The goal of this blog is to promote questioning by the public and to encourage the DA to stop pretending to be leaders and rather “become” leaders who uphold their election promises. We are living in tough and dangerous times. The only option should be to look, plan and act forward.
Instead, so far the DA has made generalized statements without substance. They did so for the elections and the Municipal Manager catastrophe which will land up costing taxpayers near a million rand. Now, they’re doing it again by not providing details about the 100-Day Action Plan they’ve initiated. The Knysna Municipality’s website doesn’t even mention it. They need to be more forthcoming about the challenges faced and how to overcome them. Hence this 3rd chapter in criticizing their 100-Day Action “Plan”. Follow these links to read part 1 and part 2 if you haven’t already.
Regular readers will know that my activism began because something stank at Knysna Tourism. From conversations with the general public, some organizations and the opposition, i’ve found that most agree with me. The naysayers tend to have connections to Tourism Board members, CEO Shaun van Eck and the DA councillors. There are also misguided souls who take sides because of the colour of skin. I request that they please skip cronyism and apartheid and instead ask why the aforementioned “powers that be” have still not answered questions, particularly regarding the budget, for the past 116 days. Instead, the DA, the so called heralds of “truth, transparency and the open-door policy”, chose to stall, lie and then close their doors once they realized that they weren’t going to tire me out.
This is all extremely relevant considering that Deputy mayor Michelle Wasserman stated in the Action Ads, as part of their 100-Day Action Plan, “We will engage proactively with Knysna Tourism. We will revitalize Knysna as a destination choice.” In light of their previous misbehaviour (the lies, covering up Shaun van Eck’s arse and ensuring an all-white Tourism Board to represent the “town for all), how can we trust their motives?
Does more effort by the DA towards Tourism mean that who gets what remains a secret with no respect for the +/- R4 million of taxpayer’s money Knysna Tourism gets? More for the same service providers that they won’t reveal? Does it mean that 85% of Knysna’s population remains in the dark? Does it mean workshops that actually make a difference? Does it mean finally taking a position on the bypass and the train? Does it mean that they will start targeting nearer towns (Bloem etc.) and try get that Afrikaans market that splits around us, heading to Plett and Mosselbaai? Does it mean we’ll aim at emerging economies such as China and India? Does it mean-
-What does it mean?
Michelle Wasserman: “We will implement a complaints e-system for the entire municipality that allows customers and staff to log and track complaints. Our website will also be updated to make it relevant and user-friendly.” 61 days ago, at a meeting with the very same Michelle, Councillor Esme Edge and our Rent-A-Mayor, i brought up the issue of complaints not being responded to or tracked. Michelle said then that they were installing a system as mentioned here. Giving them latitude of 30 days to get quotes and another 30 days to install, why has it not happened already? Why is it always delay?
The municipal website is atrocious not in design but in lack of content. It had the old mayor on for the first month of the new one’s reign. Why aren’t their regular updates on pollution of the Knysna Lagoon etc.? It still doesn’t have contact details for any of our “open door” councillors even though Michelle, at the same meeting, said that they would be put on. That’s something so simple it could have been done the same day…or in 10 minutes as i did when posting them at The KEEP. Worse still, the municipality utilizes Knysna PR, the same organization that deserves questioning for the role it plays with Knysna Tourism. Knysna PR hasn’t added me to the mailing list despite 3 requests, 2 in person. I have posted far more articles on my Knysna websites than Tourism and the Municipality combined. Just imagine what i could do with a PR organization at my disposal:) Jokes aside, why aren’t the DA ensuring that they’re getting bang for their PR buck?
Please, DA, i can understand that an e-system will undoubtedly be costly but a website is fairly cheap. Don’t go wasting lots of money on it like you allow Tourism to do. You need a simple website that does the job, not something fancy that doesn’t. Be sure to share the quotes with us.
I don’t have sufficient knowledge to comment fully on rebates and municipal property holdings. I’ve learned a lot during this process but still have a long way to go as one question normally leads to more. I do have questions but will return to this more fully at a later stage. For now, suggestions would include building utilization as a city business hub, aimed at organizations and training, and rural holdings for farming projects (the South African government holds half of the availabe land in the country, which could end the land-transfer debacle if they chose, so it’s apt to ask what the Knysna Municipality holds).
Michelle Wasserman: “The entire staffing structure will be reviewed to ensure that Knysna Municipality, as an organization, is as effective as possible.” Translated, that means that “the witch hunt is on!”
The Knysna’s DA’s election campaign stated that it will be rooting out corruption which implies that they knew that there was corruption (which could lead to interesting legal challenges if they don’t cough up a criminal or two). Don’t misunderstand me. I abhor corruption. It is the selfish scourge of our nation and i’ve had, unfortunately, personal and professional experience with it. I’m for punishing white collar offenders more severely, especially if they’ve abused public office and public trust. My issue here is the DA’s handling of it. I understand that there are grey areas in life and that within politics it gets even muddier…which is all the more reason for politicians to work harder towards shared clarity. And so long as the DA fails to produce truth and transparency, they are acting like criminals themselves.
The major mishandling of staff is epitomized by the DA’s farewell to Johnny Douglas, the ex-Municipal Manager. Consider the matter large and important enough for it’s repetition on this blog. Interpretation of the matter is divided by skin and political affiliation. One side believes that Johnny Douglas was corrupt and that the DA scored a major victory…but, if so, it wasn’t really a victory if he isn’t punished and walks away with a handshake worth near a million. That would mean the DA supports the concept of “crime pays”.
The other viewpoint is political motivation i.e. the DA is purging ANC members from municipalities in the Western Cape. If true, i understand the reasoning even if i disagree. After all, the ANC’s cadre deployment is undemocratic and illogical for efficiency. And the DA can’t accuse the ANC of such actions if they are doing the same. The same rules must apply to both sides!
It’s ludicrous that the Knysna Municipality is becoming paralyzed. I’m not exaggerating. When i wanted to pursue my Tourism queries with Reggie Smit, the Director of Corporate Services, the department responsible for signing off on Tourism’s cash, Mayor Georlene Wolmarans told me that i must instead deal with Lauren Waring, the Acting Municipal Manager i.e. Reggie is been sidelined. The same happened when i wanted help from Community Services regarding school contacts to assist the free school directory i’ve created. When the secretary of Director Botha said it wasn’t their mandate and wouldn’t help point me in the right direction, i asked for her boss’ edress so that i could appeal to him, her response was that mails must be directed to Lauren Waring. When i queried why, she wouldn’t answer i.e. witch hunt definitely on. As an add-on point, Lauren Waring won’t respond to me. Is she now a “hatchet man” for the DA?
It’s the latest hoo-ha that the opposition is harping on. I’m understanding of the fact that the DA has a tough task but with their skulduggery leadership they will only array more forces against them. It’s part of the reason why the Justice & Equality Fund has been launched in neighbouring Plett. I may not be an ANC/ANCYL member but i support the concept as it’s based on respecting the Constitution of South Africa. The DA needs to do the same. The DA needs to uphold their election promises otherwise they are no better than those that they are accusing.
So, Michelle, dear, please provide us with a real, 100-Day Action Plan, full of information and integrity.Knysna needs it. Knysna deserves it.