“Definitely, whoever was wrong, who did this deliberately, his head must fall. We cannot say this is wrong and then close it. Somebody must pay a price.” – Councillor Velile Waxa,
The Knysna Council and Municipality have finally admitted that Community Services Director Dawie Adonis was illegally appointed. This has been long known but only now confessed.
The illegality will be further remarkable to the fire-scarred Public because Adonis is the man whom local fire, rescue and law enforcement reported to during the Great Knysna Fire.
Emphasising the wrongness is that his position was advertised as a contract yet, on June 14 2013, he was given a permanent position with all its benefits. That’s currently estimated at R1.2-million annually, the highest salary in the Knysna Municipality.
Whereas Adonis needed an Honours degree, he only has a Matric.
Only National Treasury can except an unqualified candidate. Previous Municipal Manager Lauren Waring stated that neither the National Treasury Minister nor DA MEC for Local Government Anton Bredell objected to Adonis’ appointment. However, Knysna Municipality and National Treasury suspiciously cannot find the letters to prove that.
If an appointment is illegal, the MEC for Local Government must immediately act to correct the situation. MEC Bredell, who is also involved in the illegal tendering of the ISDF (the 30-year plan for Knysna), did not do so.
The Municipality states that Adonis doesn’t wish to become embroiled in a costly court battle with his employer. Outrageously, the Municipality used this as an excuse to state that it will create a new position for Adonis, a ‘minor changed position’, possibly ‘with the same benefits within a re-structured organization structure.’
That smells of cronyism and cover-up, our DA-led local government continuing its trend against the public interest.
I’m repeatedly taken to court by DA members and their friends whenever I’m investigating their corruption. A leader in the Knysna Fire Department has taken me to court regards another matter but whose hidden agenda I believe is to protect his bosses’ role in his own illegal appointment. One of those bosses is Adonis. Adonis will be an important witness for me to examine yet the fireman’s lawyer has submitted a motion to stop him being questioned. Similarly strange is that Knysna Municipality has provided Adonis, as a witness, a lawyer.
Instead of simply answering my queries, in the beginning, Knysna Municipality has allowed a situation whereby they waste public funds for what seems to be a continuous cover-up.
8 months ago, on October 26 2016, I laid a complaint against Adonis with the Office of the Public Protector. That was followed by another complaint, alleging Adonis was involved in graft. I also reported to Knysna Municipality that houses of Adonis and an employee in the Financial Department were grossly undervalued in Green Pastures.
The Public Protector has failed to act positively on all 13 of my complaints, the George and Western Cape offices seemingly protecting the DA.
Consequently, I added my complaints against Adonis to my ‘Love Knysna Petition’ to Parliament. But instead of responding in person to Parliament, Knysna Mayor Eleanore Spies never turned up, claiming she was working on the budget when in fact she was campaigning for the DA 300km away.
Although she’ll be under fire, Spies may have hoped that delay, which she gained, was more valuable i.e. people who need to be questioned are fleeing our local government. Those directors included illegally appointed Municipal Manager Grant Easton, who, before his appointment, I’d stated would fill Waring’s shoes as that was the only way to maintain a host of cover-ups that, for me, began with the illegal funding of Knysna Tourism.
Before the Great Fire of Knysna interrupted my attempts for justice, and a sudden wave of interest after I was on SABC, i heard that the DA’s devious plan to ‘fix’ the illegal appointments of Adonis and Communications Manager Fran Kirsten was to simply create new positions for them, tailor-made to make them legal. That, of course, would cost the public.
Their intention regards Adonis, at least, is now proven. They even considered moving Adonis to Technical Services which is run by Director Michael Rhode. It would be utterly absurd if a lessor employee were earning R1.2-million.
My long admiration for Rhode is stumbling as he becomes a player in these government games against the Public’s best interest. He’s good at standing in the background, refusing to be counted or seen, but it cannot be ignored that he previously agreed to accept the transfer of Budget Manager Avitha Sunkar.
In what seems to be an attempt to stop Sunkar scrutinising where funds are being spent, she was suspended after playing a large role in saving our town R40-million. She has earned almost a million rand whilst being forced to sit at home. Proving that the charges against her are harassment and other ill-motive is that Knysna Municipality offered her a deal whereby she would move from Finance to Technical, at the same pay, into a position that doesn’t yet exist.
If a person is guilty, they’re not offered a new position. They just wanted her away from where she was making a positive difference. Secondly, as the position doesn’t exist on the organogram, that would also become another illegal appointment.
