration and in voting Bouw-Spies out, I was giving effect to these core values and principles of the DA.
5. I had notified various levels of leadership of my issues and concerns about Bouw-Spies over a long period of time and had even submitted documentary evidence to back-up my assertions. The leaders who I contacted included: Alan Winde (now Premier of the Western Cape), James Selfe (Chairman of the DA’s FEDEX), Anton Bredell (Chairperson of the DA in the Western Cape), Bongi Madikizela (Leader of the DA in the Western Cape), Jaco Londt (Regional Chairperson of the DA). At times I had also copied in Mmusi Maimane (DA National Leader) and Glynnis Breytenbach (Head of the DA’s Federal Legal Commission). Other than an unsatisfactory meeting with Alan Winde none of these individuals did anything about the issues I raised.
6. Subsequently to me alerting the DA leadership to the situation in Knysna, an independent forensic report was commissioned by the Knysna Municipality into a few of the many issues regarding Bouw-Spies that I was concerned about. The report (including 116 pages of evidence) concluded that criminal charges should be laid against Bouw-Spies and the then municipal manager Chetty in respect of their malfeasance. It should be noted that Bouw-Spies has now been promoted to represent the DA in parliament.
7. The Knysna Municipality has also referred the issues raised in the forensic report to MEC Anton Bredell for him to take disciplinary action against Bouw-Spies and to my knowledge this is still on-going
8. The circular untruthfully states, “Willemse opted to accept a nomination to the position of mayor and was subsequently elected by a majority of ANC councillors.” The truth of the matter is that I, as the only DA member then present in the council meeting (the other DA members having unlawfully absented themselves), nominated Willemse for the position of mayor. I did this after having been specifically mandated to do so by the leadership who were adamant that Willemse and I had to do all we could to keep the Knysna Council in DA hands – this we achieved.
9. Willemse was the only nominee for the position and therefore in terms of the Municipal Structures Act is automatically elected without a vote taking place. To state that he was elected by a majority of ANC councillors is just plain false and the author of the circular would know this – but nevertheless has tried to deceive the public.
10. The circular goes onto to untruthfully state: “He [Willemse] is effectively an ANC mayor”. Willemse is a DA member who is faithfully carrying out the mandate of the thousands of Knysna residents who voted for him and the DA in the 2016 elections. To claim anything else is ridiculous and would be funny if it wasn’t so serious.
11. The circular descends into the gutter with the outrageous lie that: “this underhand move by Willemse resulted in a loss of confidence in him as mayor…” What underhand move – could this be referring to Willemse accepting the nomination to be mayor with the full knowledge and support of the leadership of the DA? What loss of confidence – could this be referring to the massive support shown in Willemse by all of Knysna’s diverse communities, showing his popularity and wide public support in marches, demonstrations and even in a petition, which garnered over a thousand signatures in a few short days? Underhand, loss of confidence – what utter nonsense!
12. Willemse has continued with my full support to make decisions, basic or otherwise, that are in the best interests of the town – this despite the destructive attempts by some members of the erstwhile DA caucus to derail his efforts to ensure good governance and achieve the best service delivery possible for all the residents of Knysna.
13. The circular casts itself adrift from reality when it proclaims, “If the Party cannot assume a leadership role in the council to implement the manifesto voters elected, it will take up an opposition role….” The DA currently has 9 councillors and therefore, together with its alliance partners (ACDP and KUC), it has eleven out of the 21-member council – currently only twenty because of the vacancy left by Bouw-Spies going to parliament. The DA therefore has an outright majority including the position of mayor.
14. To claim that the DA will take up an opposition role is just ludicrous – we are the party of government and just because some misguided and spiteful people claim otherwise – does not alter that reality.
15. For some DA councillors to now take a unilateral decision to defy DA caucus rules and the provisions of the DA Federal Constitution in order to achieve personal goals and ambitions, in trying to remove Willemse who was directly elected in 2016 by the voters of Knysna (his name was actually on the ballot paper), is inexcusable and shameful.
16. It should also be noted that Cllr Michelle Wasserman, the appointed Leader of the recalcitrant DA councillors, suffers from a huge democratic deficit. Contrary to Willemse and my situation where we appeared on the ballot in 2016 and were actually voted into office by the voters of Knysna, Wasserman was not on any DA lists in 2016 nor has she been subject to any public election process since. She has become a councillor by virtue of being appointed by the DA leadership and not through any public election process. In other words Wasserman has no mandate from the voters of Knysna and I urge the leadership to acknowledge and take cognisance of this – the public may not forgive an appointee being thrust on them and who is actively engaged in trying to undermine Willemse – the legitimate mayor.
17. The DA is a party that believes firmly in the Rule of Law and in Due Process. Neither Willemse nor I have done anything to offend the values and principles of the DA. We have scrupulously operated within the rules of the DA and tried to ensure good governance and service delivery in accordance with the stated aims, objectives and mandate of the DA. Further, the DA has not found us guilty of any wrongdoing and there is no justification for some ‘rogue’ DA councillors to try and remove Willemse as mayor.
18. Finally the circular states, “the Party is taking action against him [Willemse]”. I am not aware of any action that the Party is taking against Willemse and believe it would be unjustified and harmful to the DA if any such action were being contemplated.
19. However firm action should be taken by the DA leadership against the author(s) of the circular and the recalcitrant ‘rogue’ DA councillors in Knysna (who now openly maintain they are in opposition) for undoubtedly bringing the party into disrepute by their actions and unacceptable behaviour.
So in conclusion – NO – I do not understand after reading the circular why the DA cannot support Willemse as mayor of Knysna.
I firmly believe that Willemse is a good and popular DA mayor who is acting in the best interests of all of Knysna – he deserves the full support of all voters, DA and otherwise – for the great job he is doing.
