Before you read this detailed complaint, take a long moment to Imagine been down on the ground, injured and in awful pain. Someone’s shadow looms over you. You ask for help. They kick you in the teeth… again and again and again and again and again…
Democratic Alliance (DA) supporters and politicians, their opposition and victims should read this Great Knysna Fire & Intimidation Complaint. It remains unanswered by the Western Cape Government and the DA for 4 months. I believe that the refusal to respond is linked to the deliberate cover-up of government responsibility for the fire and, in the greater context, its ties to long-running DA corruption.
Being honest isn’t being rude, it’s being honest. There must be a duty to warn the Public against threat. Helen Zille is a threat to our safety. She must urgently be removed as Premier and suspended by the DA. National Government must launch a Commission of Inquiry.
I’m an activist fighting for my town against enormous obstacles. Helen Zille is a corrupt politician betraying everything except herself and her party, the DA. The fact that she won’t respond to this serious Great Knysna Fire and Intimidation Complaint is her nature rather than the exception. Not even the people who died or became homeless can make her do her duty!
The DA will do everything it can to not represent the citizens of South Africa where it conflicts with its party’s interests. That includes protecting their false marketing image and their nasty friends. Because Helen’s failed to separate her powers of party player and Premier, she’s severely affected who we can turn to. So far, there’s been no help, her flea-bag politicians allowed to run rabid in our DA-captured province. If you downloaded the DA Corruption Document, you will clearly know what I mean. That’s emphasised by Noseweek’s exposure that there was another damning investigation into the Knysna Fire that has been kept hidden from us by our own damn government.
This is the Knysna Fire & Intimidation Complaint Helen Zille won’t respond to. As the 4-month old email shows, neither will DA MEC Local Government Anton Bredell, DA Leader Mmusi Maimane and DA FedEx Chair James Selfe. I sent it to both party and administration because there’s practically no difference between them.
Note that owing to the continued abuse of the courts by the DA and the Knysna Municipality (another complaint Helen and her corrupt friends won’t respond to), I’ve had to hide the names of a few people so that I’m not held in contempt of Court or in contravention of what amount to gag orders on behalf of corruption. It’s awful that bad people are being protected.
Helen and the DA don’t want the greater Public to know the truth about the underhanded way in which they operate against South Africa’s best interest. One day, wherever you are in a DA-run municipality in South Africa, you may also be treated this terribly after your own disaster.
KNYSNA FIRE & INTIMIDATION EMAIL
Firstly, here’s proof that the complaint and request for assistance were sent on September 18 2017. As Helen, Mmusi and Anton’s support staff also received it, it assists in proving cover-up in the context of all that’s happened (not only the fire). If their staff want us to believe that they’re not party to damaging us, they must prove that they’ve reported the failure of their bosses to other authorities, particularly the police.
KNYSNA FIRE & INTIMIDATION COMPLAINT
I, Michael James Hampton, submit the following complaint to Premier Helen Zille, DA Leader Mmusi Maimane, DA Federal Executive Chair James Selfe and MEC Local Government Anton Bredell:
I am an adult male of 45 years of age with identity number [removed], edress email@example.com and last home address of 6 Riverglades, Kanonkop, Knysna.
It must be noted that my rented home and possessions were destroyed in the Great Knysna Fire of June 7. I’ve been forced to move several times and am unsure when that’ll stop. I’m also under threat. Consequently, it’s best to communicate with me via email. However, that comes with the caveat. I will be unavailable for 2-4 weeks whilst I prepare evidence in many matters, including the ongoing threat you, as Government and the Democratic Alliance, pose to me. However, this matter should be treated separately. It’s your duty to accept the complaint and investigate.
Although, as a victim, I play a role in this story, it’s more important that the whole town of Knysna was the Victim. The investigation required must, mostly, point at Local Government, both Knysna Municipality and Knysna’s Council.
I’m presenting facts regarding the Great Knysna Fire which began June 7 2017, facts that are mostly already in the public domain although some not getting the attention they deserve from mainstream media.
The facts contained herein, save where indicated otherwise, are within my own personal knowledge and are, to the best of my knowledge and belief, both true and correct.
As I’m a layman, the accusations I make cannot be limited to the consideration of culpable homicide, obstruction of justice, defeating the ends of justice, fraud and intimidation. It’s for authorities to consider the breadth of charges according to the evidence they uncover. Considering the specialist investigation required, I request that the MEC and the Premier ensure that a Knysna Fire Commission of Inquiry is instituted. Maimane and Selfe’s role is to ensure that the ongoing placing of Democratic Alliance interests before the Public of Knysna discontinues, that the duty of our Government isn’t interfered with. It’s also the responsibility of the DA to deal with the threat by their councillors against me.
Impartiality must be insisted upon. The Knysna Fire Commission must exclude any member of government who is currently facing allegations of maladministration and corruption with relationship to Knysna. It must exclude anyone who can be held liable for the fire or consequent damage. It must exclude the Knysna Municipality and Knysna Council in any capacity other than as witnesses. This Fire Commission must not repeat the mistakes of excluding the Public. It must be unbiased. It must include a healthy compliment of local residents ranging from scientists and engineers to victims and resident associations. The Knysna Fire Commission should address, but not be limited to, the following:
7.1 The cause of the fire.
7.2 A timeline of Fire fighting and related Municipal/Provincial//National actions, what resources were received and how they were allocated.
