There was an outcry by the opposition at the last Knysna Governance & Economic Development meeting which was held on August 5 2014. In the Capital Budget report, it was revealed that the Executive & Council had overspent their budget by R481 656, a consequence of the fancy new offices for DA politicians and Municipal Manager, Lauren Waring.
Despite the fact that their original budget of R3 778 000 had been increased to a whopping R5 214 000, they still went over the new budget by 9%.
COPE’s representative, Elrick van Aswegen, gave strong criticism: “Do we really need these extravagant offices with expensive furniture??? We underspent on the budgets for out there [Knysna] but overspent on furniture!”
As shocking as the DA’s extravagance is after winning the municipal elections on the promise of austerity, the bigger concern should be that they considered selfish shopping more important than ensuring all the departments spent their 2013/2014 budgets on time:
- Planning & Development -33%
- Technical -17%
- Finance -13%
- Electrical -11%
- Community -6%
That amounted to R15 million not being spent on Knysna yet the DA recently voted to take a R15 million loan. Furthermore, they now intend selling prime beach front property, belonging to the taxpayer, for R10 million.
Keep in mind that those directors not doing their jobs are earning over R1 million salary packages and the politicians aren’t doing to bad either considering they’re running a town with only 68 000 citizens. The Knysna Municipality’s repeated wearing of their “clean audit” badge diverts the public from what’s really going on.
PS: The header photo was ironically taken at the launch of the new budget. That spread for the Councillors, of which I partook, must have cost at least R3,000.