4 months ago, the Democratic Alliance took power in Knysna. They were armed with smiles and no plan worth merit. Yesterday, Deputy Mayor Michelle Wasserman, who also heads up the Finance and Governance Committee, announced the 100 Day Action Plan – Back to Basics. I can’t wait to applaud our leaders but today is not that day.
It’s understandable that the Knysna Council needed time to find their feet. They had only one experienced councillor. For the rest, a metaphor of “estate agent one day and councillor the next” says it well. We are a small town and anyone, whether a waitron or engineer, who gains the support of the people, rightfully gets the position. Unfortunately, the lack of skills makes it hard to match people to the necessary portfolios. The advocate gets Finance, the beautician Infrastructure etc. I’m a firm believer that people with brains and management experience can adjust to broader challenges but it’s also unlikely that there are enough capable people in this lot. So what do you do so that all have a role and are “important”? Toss them into a community services, arts and culture etc. where they can do less damage? The result is that a few will take on a bigger burden.
I’ve given you reasons why the DA should be given some slack which has probably befuddled you as that has not been my nature on this blog. There is a difference between understanding the bigger picture, accepting some delays, and holding our leaders accountable for their actions and non-actions. Sometimes, they will have valid excuses but the Knysna DA began with 2 major errors. The first was relying on ANC/Malema hate for votes instead of composing a general, yet adaptable plan going in. The DA won because of the ANC, not because of themselves. Their attitude was mostly “let’s catch the baddies” which deflects from their own failings. The second error was in lying to the public and the people that voted for them. They promised truth, transparency and an open-door policy, 3 lies in a row that have made me and others into critics i.e. how do we trust what they say now if they’ve lied in the past?
Here are the goals of their 100-Day Action Plan:
- Engage Knysna Business Chamber pro-actively.
- Engage Knysna Tourism pro-actively.
- Promote Knysna as a destination for both visitors and business.
- Review of tender process with the goal of giving local businesses preference as much as possible.
- Review of property holdings in order to ascertain best possible use.
- Review rebates policy with view to encourage job creation and the responsible use of water and energy resources.
- Entire staffing structure to be reviewed.
- Implementation of an e-system for complaints so that they can be tracked.
- Website update to make it relevant and user-friendly.
Sounds wonderful…but is it?
The BIG problem is that those are goals and not a real plan. They did it before the election and now they’re doing it again.
Unlike the DA, The KEEP is full of substance. Hopefully, what i type next will help you understand Knysna, and the DA, better…
Read Part 2 here.