7.3 The alleged theft of donations. This must include the Knysna Municipality’s Spring Street depot, Woodmill Lane Depot, and products such as tents.
7.4 The failure to deposit donations publicly promised to KFM, Gift of the Givers etc.
7.5 The blocking of communication and transparency.
7.6 The poor handling of victims, especially the homeless. This must include the attitude and actions of politicians and associates towards victims.
7.7 The use of propaganda and intimidation by Local Government (with particular reference to Councillor Dr Martin Young and Fire Chief Clinton Manuel threats to the Public, and the failure by their counterparts and superiors to investigate them, thus making their actions representative for all).
7.8 The illegally appointed/contracted Knysna Municipality staff who were in leadership positions during the fire e.g. Dawie Adonis and Fran Kirsten.
7.9 The handling of, and failed response to, the 2010 Fire Risk Analysis that predicted our disaster.
7.10 Why National Government never declared Knysna a disaster area.
7.11 Final statistics on destroyed homes, damaged buildings, unemployment, loss of taxable income etc.
I’m an activist who lived, for two years, at 6 Riverglades in the Knysna suburb of Kanonkop. On June 7, at approximately 5pm, I evacuated owing to fire in the forest beside our complex, and an enormous amount of smoke that made it difficult to breathe.
It’s been reported that 585 homes were destroyed in Knysna but that figure has varied. There were also several deaths. The majority of both were caused by the fire that originated in Elandskraal to jump the Knysna River and Salt River (between which I lived).
As the owner of the Love Knysna Facebook Page which has almost 12,000 subscribers, and an associated political blog, KnysnaKeep.org, I’m generally our town’s main voice on serious issues. I remained one of the main voices during the fire crisis and its aftermath. My outspokenness and exposure of corruption have made me very unpopular among the many crooks who control the Knysna Municipality and Knysna Council. That is well known, common knowledge.
THE KNYSNA FIRE DEPARTMENT
In 2016, I wrote an article about an alleged racist incident involving a fireman [details removed due to Court proceedings]. The City of Cape Town initially failed to institute a disciplinary hearing, allegedly because of the fireman’s relationship with his superiors, Clinton Manuel and Richard Bosman. However, after SAMWU threatened to protest, a hearing began only to find [that fireman] quitting on the second day. He would later gain a job in Knysna, selected by a panel that included his friend Manuel (now Knysna’s Fire Chief) and Manuel’s friend Director Community Services Dawie Adonis. I would pursue this story, discovering that Adonis had been illegally appointed and that a question mark hung over Manuel’s appointment.
The fireman in question took me to the Knysna Magistrates’ Court, requesting a Protection Order. That trial has dragged on for one year.
Involved in the case, as witnesses, are Manuel, Adonis, an ex-DA Candidate and an ex-DA Councillor [names removed due to Court proceedings].
The Case Number is [removed]. Magistrate [removed] presides.
This background is necessary as it has generated further ill-feeling towards me which will be described below.
The initial intimidation of me by Fire Chief Clint Manuel was reported via motion [CH01a] and an attached affidavit [CH01b]. From the latter’s para 44 and 55, I quote: “I’m an activist who sometimes deals with bad people and consequently come under threat. Through experience, I’m a decent judge of behaviour. On May 18 2017, during recess, Fire Chief Clint Manuel tried to intimidate me. He did not threaten me with direct words but his repetition clearly carried subtext. Combined with his posture and facial expression, and his refusal to leave at my request, it was obviously a threat. He has much to lose if my allegations are proved true, his career limited because he and the Applicant gained their positions in Knysna after escaping scandal in Cape Town… If a SAPS officer had been in attendance this wouldn’t have happened.”
Magistrate [name removed] has yet to respond.
On June 7 2017, the Great Knysna Fire began. I was in the last car to evacuate from Riverglades, a complex in the forest in Kanonkop. I was in [name removed], a neighbour’s car. There was barely space in the vehicle because of the possessions they were saving. [name removed], [name removed]’s mother, sat on my lap. I’d been checking the houses and was battling for breath. I was fortunate to bump into them on the way out.
The first person we saw was Fire Chief Clinton Manuel. He was standing alone next to the ‘bakkie’ fire vehicle in Welbedacht Lane. This was approximately 5pm.
Considering his previous intimidation of me, I immediately worried that my neighbours were about to ask for help from possibly the wrongest person instead of the seemingly most appropriate for the job. That was confirmed when they stopped and he responded to them by looking at me and just saying, “Hampton.”
Manuel was approximately 1.5km from our complex. No houses had burnt down at that stage. 19 of the 25 would burn down, more if neighbouring homes are included. The house where the fire first arrived strangely remains standing [I add that a neighbour drove from Cape Town and managed to save his 3 houses].
