The ex-CEO, Shaun van Eck, seemed to run Knysna Tourism as his own fiefdom and that was an image that the Tourism Board and Knysna Municipality were happy to perpetuate when in fact they were guilty as well.
In hindsight, their statement on Dec 13 2013 was ominous: “As a Board, we had taken the decision not to make public all the details pertaining to this case, as we were hoping to protect the integrity of both the Board and its CEO, Shaun van Eck.”
When Knysna’s Tourism’s finances had become so poor that they could no longer be ignored, the Tourism Board had instituted an investigation against him which led to a disciplinary hearing which found him guilty of:
- Poor Corporate Governance
This included no contracts signed with the vast majority of contractors Knysna Tourism dealt with and unjustifiable loans to companies e.g. Lightley’s R120 000.
Each gross misconduct charge was sufficient for dismissal.
What should have also been mentioned was Knysna Tourism’s failure to utilize 20% of their budget, as required by law, for development. Inequality at Knysna Tourism, and BEE workshops with no legacy, and the lack of the majority of Knysna’s residents (i.e. non-whites) being appropriately represented at events such as the Oyster Festival, had being one of my long-term (and inapropriately responded to) complaints.
WHAT WAS ALSO NOT ADDRESSED, AND STILL HASN’T BEEN, WAS THE KNYSNA TOURISM BOARD’S AND THE KNYSNA MUNICIPALITY’S PERFECT FAILURE TO PROVIDE OVERSIGHT. They cannot claim to be innocent or ignorant because:
- The evidence from Shaun van Eck’s hearing found no evidence that he’d been asked to present monthly financial reports to the Board.
- Board members were/are associated with companies and family members receiving sponsorship from Knysna Tourism.
- The Knysna Municipality and Knysna Tourism has been questioned regards the budget and more for 2 years by Tourism member, Mike Hampton a.k.a. Wicked Mike a.k.a. me. They cannot deny their failure to respond as i consistently documented such through my blog, The Knysna Keep.
Even at the 2012 AGM, despite my queries, the then Chair of the Board thanked CEO Shaun van Eck for his hard work and input and the accounts were declared financially sound.
Now, with the blame shifted solely onto Shaun van Eck, the majority of Board members have remained and made decisions as if CEO (a long vacant position) and promoted the Jamaican trip taker to temporary manager of Knysna Tourism. The whole affair (including massive legal bills and a golden handshake to the ex-CEO) gets rolled under the rug, out of sight of the public, and Knysna Tourism receives another R4 million courtesy of the taxpayer who had no one to protect them.
The DA’s, Tourism Board’s and Knysna Municipality’s non-actions and actions were not mistakes to be forgiven but rather deliberate decisions deserving investigation.
On January 25 2013, Knysna Tourism issued this bollocks: “The matter between former Knysna Tourism CEO and the Knysna Tourism Board was settled in an amicable manner. In a joint statement the parties confirm that they leave the relationship without prejudice, wishing each other well for their respective efforts in advancing Knysna as a top tourism destination. The terms of the settlement remains confidential by agreement.”
Their audacity staggers belief!
Read Part 5 at www.knysnakeep.org/knysna-corruption-5-their-blind-eye.