Knysna Municipality chooses to ignore that democracy requires transparency and public participation. I’ve related examples of their failures to you many times. However, last week i discovered that my emails were no longer blocked. I immediately wondered whether this was a step nearer to dialogue or a maneuver to take the sting out of one of my accusations. A test was needed.
An obstacle to participation has been not knowing what the hell is going on. The Council Meetings is an example of this. They used to supply a copy of the agenda when you walked in but now you’re likely to hear Michelle Wasserman, as Speaker, ask if there is approval to point 4a and if no one objects it’s approved without you knowing what the hell just happened.
To get around their latest unhelpfulness, i went in person to their offices to request the minutes of the past meeting and the agenda for the next meeting. Their reaction was to give me a PAIA form (Promotion of Access to Information Act). Who do the DA think they are? The CIA?
Discovering my emails were unbanned, i wondered if that meant the opportunity for positive communication. I popped into their offices again, requested the past minutes (which were needed to see if there was any reference to the Special Counting Meeting to be held the next day). I was told that Jill Lackay (Manager of Council Committees & Councillor Support) would email me. The next day, after she hadn’t, i emailed her: “This is a follow-up to my in-person request for the minutes of the latest Council meeting (Jan 30). Additionally, please send the one before that as well.”
When she asked which resolution i wanted, i took that as a positive even though it was unlikely anyone could know the resolution if they never had the minutes. I reminded that: “I had requested the whole minutes. It would’ve been in a digitised form for you to print it so it should be easily mailable.”
She then bumped me up to Carl Mattheus, the Manager of Administration, and also CCied Lianda Magson (who was recently awarded as the ‘most active records manager in the Western Cape’ during the provincial annual awards ceremony’). 5 days after this process had started (and the Special Council Meeting had come and gone with only 3 members of the public witnessing our DA and ANC councillors unanimously voting to increase their salaries), i sent a follow-up.
It’s now 14 days and i’ve yet to receive a response! Plus there’s a new Special Council Meeting being held today at 9am. This time they put it on their website but without any detail. What use is there holding a Special Council Meeting if no one knows what it’s about. Birds and bees tell me that it may involve Knysna Tourism but ‘skulking and daggering’ like a spy shouldn’t be a prerequisite for being a citizen in a democracy.
The dictatorial arrogance of the Knysna DA is appalling!