On July 22, I went to Polvo Coffee Bar which is situated at 50 Main Road, behind Steers. Owing to the loss of my home and internet connection, I was forced to work on my laptop from restaurants. When I entered, Manuel was talking to Fouche, the owner of Polvo. I would later realise that Manuel was there to be interviewed by the owner for a book he was writing [about the fire].
Manuel made an overbearing point of repeatedly saying hello despite me ignoring him. I went to the other side of the counter, into the second room where I’d be out of sight of him.
Fearing he would act inappropriately, as he had in Court, I began recording audio via my laptop [CH03]. Although initially indistinguishable, he and the owner can be heard in the background in the other room.
After a minute of recording, during which it can be heard that I’m working alone (only the sound of my typing), Manuel approached me to stand right against the small table and hover over me. That he intentionally made his way to me despite my obvious unwillingness to interact with him must be noted.
Likely knowing Fouche could be witness, he continues his false friendliness. It’s obvious from my lack of response that I did not want him there.
He switches tactic, asking if he is threatening or intimidating. It’s rhetorical because the only reason for him to ask is because of my motion and queries to Magistrate [name removed] must have been inappropriately shared with him. It’s further foundation to his intimidation of me that he chooses to approach me instead of staying away as a sensible person would.
I repeatedly tell him to leave me alone. He then says that it’s me who isn’t leaving him alone. That can only refer to my complaints to the Knysna Municipality and the fireman [name removed] court case. That further emphasises that his intention in approaching me is not to be friendly.
When Manuel states, “You don’t leave me alone which is why I don’t leave you alone,” he makes his harassment of me clear.
Manuel’s false position is emphasised when he says: “If you write crap about me, be prepared that I’m going to confront you any time.”
Manuel then says, “I’ve also got a history that you will never uncover.” I considered that as further threat and suggestion that he should not be in a leadership position and that his hiring by the Knysna Municipality was inappropriate.
I responded that “We’ll meet in Court.” Manuel said, “No we won’t, we’ll meet in the street.” That can only be interpreted as a threat.
Fouche had left the counter and walked to the lounge suite in the far corner opposite me. Manuel joined him and shot out again, through the noise of someone else instructing a waiter on how to make coffee, “That’s where the playing fields are levelled, on the street.” Again, his words are threatening.
INVESTIGATION INTO THE FIRE
So far, there have been two investigations into the cause of the Great Knysna Fire (that burned for two weeks, beginning June 7 2017). The first was by Knysna Municipality. The second by Dr David Klatzow who was hired by Afriforum. The reports are in stark contrast, the Municipality’s absolving themselves of responsibility whereas Afriforum’s diplomatically points at the Municipality.
Knysna Municipality’s Fire Report:
On August 15 2017, suspiciously the day before Afriforum was supposed to publish their much-anticipated investigation into the Great Knysna Fire, the Knysna Municipality’s Fire Chief Clint Manuel delivered his report on their internal investigation. He was accompanied and supported by Knysna Mayor Eleanore Spies and Municipal Manager Kam Chetty.
It needs checking whether the investigation was conducted under Chetty or his predecessor, Acting Municipal Manager Johnny Douglas.
The report was delivered as a presentation to media in Council Chambers. This was composed of a slideshow, speeches by Manuel, Spies and Chetty who, subsequently, were involved in a question and answer session. It must be noted that the full report, as something other than a slideshow presentation, hasn’t been supplied to the Public despite the on-camera assurances that would happen that day. Requests for the report have been ignored. Over a month has passed since that presentation.
Manuel stated: “Looking at the evidence scientifically, evidence points to the origin of the fire as being on a clearing site in Elandskraal. Specific patterns of the burn scars on a farm show a definite V pattern that indicates with a high degree of certainty the site where the fire started. Just below this scar, we have found evidence of man-made fire. The evidence further shows that it is this fire that spread due to the weather patterns of 7 June. I can confirm that the cause of the fire being an Act of God is dispelled. We cannot say that this fire was started as a criminal act of arson, in other words deliberately, that investigation and conclusion is up to the South African Police Services.”
Notably, the Municipality’s report included information provided by Richard Morris and Dr Wallace Vosloo, residents of the Knysna area known as Elandskraal.
The report was accompanied by a press release by the Municipality:
40.1 Knysna Municipality Fire Report slideshow [CH03a]
40.2 Knysna Municipality Fire report live broadcast [CH03b]
40.3 Knysna Municipality Press Release: Act of God Ruled Out [CH03c]
Summarily, the Knysna Municipality decided that the lightning-induced two-month smoulder in Elandskraal was not the cause of the disaster but rather a human-induced fire as ‘evidenced’ by a pine cone and a log on the other side of the hill. They repeatedly termed this as “scientific” which, in light of Afriforum’s better, more scientific report, must be considered as propaganda and fraud.
Afriforum’s Fire Report:
Afriforum’s 7 August 2017 report was due for public release on 16 August. It was delayed, the notable fact being that Afriforum and investigator Dr David Klatzow met with Premier Helen Zille.
In between the reports, there was loud rejection by the Public of the Municipality’s version of events. In particular, a Facebook post by Morne Jonker, a resident of Elandskraal, was widely shared [CH04].
