I can’t state that they are corrupt because, for example, if they were apathetic, uncaring or lazy, they could sue me for slander. But i can ask: “IS KNYSNA TOURISM AND THE DA COUNCIL CORRUPT?” Of course, i include the Knysna Tourism Board in that. For 34 days i’ve tried to gain information that should be available to the public. I have had no success after contacting the following people:
- Tourism CEO & DA Member – Shaun Van Eck
- Tourism Economic Development Officer – Marlene
- Tourism Board Member & DA Mayor – Georlene Wolmarans
- Tourism Board Member & Municipal Manager – Johnny Douglas
- Tourism Board Chairman – Mark Dixon
- Tourism Board Vice-Chair – Greg Vogt
- Tourism Board Member – Marion Mack
- Tourism Board Member – Debbie Stanley
- Tourism Board Member – Nan Czank
- DA Deputy Mayor – Michelle Wasserman
As a possible answer to a sub-query regarding the Pick ‘n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival, i sent 2 emails to Bronwen Rohland (Pick ‘n Pay Marketing Manager) via H. Barnard. I’ve had no response the past 3 days.
Why is gaining Tourism’s budget, its breakdown and the community development project information important? If you are local, you shouldn’t have to ask but let me explain to those who don’t know our town.
Knysna is a tourist based economy. That gives Knysna Tourism more power, responsibility and money than most of its counterparts in South Africa. Undeniably, the role they perform is an important one! As important, their actions require a check and balance system. This is suppose to be performed by the Tourism Board whose constitution includes 6 voted for, non-paid representatives with Tourism membership, the Municipal Manager and the Mayor. With millions in funding from the city, the latter 2 naturally have to bear responsibility for Tourism’s actions too.
Knysna Tourism’s actions determine how many visitors Knysna gets and whether the local economy survives or not. They can’t be blamed for the Recession and the never-ending, highly visible number of businesses closing down. But it makes what they do and who they do it with even more relevant to our lives.
Knysna is also an extremely divided town. Whites live in richer areas. Non-whites live in poor areas. That disparity can be seen elsewhere in so-called, post-apartheid South Africa but it’s extremely pronounced in Knysna as the population is under 80 000 and the townships, a few kilometres away, actually have a view of the rest of Knysna that they are not part of. Where Tourism and the municipality play a role is in development projects and arts & culture. Generally, the former trains whilst the latter includes the poor in Knysna’s social activities. It’s obvious, then, why the information is important and, for example, would answer awkward questions such as” “Is the Pick ‘n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival racist?” If not, information will dissolve thorny queries. If so, then acknowledging problems is the first step towards finding solutions.
The information i’m requesting should have been immediately available if Shaun van Eck, the head of Knysna Tourism, had his act together. Why wasn’t it simply available for download on their website? If it wasn’t ready, that begs the question, “Is Tourism being responsible with your money?” If it was ready, then why would they not simply share and discuss with the community? Instead, they chose not to and, the Tourism Board, as represented by Mark Dixon and Greg Vogt, won’t even mention it in the few mails i’ve received back from them.
I’m not alone in wanting answers.
The final buck, so to speak, stops at Knysna’s DA Mayor, Georlene Wolmarans.
If they are not corrupt then they are certainly incompetent.