Dear Mayor Ricky van Aswegen.
On the first anniversary of the Great Knysna Fire, I wrote a letter to Mayor Mark Willemse. It was his first day in office, and he’d chosen you to be his Deputy. It was also a letter to you, which is why I ended with:
“Elrick van Aswegen, or Ricky as we know you, I’m hoping you’re reading this letter too. As the new Deputy Mayor, you need to be the rock for Mark. You have more experience in that Council than any other. You need to put it to good use. Grab a spade and fertilise good intentions. Make Knysna grow!”
You never responded, and Willemse chose to work for Councillor Peter Myers instead of Knysna.
My letter wasn’t a shout from the unknown dark. You know me. And you know that I’ve reported corruption to you many times over the past 9 years. You never acted against it.
Instead, you kept your options open with the constantly changing political factions surrounding you. Undoubtedly, that’s a skill in politics, and you’re obviously the best at it to have survived 27 years. You aren’t COPE, DA or ANC – you’re Ricky. Although worthy of criticism before, that may be an asset in these troubled times. The ANC may have given you the power, but please be Ricky more than anything else!
The current economic crisis is going to become a way of life. Adjusting will be difficult, a paradox of damned-if-you-do, and damned-if-you-don’t. But the best way to calm the naysayers and swell the applause of supporters is to take a clear position against the corruption that has eroded our foundation and future.
We would’ve better recovered from the Great Knysna Fire if our money hadn’t been stolen, and crooks weren’t in office.
We would’ve been better prepared for the coronavirus if our money hadn’t been stolen, and crooks weren’t in office.
ANC Chief Whip Victor Molosi would’ve been assassinated if crooks weren’t in office.
I’ve been deprived of my home because I’ve done the job you politicians should’ve done. I opened a window into politics that Knysna’s citizens had never had before. I’ve fought corruption, and, each time I was threatened, I responded by fighting harder. I never compromised because the lives of our neighbours should never be for sale.
I believe that some politicians and municipal officials may have entered Clyde Street with good intention. Almost immediately, they began compromising in order to get votes for their motions. Every time the did so, they lost a piece of themselves until nothing was left of who they once were. All that remained was their salary.
Please fight for Knysna as vigorously as you fought for your suburb of Hornlee.
Institute and practice a zero tolerance policy towards corruption. Make that the weapon of your leadership. Start today by telling the Public, “I’M RETURNING LAW AND ORDER TO KNYSNA MUNICIPALITY. THE FLAG OF THIS MUNICIPALITY WILL BE THE CONSTITUTION OF SOUTH AFRICA. I WILL FIGHT CORRUPTION. I WILL DEFEND YOU.”
There are too many issues to list but I’m requesting that you consider these as priorities:
- The staff of the Knysna Municipality need to trust you. Restore their confidence. Stop the current victimisation of those who never supported CFO Mbulelo Memani, ex-Acting Municipal Manager Michele Gratz, and the DA’s underhanded plan to takeover Knysna. Stop praising Gratz.
- You’ll be aware that the current destabilisation of our town has a property developer link. Protect us, not them.
- Put aside your long time connections to Georlene Wolmarans, Eleanore and Rowan Spies, and Melony Paulsen. If you don’t act on evidence such as the De Swardt report, Mazars investigation, and Cliffe Dekker Reports, you haven’t chosen us.
- Change Christopher Bezuidenhout’s role from the Director of Protecting Politicians to Communications Manager.
- Be the first to deal with me honesty and openly. Unblock my email address. I’m the ally of any standing against corruption.
Your long dream to become Mayor has come true. I’m asking that you now dream for us too.
Activist citizen in exile