Jonker’s post included: “Very little was reported on the original lightning strike of 12th April, causing 11 weeks of underground smoldering fires, which were clearly the cause of the Great Fire. Fire Chief Clint Manuel’s exact location of origin is incorrect. Their argument is guided to have the public think the fire started near the one home. Not true! The fire originated a couple of hundred meters ‘down the same ridge’ where us pilots spotted and photographed the smoke in April. The public need to ask only this one question? Why is there this concerted effort to not acknowledge the lightning strike as the origin of fire? The answer is because this smouldering fire was reported on various occasions from April to June, with no action taken. If the authorities who reasoned then, that the terrain was unfit for entry and inspection due to the thick indigenous forest and steep terrain, how can they now report there was “human activity” at the origin of fire? This case is far from over.”
The Afriforum report was released on 22 August 2017, live-streamed via Facebook (that footage will have to be acquired from Afriforum). The forensic report is available [CH05].
Dr David Klatzow, the forensic investigator, was hired by Afriforum to investigate the Great Knysna Fire.
Klatzow stated that Helen Zille stated that the truth must come out which immediately implied that the Municipality’s report was being disputed.
Klatzow said: “My view and the Knysna Fire Department’s view are 180 degrees apart.”
Klatzow believes that fire started as a combination of human negligence and wind.
His focus became the fire in the Karatara/Elandskraal region. There, the tracking of the fire was assisted by the failure of power lines. In fact, Eskom power lines reported surges two months previously which, after triangulation, shows, with good accuracy, where a lightning strike occurred. This led to a smouldering fire which continued underground until the winds of June 7 combusted it into the flame that attacked Knysna.
This is the same area where the Knysna Fire Department has been accused by residents of failing to respond to complaints of a smouldering fire by residents.
Fire Chief Clint Manuel was complimented by Knysna Mayor Eleanore Spies when he presented his alternate report which claimed that the cause of the fire was likely by vagrants with pine cones and logs. Klatzow’s tone may have been diplomatic but his words were clearly reprimanding: “Never be an investigator in your own cause. Never be a judge in your own case.”
He went further by stating that the Knysna Fire Department based their report on a number of false premises. Their point of origin of the fire was incorrect, located on the wrong side of a hill. They also “quoted local residents out of context in a way that changes what they said.”
During the question and answer session afterwards, Klatzow said that we, “Need to persuade the authorities to establish a commission of inquiry.”
Klatzow’s live presentation was emphasised by his detailed report:
55.1 “These fires had their origin high in the forested area some 20 km to the north-west of Knysna. The ignition source of this fire was a well-documented lightning strike. This caused localised smouldering combustion which was fanned to significant flaming combustion on the morning of 7 June. The climatic and wind conditions drove this fire into Knysna.
55.2 Of concern are the timely and repeated warnings given to the authorities regarding this fire. It appears that these warnings did not result in any action being taken. Prompt fire prevention methods such as water bombing and ground crews may very well have averted this western fire catastrophe.”
Afriforum’s report is clearly the more convincing of the two reports.
If Afriforum’s report is true, that makes the Knysna Municipality culpable for the fire, it’s damage and deaths.
If that us true, there will be fingers pointed at the Sedgefield Fire Station which received complaints of the smoulder (fire origin) before the disaster (yet never acted).
It’s plausible that the [Sedgefield Fire Station]’s boss, Fire Chief Clint Manuel, was also aware and, thus, also never acted.
The Municipality’s version ensures that the Municipality and its staff are not responsible for their estimate of R4->5-billion (excluding personal losses by homeowners) in damage.
The Municipality’s version ensures that they are not responsible for the deaths of:
61.1 Tony Johnston (30)
61.2 Madré a.k.a Mandy Johnston (28)
61.3 Unborn child of Tony and Mandy (8 months in the womb)
61.4 Michael Johnston (3)
61.5 Enala Manda (22)
61.6 Catherine Matope (4)
61.7 John Blauw (63)
There was also the death of firefighter Bradley Richards (24) from a fire the other side of town during the same period. His death must be looked at separately, in light of the cause of that fire also possibly being stated incorrectly by the Knysna Municipality in their report.
It’s unprofessional and altogether convenient that the Knysna Municipality chose to investigate themselves. It’s cannot be ignored that Afriforum’s report, backed by more scientific information, contradicts theirs. It cannot be ignored that Knysna Municipality misrepresented the information from learned residents that it used in its report. That will be confirmed by both the relevant residents and Afriforum.
It also cannot be ignored that Local, District and Provincial Government are publicly and conveniently ignoring Afriforum’s report, neither disputing it nor supporting it. It’s illegal to ignore evidence of a crime so, in particular, Premier Helen Zille’s actions since her meeting with Afriforum needs to be questioned.
