Who is the Knysna ANC dancing For? Is it for controversial Municipal Manager Grant Easton?
I’ve previously stated that i believed that the ANC and the DA have been working with the Administration of the Knysna Municipality against the public’s best interest.
The Administration are the municipal officials who make up one-third of local government. The other two parts are the politicians and us, the public.
Less than a year ago, it was notable that the DA had split into two caucuses, one pro-Administration, the other not. The latter won and the consequence has been the elimination of many councillors from the forthcoming 2016 Municipal Elections.
At the latest Council meeting, Mayor Georlene Wolmarans and Deputy Mayor Esme Edge were as quiet as mice. Councillor Peter Myers was obviously in charge.
Since 2015, around the same time the DA’s faction fight began, it became highly noticeable that when the DA tried to hold the Knysna Administration to account, the ANC would leap to their defence. It was as if the ANC were the cheerleaders for a municipal officials club rather than the oversight they were elected to be.
Just before that marked period, in the middle of 2015, the main cheerleader, ANC Chief Whip Stephen de Vries, was vocal in his support for a Knysna Planning Tribunal. He strongly opposed Knysna’s participation in the initial proposal for a Joint Planning Tribunal (servicing Bitou, Mosselbay and George). That intention, taking control of Knysna away from itself, was proposed by Director Mike Maughan-Brown and the Administration.
In November or December, De Vries committed a spectacular flip-flop that any cheerleading squad would be proud of. He suddenly became a staunch supporter of the same Joint Tribunal he had vociferously opposed months before.
His arguments in support of a Joint Tribunal were strikingly similar to those advanced by Maughan-Brown. Was it a coincidence? Or was he proving to the Administration that the illegal bursaries he and ANC Councillor Clive Witbooi had received were money well spent?
Suspiciously, Grant Easton (then Chief Financial Officer, now Municipal Manager) would not investigate that illegal use of taxpayer funds despite me forwarding the law as received from SALGA.
IN MAY THIS YEAR, DE VRIES DANCED THE ANC TO AN ALL-TIME LOW, OPPOSING THE APPOINTMENT OF MARLENE BOYCE (A.K.A. ‘BOYCIE’ AS ACTING DIRECTOR OF PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT. I PUT THIS CAPITALS BECAUSE THE ANC DID SO IN FAVOUR OF A WHITE MALE WHO HAD BEEN ACTING IN THE POSITION FOR ONE WEEK. THEY OPPOSED A COLOURED FEMALE.
To their credit, the DA and COPE’s Elrick van Aswegen voted for Boycie. Her appointment was hugely popular and received unprecedented public support on the Municipality’s Facebook and on the Love Knysna community page.
Will Knysna voters punish the Knysna ANC for seemingly paying lip service to transformation whilst dancing to the Administration’s tune?
At the Special Council Meeting of June 30 2016, there was a Green Paper section. It would be more appropriate to colour code them red. Green papers are issues discussed in secret. Sometimes it’s necessary to keep details of individuals and court cases quiet but the Green Paper sessions can be used to illegally block the public from the information they need to know.
Today an ANC member told me that the Green Paper session has been moved to tomorrow, July 5. The Knysna Municipality has confirmed that the meeting is being held at 9am tomorrow but will not tell me what it’s about.
My informant told me that the topic of the Green Papers is Municipal Manager Grant Easton. In what context, I don’t know.
WILL THE ANC, TOMORROW, DANCE TO THE TUNE OF THE ADMINISTRATION AND EASTON AGAIN?
Of course, I’ll also be watching the DA and other councillors too. In Knysna politics, mistrust should be a lesson well learned by the public.