My mom died 9 days ago in Durban. We had had a difficult relationship most of my life but had kept in regular contact after they had cut out a massive hole in her face (from above her eyebrow to below her cheek, from her nose towards the side of her cheek) during her struggle against cancer which also infected her skull, throat and lungs.
My father and I have a good relationship. He and my mom were married 44 years and he carried the burden of looking after my mother as she wouldn’t see anyone else besides him outside of her trips to doctors. Her screams of pain I heard on the telephone was nothing compared to the regularity of it that my father went through. The only place where I could help him was to assist him in selling his business which will, hopefully, conclude with a deposit tomorrow.
My father said he’d pay for me or my sister to travel to Durban where he stays so as to help him sort the house and my mother’s things. Some will criticise me for it but it wasn’t a difficult decision for me. I immediately said choose my sister. Firstly, it’d be good for him to have a woman around for 2 weeks and my sister has been living in England for many years (without having had the money to travel to visit her old home). I made a deal with my father that he would take a two-week holiday to Knysna, this town I love so much, in January (which will be the first holiday in his 66-year old, workaholic life). My dad is a creature of habit but my hope is that he considers this as his home too.
Secondly, I try be a practical person. My father is naturally so whereas it’s been a long learning curve for me. We both don’t believe in funerals but for the sake of a handful of people, there was a short service at the crematorium. My mother needed to die. Some may not understand it but she was in an undignified and very painful state. For her, it could only have been sweet relief.
For us, the only thing that Death truly teaches us is to live life better!
Part of being practical was that I’ve battled to gain truth for myself and the public from Knysna Municipality and Knysna Tourism for almost 42 months. I’ve three legal actions against me this month – I needed to sit with my legal team and prepare more this past week. I had previously insisted that there be no delays and even had my lawyers gain acknowledgement from Colleen Nel (the instructing attorney for Paul van der Berg, the advocate representing Greg Vogt, the CEO of Knysna Tourism, versus me) that there wouldn’t be.
As Vogt had changed lawyers again yet we hadn’t been notified for days, I instructed Hardy Mills to ensure there wasn’t going to be a delay. He sent the following to Colleen Nel:
As you know the matter is scheduled for hearing on 5 November 2014.
I understand from advocate Julie Seton that advocate Paul van den Berg is now briefed herein by your firm.
Kindly confirm the above and please take note that our client wishes to avoid any unnecessary postponements since we are going through great lengths in our preparation as well as securing the availability of witnesses.
Kindly revert as soon as possible.
14 days before the trial date, Nel responded with:
We confirm that Advocate Paul van der Berg has been briefed in the above matter and we do not foresee any reasons at this stage as to why the matter would need to be postponed. We confirm therefore that the matter will go ahead on the 5th November 2014 as arranged.
What happened today? Paul van der Berg requested a delay to the trial so that he could prepare a supplementary affidavit for Vogt. I had no choice but to say yes because I’ve yelled for transparency for so long that I have to welcome everything they throw at me so Knysna can judge the truth of the situation.
Guess what? Greg Vogt, maybe in his arrogance that his legal representatives would get their way, didn’t even bother to turn up for court. I was half an hour early.
After an impromptu meeting with my legal team, on our way out, we saw Nel and Van der Berg in discussion with Julie Seton and Carl Jeppe, the previous representatives for Vogt and the current representatives for Magda Moos. As said previously, Seton is the girlfriend of Esme Edge, the Deputy Mayor who was on the Tourism Board with Vogt for 3 years. Jeppe apparently does work for Knysna Tourism. Maybe the switch in teams was to distance themselves from the fact that this really is about politics and a cover-up and not just little Vogt versus me… but nothing is that invisible in our small towns.
The case will be delayed until January and I will have to cling to the goodwill of Hardy Mills and Eduard Bruwer who are defending me for free.
That makes Magda Moos up next.
PS: I tell my readers a lot about my life; was it a good day or bad day, what I hated or loved, what I ate or the beer I had. I find that regular truth about little things makes it easier to be truthful about serious things too. But I almost never posted this blog which I birthed in a burst over 6hrs ago. I let it vegetate whilst I thought about things. But there was an unfortunate incident outside The Director’s Club in Knysna Mall earlier, one I won’t explain as it affects a kid, but it made my mind up regards this blog – I just clicked Publish.