How did Fire Chief Clinton Manuel react to my neighbours’ plea to save our homes? Did he make an effort or did he let it burn because of their association with me? A timeline of his actions, and how resources were allocated, is required. It must also be explained how the leader in fighting fires wasn’t better located, instead alone in Welbedacht Road. And if it was a coincidence that the suburb of Green Pastures was virtually unscathed, an oasis in the midst of disaster, despite suburbs around it being affected i.e. Kanonkop, Eastford, Blaricum Heights, Paradise and Knysna Heights. Notably, Manuel’s boss, the illegally appointed Director of Community Services Dawie Adonis, resides there.
Manuel’s threat to me requires investigation. It’s logical for me to assume that his bad will towards me will only increase with my efforts for transparency and accountability.
An anonymously run Facebook page called Landwater made two posts that an investigator and, particularly, the Prosecutor should consider.
The first was an exercise in logic to show that the Municipality’s investigative approach was illogical [CH05]. The second was a 2010 Veldfire Risk Analysis that predicted the 2017 disaster with disturbing accuracy [CH06].
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) National Vedfire Risk Assessment assessed 32 towns in the Western Cape. Knysna was determined to be the most at risk, George was second. The third was far, far behind. It’s important to discover who in government received this report. Did they fail to act on it? Or did they try, finding others unwilling to cooperate? Was Knysna Municipality informed? These are excerpts from CSIR assessment, their risk analysis:
69.1 Time of year: May to September.
-Prevailing weather conditions: 30-40 km/hr NE-NW winds and changing to SW gusting to 100 km/hr, warm to hot (25º C plus, RH 20-50% and less), after 2-3 days of high FDI (Orange and Red > 61), nor preceding rain 69.2
Consequence: Social: serious injury or death: job losses, loss of houses and livelihoods;
-Economic: extensive loss of timber resource, sawmills, machinery and equipment, buildings: major; towns and villages exposed and could be affected as well as agricultural; Forest and timber industry more prominent here than in the west and the timber resource is more closely linked to eco-tourism. Major
-Environmental: Biodiversity negatively effected in case of too frequent fires resulting in local loss of species; loss of topsoil due to erosion during heavy rains (flooding) follows severe fires; water resource degraded; spread of alien invasive plant species: High
Risk level: Extreme social; High economic; High environmental. Overall = Extreme
69.3 In this scenario, which currently is likely in this region as exemplified by recent cases, a wildfire under late winter berg wind conditions in advance of a cold front exceeds the landowners’ capacity to respond, requiring neighbour, municipal and regional support.
69.4 Under the conditions of severe weather and high loads of flammable fuels, the fire cannot be contained within 12 hours; the wildfire destroys resources as set out above. Serious human injury and even mortality is more likely in such fires than those in the surrounding fynbos.
An illegal or questionable municipal appointment would normally be the responsibility of the government to sort but must surely become the role of the police in a situation of homicide and property loss.
Fran Kirsten was the friend and election campaign manager of now Knysna Mayor Eleanore Spies. It’s rumoured that Kirsten was promised a job as Spies never had enough money to pay her. Whether true or not, it’s notable that Kirsten was illegally contracted as Manager of the Knysna Municipality’s Communication Department for 10 months. I submitted a complaint to Knysna Municipality which was ignored. My submission to the Public Protector details the illegality [CH07]. I also complained to NCOP’s Select Committee Petitions & Executive Undertakings. Recently, Kirsten left the ’employ’ of the Municipality after new Chief Financial Officer Mbelo Memani refused to pay her as he considered it irregular expenditure.
The Knysna Fire Department and Disaster Management reported to Director Community Services Dawie Adonis who illegally held that position for 3 years. I submitted a complaint to Knysna Municipality which was ignored. My submission to the Public Protector details the illegality [CH08]. I also complained to NCOP’s Select Committee Petitions & Executive Undertakings. In July 2017, 2 weeks after the fire started, the Knysna Municipality admitted, in Council Chambers, that Adonis was illegal. However, they have continued to pay him and he isn’t suspended.
It’s alleged that Adonis is friends with Manuel from a previous Municipality which influenced Adonis being on the committee which hired Manuel as Knysna Fire Chief, helping him escape an alleged scandal of infidelity with his secretary in Cape Town. There’s no proof of cronyistic appointment but it must be noted that the information needed to assess the situation has been denied to me by Knysna Municipality and the Democratic Alliance. Additionally, Manuel’s intimidation of me has already been explained in this document.
Manuel was friends with [name removed] in Cape Town where [name removed] experienced his scandal. Manuel and Adonis were on the Committee that hired [name removed] to [position removed]. There’s no proof of cronyistic appointment but it must be noted that the information needed to assess the situation has been denied to me by Knysna Municipality and the Democratic Alliance. I have laid a complaint with NCOP and the Public Protector [MH09].
There were two, possibly four, people in charge during the Great Knysna Fire who should never have been in charge. It must be determined if they played a part in the mishandling of the disaster. It must also be discovered why, as long as a year before the fire, why the City of Cape Town refused to cooperate regarding requests for information by myself regarding Manuel and [name removed].
The failure by the Knysna Municipality and MEC Anton Bredell to appropriately address these appointments emphasises that they cannot be trusted and have a lot to lose by being honest.
It’s emphasised that there’s reason for me to take Manuel’s intimidation seriously. I certainly cannot trust the Fire Department to be the help they are supposed to be in an emergency.
DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE COUNCILLOR DR MARTIN YOUNG
You have long had, in your possession, repeated complaints by me against the misconduct of Democratic Alliance Knysna Councillor Dr Martin Young.
You’re well aware of the DA and Government’s wrongful actions as described in my Love Knysna Petition to NCOP [MH10a->e] and my many submissions to the Public Protector. Young’s actions to discredit me with extreme propaganda and defamation benefits criminals I’ve exposed in the Democratic Alliance (DA). That, together with your deliberate failure to act against Young and his associates, suggests that his nefarious actions are committed at the behest of the leadership of the Western Cape and the Democratic Alliance.
Young, who must be seen as acting for the DA, chose to use the Great Knysna Fire as another excuse to attack me, that despite me having being made homeless and having lost most of my possessions. It showed not only disrespect for me but for every rentee who lost their home and for my fellow victims I was trying to help.
On June 27 2017, Young posted: “He didn’t. his home did not burn down. He didn’t ‘lose everything in this disaster. He had very little to begin with, and now that there are many, many others deserving of help, diluting the sympathy due his way, this is his response…” [CH11a] In the comment section of Young’s post it was said [CH11b]:
81.1 Martin Young: “It is accusing him of the same stuff that he accuses the municipality of lacking- honesty, integrity and more…”
81.2 Martin Young: “His proclamation is essentially fraudulent-it may even be criminal. It is certainly very disasteful under the circumstances and the 400-500 people who did lose everything have a right to be annoyed.”
81.3 Martin Young: “I asked him directly 20 minutes ago. He refused to answer. Why would he refuse if he had lost his stuff? Any chance to prove me wrong would be a bonus to him…”
81.4 Martin Young: “If he did indeed lose his home, then I will apologize unconditionally in a separate post. If he did not, then it is of crucial public interest because of his six years of attacks on Knysna Municipality that have seriously damaged this town with very little substance to them. He has made allegations of dishonesty, fraud etc etc without substantive evidence – it has gone on and on and on ….. If he is now acting deceptively the public, particularly those who support him financially, have a right to know that they are being conned. That is why it is important.”
81.5 “I would apologize if I knew I was wrong. I’ve asked for confirmation from him – he refuses to give it in person, except by that email reply, which I take to mean he did not lose his house…. attempts to clarify with him have been met with obscenities and rudeness ….”
81.6 Mayor Eleanore Spies: “… I am sorry to say that this is not the truth… but I dare not say it on his page & I will be blocked.” [CH11c]
81.7 Baden Hall: “It was matter of time before this narcissistic low-life once again used a tragedy to endeavour to reap alms from the unsuspecting and/gullible public.”
81.8 Ronald Freebury: “What a lowlife lazy man… He needs to get a job like the rest of us and work hard to build a house first before he can begin to compare himself to the people who have lost so much…”
81.9 Ronald Freebury: “I call a spade a spade… I call a con artist a con artist… There actually need to be more people in the world like me instead of keeping quiet about people doing wrong… It’s actually fear based Wendy… People like me are the ones who stop child molesters from continuing on their path of destruction of innocent lives… I will continue to call a spade a spade…. And you continue however you feel fit…”
81.10 Ronald Freebury: “Lynette Mullins. Please stick to the facts… Dr Martin Young never insulted anybody… He simply claimed that Hampton has lost nothing in the fires and is warning the community not to be fooled by those lies…”
81.11 Tracy Clifford Statt: “I noticed how cowardly this character was at the public meeting held by the municipality for the community after the fire…”
81.12 Hans Viljoen: You can not claims omething if you did not have anything before the fires Mike. Did you not rent a furnished flat Mike?”
81.13 DA Youth leader Bjorn Oria: “Can someone please tell this character that Monday Wimpy in knysna will be close on free WiFi. And also Cllr Martin Young in terms of my understanding of the Disaster Management Act all incidents, lost ,etc must be recorded did this so call character submitted and lost of belongings to the knysna municipal disaster section. Lastly Mike its Bjorn Oria speaking now this thing of you who think you can come from the Moon and undermine the Mayor of knysna and its council you are at a wrong planet I have told you once I can provide you a R10 taxi money to go back to the moon.”
81.14 Ashley Barnes: “A man qualified for absolutely nothing but assumes an authoritaive position with zero authority? What happens when people place their trust and lives in his hands? It’s similar to how he claims he has charities and people think he’s trustworthy enough to let their kids be taken out for a day of charitable acticvities! He’s not a registered charity! he’s not a qualified child-minder! yet there he is, taking kids away from their parents under the gyuise of charity! WtactualF?!”
Young’s response, at its simplest, was unbecoming conduct by a Councillor who is supposed to help a fire victim, more so considering he is a PR Councillor living in my Ward 10.