It’s possible that our ‘leaders’ thought that the shock of our recent fire may have numbed public interest into their corruption, this Special Council Meeting an opportunity to slide more wrongdoings under their very dirty carpet. What they didn’t expect was for the complacent Opposition to act like opposition.
I didn’t either, despite having posted a blog before the meeting and sending each a letter warning that if they supported the evil agenda, they’d be further implicated.
The Knysna Council and Knysna Municipality’s standard defence to claims of their corruption is to ignore. Consequently, it’s notable that ANC admitted that myself, Mike Hampton, and Susan Campbell (an activist who conducted a separate investigation), had contacted the Council regards our allegations. Even the DA admitted that it the information had been in the public domain for a long time (although they never credited me).
However, it must be noted that not one Councillor has responded to me via email or meeting regards my allegations or articles!
Independent Velile Waxa complained that the agenda had been sent to them just before the long weekend started, implying that they’re deliberately not being given time to fully understand a serious matter that required more knowledge and deliberation. He was supported by the ANC in that this should not have been a Special Council agenda item (instead, all processes followed in the build-up to an Ordinary Council Meeting).
Deputy Mayor Peter Myers represented the DA’s position that court is avoided and mutual agreement be reached with Adonis. Considering Adonis is an illegal appointee, that’s absurd. But the DA’s reaction isn’t surprising since Speaker Georlene Wolmarans is implicated. When Adonis was appointed, she was the Mayor who approved it. Strangely, when asked if she should remove herself for conflict of interest, Deputy Mayor Peter Meyers stood up for her, and Legal Advisor Melony Paulsen gave the legal opinion that she could remain.
COPE Councillor Elrick van Aswegen spoke strongly against the DA ruling arrogantly, the subtext being that they’re ruling for themselves, not the Public. He accused them of failing to accept responsibility.
Myers expressed it’s a ‘DA way or the highway’ attitude. “You vote against what we’re recommending, you’ll be held personally liable,” said Myers.
There were objections to his threat, Waxa stating that he wants proper process, that he supports forensic audit. “We must correct it in manner that it never happens again. Definitely, whoever was wrong, who did this deliberately, his head must fall. We cannot say this is wrong and then close it. Somebody must pay a price.”
ANC Regional Secretary Victor Malosi supported him. “If we are serious about clean governance – very clean governance – all the individuals that who were involved, including councillors, must be held liable for the cost incurred in the process in the appointment of the Director of Community Services. We must have a forensic investigation to deal with this matter once and for all.”
Van Aswegen queried why Myers never addressed accountability, implying that he (and the DA) didn’t want it.
Mayor Eleonore Spies, again, floated like a dead duck in her chair, again unwilling to make a meaningful contribution, instead of leaving Myers in the firing line. Every other DA Councillor failed to be a leader during the 36-minute discussion, choosing silence as their defence of choice.
All this fits into hers and the DA’s hypocrisy, most recently expressed in May after I appeared before Parliament. In the same Council Meeting, she said she welcomed a forensic audit but then, two hours later, voted against it. Her hypocritical stance on good governance and election promise of better communication was destroyed only a week later when she used the Great Knysna Fire as an excuse to push a budget through quickly (consequently, our 2017/2018 town budget doesn’t take into account the massive destruction of our town.
The DA doesn’t make concessions, it uses it’s coalition majority to force wrong decisions through. However, here, a concession was remarkably given. It was decided that Acting Municipal Manager Douglas must submit a report on how Adonis was appointed. This presents its own conflict of interests as 1) The agenda’s recommendations were compiled by Douglas who is obviously supporting Adonis 2) The DA has yet to explain why paying Douglas to leave as the previous Municipal Manager isn’t wasteful expenditure now that he has returned as Acting Municipal Manager 3) His appointment also supported by MEC Anton Bredell.
Additionally, instead of Adonis being ‘re-deployed’, that the appointment of Adonis be set aside by mutual agreement, to be approved by Council.
The KUC (Welcome Salaze) and ACDP (Shakespeare Arends) voted with the DA, as usual, like puppies. The ANC voted against the motion, stating that it was illegal. Van Aswegen and Waxa abstained, neither providing a reason why.
Despite the hoo-ha, not one councillor proposed a motion for Dawie Adonis to be suspended.
PS: I may battle to get the Public to attend or listen to Council Meetings but i will keep trying-