Finally my message to the author(s) of the circular – GET LOST! – you are an embarrassment to the DA and to Knysna.”
HAPLESS KNYSNA DA VIES WITH ANC FOR THE STATUS OF OFFICIAL OPPOSITION
The Knysna Ratepayers’ Association responds to the latest madness in Council:
“The Knysna DA’s robot caucus of 7 reached dizzying new heights of farce at this Tuesday’s special council meeting when a DA Councillor asserted that because the official opposition is generally awarded the chairmanship of the MPAC committee, that chairmanship should go to the DA.
There are currently 9 DA councillors (there were 10 until Eleanor Bouw-Spies resigned last month). There are 8 ANC councillors. And there are 3 councillors from smaller parties. Last time we checked, 9 is still bigger than 8. The DA still has a majority on Council. The ANC is still the official opposition, not the DA.
But the DA Councillor who spoke up apparently disagrees. And here is where the plot thickens. Out-of-town DA party bosses have said that because DA Mayor Mark Willemse recently overcame a DA-sponsored vote of no confidence with the support of the ANC, he is no longer a member of the DA, and must therefore be an ANC mayor.
Of course, that’s utter nonsense. Willemse is a member of the DA unless and until he is removed in accordance with the DA’s own formal, lengthy procedures. Even members of today’s new, increasingly-Leninist DA are still entitled to due process. Willemse has steadfastly withstood the out-of-town party bosses’ smear campaign, and has prevailed in all of the unfounded disciplinary proceedings brought against him to date. So Mark Willemse is still Knysna’s DA mayor, Peter Myers is still a DA councillor, and the DA is not the official opposition. That’s an incontrovertible fact.
But the DA is bent on putting personal loyalties and party discipline ahead of service delivery. It’s new-found penchant for faulty math and fake news are hollowing out its support town-wide. If the DA’s robot caucus of 7 continues this charade, the party’s narrow margin on Council may evaporate. Be careful of what you wish for, Councillor. You may be in the opposition sooner than you think.”
DA LEADERSHIP IMPLICATED IN CORRUPTION
The DA leadership is implicated in Knysna’s corruption which is why it has to protect the criminals its in bed with.
This ongoing situation, which has been highly detrimental to the people of Knysna, is only possible with the involvement of the DA Federal Executive, DA Federal Legal Commission, Premier Alan Winde, DA Western Cape Leader Anton Bredell, DA Western Cape Leader Bonginkosi Madikizela, DA East Region Manager Jaco Londt and Knysna Constituency representative Helen Zille.
The same day, the Office of the Public Protector took another step to deepen its involvement in the cover-up of DA corruption but I will leave that story for another day…
4hrs after I posted this blog, Mayor Mark Willemse issued the following statement:
It is with much disappointment and dismay that I am driven to have to respond to a “Circular” issued by the DA as to why they do not support me as Mayor.
I refute the content of this communication as lies, misleading and defamatory. The persons behind this campaign to discredit me are on a path of personal vendettas and vengeance.
Chairperson of the DA East Region Council, Jaco Londt, has long threatened me with my political career within the DA because I dared stand up to his bullying and intimidation. He has previously been found guilty of bad behaviour and had to attend an anger management course. I was asked to submit a statement by the Federal Legal Commission’s Glynnis Breytenbach, confirming incidents which occurred in the run up to the 2016 Local Government Elections. Jaco Londt became aware of this and has since taken it upon himself to ensure I have no future in the DA. I have laid a formal complaint pertaining to his most recent behaviour which is unbecoming of a person of his status.
In June 2018, in a Motion of No Confidence (MONC) against the then mayor, Eleanore Bouw-Spies, I voted with my conscience based on many reasons including that the relationship of trust had broken down after I became concerned that she did not take the concerns of my constituents seriously.
I became mayor because certain DA caucus members were instructed to abandon the chamber before the vote and a discussion with DA provincial Chairperson, MEC Anton Bredell, who agreed that we needed to keep Knysna DA. I was nominated by Peter Myers (DA) and seconded by Welcome Salaze (KUC). The ANC did not nominate a candidate. According to Schedule 3 (5) of the Structures Act “If only one candidate is nominated, the person presiding must declare that candidate elected.” It is therefore a lie and misleading to say that I was elected by a majority of ANC councillors.
Most recently the DA caucus of 7 did exactly the same thing in allowing an ANC Deputy Mayor to be elected by not nominating a candidate of their own.
Following a lengthy disciplinary process, both Peter Myers and I were both exonerated and found to be NOT GUILTY of any contravention of DA caucus rules or the DA Constitution, and to date I have not been informed of any pending action against myself.
I am a loyal DA member who worked extremely hard to attain the results achieved during the recent National Elections, only to be once again subjected to a second MONC, this while in discussions with the DA Western Cape leadership. This MONC was completely irregular, defying caucus rules and the provisions of the DA Constitution and was never going to succeed, based on the current numbers. I alerted the leadership to the risk they were taking, yet they unashamedly went ahead.
The current self- proclaimed position to be the opposition while there are 9 DA councillors and 8 ANC councillors with 3 individual parties making up the numbers is just ludicrous and completely misguided.
I have always had the best interests of the town at heart, ensuring that the values and principles of the DA are upheld and ensuring the rollout of the 2016 Local Government DA Manifesto relating to the budget and IDP priorities.
I will continue to uphold my Constitutional oath to serve the people of Knysna and uphold the values and policies of the DA to ensure good governance, to fight against corruption and the delivery of services to all.
UPDATE JUNE 27 2019: That insane flyer the DA issued against its own Knysna Mayor was approved by regional leadership, so says DA Western Cape Leader Bonginkosi Madikizela.