It was further inappropriate in that he was responding to a post of mine asking the victims to stand together. In no way can his response to my post, as follows, be justified [CH12]:
Mike Hampton: “Enough is enough! It’s 20 days after the first Knysna fire of June 7. As someone who lost everything, I’m disappointed in Mayor Eleonore Spies and the Knysna Municipality. I’m not alone in that feeling but mine cannot compare to the troubled depths of those with families – there’s frustration and anger. IT’S UNACCEPTABLE THAT THERE HASN’T BEEN MEANINGFUL INTERACTION WITH US. The help that the world has sent us seems to be exceptional… but it doesn’t seem to be getting to us the way it needs to. Hope must become plans becoming reality. Many committees have been set up by government yet we’ve been excluded. We’re not obedient pets. We’re human beings who’ve suffered loss. It isn’t for us to wait till others tell us what will happen to us. We must be proactive! We want to stand proudly as quickly as possible. Us, the Knysna Fire homeless, need to meet and talk, deciding if it’s necessary to establish a committee BY US FOR US, a committee that must be included in municipal and donation organisation discussions. Let us People of Fire work towards a common agenda, stronger together.”
I sent the same to the Knysna Council by email [CH13a]. I received 2 responses, from Myers and Young.
Young was Ccied in my response to Myer’s unhelpfulness: “…People are upset. Your email doesn’t diminish that. Only information and help can. Knowing where one stands allows real hope or, at least, enables one to make decisions. Limbo, especially for those with families, is torment. I cannot believe that you would be quiet if you were homeless and without meaningful contact from the Municipality after 20 days. My position, in wanting answers and regular interaction with us, is entirely reasonable. As politicians, as representatives, you should be demanding that too. This is not going to continue as government one side, and us on the other. ” [CH13b]
Despite my appeal and wanting us to be on the same side during our disaster (read the full email), Young initiated a series of bizarre emails which included: “…You have portrayed yourself as a ‘victim’ of the fires, even helping yourself to a night at The Turbine Hotel under that pretence. You have lost nothing. It is irrelevant that you had nothing. If you had lost your home or possessions I would have been prepared to help you, but your manipulation of this situation and your pretence as a ‘victim’ is a shocking expose of your character.” With malicious gleefulness, he ended with: “Have a good night. I certainly will.” [CH13c]
With that, Young shows that he reads the posts on my website. He’s referring to my June 8 post (two weeks before his online attack against me) [CH13d]. That local post was widely read, shared over 2000 times on Facebook. The first 2 nights after I lost everything was spent, with many others, at the Turbine Hotel. The first night, I had no bed, giving it to an old married couple (respectively in their 70s and 80s). I never slept until the second night. In return, I complimented Turbine for their assisting so many people and even took a documentary crew to visit them (and others who’d helped our town). Coincidentally, Premier Zille and MEC Bredell landed up at a booked table next to me and the film crew at a restaurant on the Waterfront. It’s obvious that we recognised each other and that they noticed the big camera beside us. Although that was an important opportunity for conversation and hard news, I let it go because the filmmakers were there to only showcase the positive of Knysna. That’s backdrop to positive intention. The link to that video was sent to the Knysna Council, including Young, on June 23 [CH13e]. On point, Young chose to turn something beautiful about our disaster into me being a conman. He did so with no evidence, only maliciousness.
It’s disingenuous for Young to pretend that he never knew I was a victim. By the time of his attack, 21 days after the fire had started, I’d written more about the fire than anyone else. It was well known that I was a victim. I’d had an altercation with Mayor Spies and her friend (and illegal Knysna Municipality Communications Manager) Fran Kirsten. I met my Ward Councillor and Deputy Mayor Peter Myers 2 weeks after the fire to discover that he hadn’t visited my area. In the comment area were people who follow Young and had regularly supported his bashing of me. They have proven, in the past, to follow my page like hawks. In the chaos of the disaster, they saw an opportunity to try discredit me, likely because of our history and that I was asking questions about the fire that no politician or municipal official wanted to answer.
On his page, Young never apologised after subscriber his Jackie Wissink commented that:
“He stayed in a furnished flat beneath a wooden house in the Kanonkop estate where most of the houses where destroyed. He assisted most of the elderly neighbours to leave safely and could only grab his laptop and bare essentials and made a run for it. As everybody with vehciles rushed out. He was eventually picked up. Since then he has been assisting others that lost their homes in any way he can.”
Mayor Eleonore Spies chose to comment without correcting Young about my victimhood.
The same post of mine that Young shared and sought to discredit was sent in letter form to the Knysna Council. It’s absurd to think that I was pretending to be a victim whilst asking for victim rights. I’ve repeatedly shown that I’ve helped our town with no gain to myself except trouble.
I sent a complaint about Young’s online actions to the Knysna Council and Municipal Managers [CH14a->g]. Only Young responded. He did so with: “You’ve been caught lying, Hampton. Good luck trying to defend it.” [CH14h]
In the complaint, I said, “I’ve got more important issues to concern myself with now but note that Eleonore and Martin are digging you all deeper. I haven’t forgotten the child abuse I was associated with. EVERY COUNCILLOR IS GUILTY FOR HAVING DONE NOTHING ABOUT IT WHILST BENEFITING FROM IT.”
