This email was sent to Speaker Eleanore Spies on March 10 2015. Since then, I followed through in sending information to the Hawks. Spies acknowledged the mail but lied that she would respond so I am posting this email publicly and will, today, report Knysna Municipality to SALGA (South African Local Government Association), the Constitutional representative body for all municipalities.
Dear Eleanore Spies
I am reporting financial misconduct, fruitless and wasteful expenditure and conduct unbecoming of councillors.
As Speaker for the Council of the Knysna Municipality (KM), you occupy an important position meant to protect the integrity of the Council and, along with all the political office bearers, ensure that the municipal administration is accountable and transparent. Your duties include ensuring that the Code of Conduct for Councillors is upheld and, if you have a reasonable suspicion that the Code has been breached, you must: authorise an investigation into the facts; give the councillor an opportunity to respond; report to a council meeting; and report to the MEC.
Municipalities are obliged by the Systems Act to have complaints procedures in place. It is suggested that the Speaker should deal with complaints lodged against councillors by members of the community. He or she could either chair a complaints committee of councillors or in small councils, deal with the complaint.
Furthermore, it is Mayor Georlene Wolmarans’ duty to monitor and oversee the chief financial officer and the municipal manager in the exercising of their responsibilities in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act. As she hasn’t, it is your duty to correct her conduct.
There are many matters but let me address these first:
- I have reported wrongdoings on numerous occasions yet been ignored. Who in the DA ordered its members to disobey the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) which states that allegations against public office bearers must be investigated and the allegations brought before Council? If you will not name specific councillors then all councillors must be investigated. There are many examples of failed communication with the DA and I have more.
- Acting Municipal Manager/Finance Director Grant Easton cannot be appointed as Municipal Manager until he has been investigated for the ISDF tender irregularities that include half a million being paid before a contract was signed. That and other irregularities should have been investigated by Knysna Municipality. Criminal negligence cannot be excused by passing the buck to Province). Furthermore, there are outstanding queries from the Auditor General regarding R9-million in tenders and the illegal funding of ANC Chief Whip Stephen de Vries’ studies. The BAC versus BEC crisis, an important part of our supply chain management, must also be sorted first.
- My emails were unconstitutionally banned. Departments and municipal staff which include Communications Manager Christopher Bezuidenhout and Disaster Manager Richard Meyer, will not respond to me in person too. Who was responsible during and after Lauren Waring’s reign as Municipal Manager. Why did Mayor Wolmarans allow it? Why will the Ward 10 Committee not answer my questions? Unresponsive individuals must be investigated too.
- What is the relationship between Knysna Municipality and Carl Jeppe Attorneys and Advocate Julie Seton who are the legal teams, in several cases, against me? How much have they earned from that relationship the past 3 years? Deputy Mayor Esme Edge has a relationship with one of those members. Has she declared it considering that that Code of Conduct for Councillors states: “5. (1) A councillor must (a) disclose to the municipal council, or to any committee of which that councillor is a member, any direct or indirect personal or private business interest that that councillor or any spouse, partner or business associate of that councillor may have in any matter before the council or the committee” and “(2) A councillor who, or whose spouse, partner, business associate or close family member, acquired or stands to acquire any direct benefit from a contract concluded with the municipality, must disclose full particulars of the benefit of which the councillor is aware at the first meeting of the municipal council at which it is possible for the councillor to make the disclosure.”
- What is the DA’s position on the legal actions instituted against me by Deputy Mayor Esme Edge and Councillor Richard Dawson? They would have to have discussed with their party as even personal actions reflect on the party and their office. More conduct unbecoming includes Edge and Seton promoting anonymously authored propaganda supporting the DA on the Knysna Knews Facebook page. Again, Edge’s actions have to be representative of the DA and her political public bearer’s role.
- Knysna Tourism experienced maladministration. The oversight role of Council and, particularly, the Councillors who were on the Knysna Tourism Board of Directors (Wasserman, Dawson, Edge), failed. That alone requires investigation but there is much more. Why was the MFMA, as Council was legally bound to do, not applied to the grant-in-aid to Knysna Tourism? Why was the grant-in-aid repeatedly and illegally used to fund the organisation’s debt? Why was a grant allowed considering that Knysna Tourism had broken its Service Level Agreement by not using 20% of its funds for development? That’s fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
- The matter of the upgrade to Council offices has been discussed many times but remains unresolved for 7 months. Who was responsible for ordering the extra work, the furniture and office equipment. The opposition has asked for the final costs several times but been ignored. The public is being ignored too. It must be decided if this was irregular or wasteful expenditure.
- Those upgrades extend to other Departments such as Electricity who also received an expensive flatscreen TV. Worse is that the Manager of the Department has given over a million rands worth of business to her husband, a private contractor. Where are the investigations?
You are aware of these quagmires. It’s impossible for you not to be as they are all public. Time of inaction must be over. It is obvious that much has been much wrong yet you have remained silent, failing our town. This letter is to encourage you to remember who you serve and to to do the best you can for Knysna. Put to rest our troubles so that we can have a peaceful election assured that the best people are aiming to represent us.
I have very publicly stated that I will be laying charges. Regards the grant-in-aid, I have delayed it as I have the opportunity to send it to the highest ranks of the Hawks tomorrow which is preferable to the George office which I believe is compromised. But there will be many more charges coming unless YOU show quick and honest action: That on towards investigation and truth. YOU have the ability to save Knysna lots of money in court battles. Will YOU?
I request that you acknowledge, via email, this letter and the importance of its contents, assuring action. Secondly, meet me within two days. On Friday, I will post this letter publicly unless you can provide me with very good reasons not to. Within 7 days, if there’s no movement, I begin with the other charges.
As Speaker, you are legally required to respond to this letter. You are legally bound to investigate. Please do so.
Show that you love Knysna.
Contact Eleonor Spies (DA)
084 261 1144