In the tea room, just before a Council or Section 80 meeting on June 28, Young called out to me as he passed me, “Now I’ve got you!” After the meeting, he approached me where I was sitting on the corner of the Public gallery to badger me. He ignored my repeated requests for him to leave me alone. Eventually Speaker Wolmarans, who I called out to, told him to leave me alone.
I complained about Young’s online actions to Speaker Wolmarans, Ccing the Council, Municipal Directors, Premier Helen Zille and the DA Federal Executive [CH15a]. Only Wolmarans and Young responded.
Wolmarans bizarrely wouldn’t accept my complaint in its form [CH15b].
It cannot be ignored that Young, the Mayor, the Speaker, other DA politicians and some of the commentators against me on Young’s page have previously been involved in propaganda against me, going so far as to falsely associate me with a missing child and being a danger to children.
It cannot be ignored that some of the comments against me on Young’s page had nothing to do with me being a fire victim or not but merely sought to discredit me anyway possible e.g. In para 81.14 above, Ashley Barnes, a contractor of the Knysna Municipality, associated me negatively with children.
It cannot be ignored that Premier Zille, the DA Federal Executive and Local Government have failed to act against Young and other propagandists in their fold against me for years.
Young has proven to be hellbent against me, his actions criminal. Consequently, his sudden apology via email [CH16a] and Facebook [CH16b] on the evening of June 28 cannot be considered genuine. I’m assuming that his bosses told him to. There may also have been some pressure from my article against his actions receiving traction online [CH16c]. I cannot prove that but there’s detailed context to be considered.
Furthermore, Young’s apology on Facebook didn’t explain what he was apologising for, nor did it relate to the nasty comments he and his commentators made.
Young apologetic hollowness was emphasised by the DA failing to take action against him and Young’s continued propaganda campaign against me. After his apology, he would repeatedly, online, label me as a sociopath and even illegally post his ‘doctor’s diagnosis’ of me as such. This included Young threatening to sue 200 of my subscribers for R60-million. Rather than burden this complaint now, I request that that and the bigger context be investigated.
SUPPLEMENTARY TO CAUSES OF FIRE
After composing this complaint, more evidence has come to light. As I’m to be occupied on other and related matters for several weeks, and will be offline from today, I request that you follow the links below to the online posts and comments which use satellite photos to disprove the Knysna Municipality’s reason for the fires both sides of Knysna:
- Clinton Manuel – Knysna Fire Department
- Wayne Sternsdorf – Knysna Fire Department
- Mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies – Knysna Municipality – 084 261 1144
- Municipal Manager Kam Chetty – Knysna Municipality – 044 302 6590
- Afriforum – Reint Dykema – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dr. David Klatzow – 082 807 2585 / email@example.com
- Public Protector Gideon Landman – 044 874 2887 / Gideonl@pprotect.org
EVIDENCE LIST (in zip folder)
CH01a 2017.05.22 Hampton Notice of Motion
CH01b 2017.05.22 Affidavit
CH02 2017.07.20 Polvo – Fire Chief Clint Manuel threatening (CD)
CH03a Knysna Municipality – Fire report slideshow
CH03c 2017.08.14 Act of God ruled out in KnysnaFires
CH04 2017.08.07 Afriforum Knysna Fires Report
CH05 2017.08.22 Landwater – Elandskraal, Two Needles in the same Haystack Dilemma
CH06 Knysna Veldfire Risk Appendices v11 – Risk Assessment Analysis 2010
CH07 PP – Knysna Communications Contract
CH08 PP – Illegal Appointment Director Dawie Adonis
CH09 PP – The Firemen
CH10a Trouble in Knysna
CH10b 2017.04.07 Love Knysna Petition – Update & Summary
CH10c 2017.06.04 Protection Requested – Love Knysna Petition
CH10d 2017.08.30 Video Evidence against MEC Anton Bredell
CH10e 2017.08.31 Love Knysna Petition – Update #2
CH11a 2017.06.27a Young lying about Hampton
CH11b 2017.06.27 Young lying about Hampton
CH11c 2017.06.27c Young lying – Spies
CH12 2017.06.27 Knysna People of Fire Must Work Together
CH13a Appeal to Council for fire meetings
CH13b Appeal to Council for fire meetings – Myers
CH13c Young and Myers
CH13d Hampton blog
CH13e 2017.06.23 Positive fire video shared
CH14a 2017.06.27 Your sparkling, loving DA propaganda
CH14b 2017.06.27a2 Your sparkling attachment
CH14c 2017.06.27a3 Your sparkling attachment
CH14d 2017.06.27a4 Your sparkling attachment
CH14e 2017.06.27a5 Your sparkling attachment
CH14f 2017.06.27a6 Your sparkling attachment
CH14g 2017.06.27a7 Your sparkling attachment
CH14h 2017.06.28 Council ignores Hampton plea, Young insults
CH15a 2017.06.28 Complaint about Young fire to Wolmarans Zille Fedex
CH15b 2017.06.30 Wolmarans not acknowledging Young complaint
CH16a 2017.06.28 Young apologises via email
CH16b 2017.06.28 Young apologises via Facebook
CH16c 2017.06.28 Nasty People
Michael James Hampton
September 18 2017