The Knysna Fire’s many victims know well that it began with a lighting strike in the Elandskraal bush several months before the disaster. Residents repeatedly appealed for assistance to the Knysna Municipality and its fire services. They even provided aerial footage of the first smoulder which indicated burning underground.
Ignoring them led to the destruction of 1059 homes, 7 deaths and an estimated R3.3-billion in damage. The Knysna Municipality and the Democratic Alliance (DA) then engaged in a cover-up, issuing a fraudulent report as to the origins of the fire. Knysna Fire Chief Clinton Manuel threatened this writer and was then ‘transferred’ to the DA-led City of Cape Town.
Then Premier now DA Federal Chair Helen Zille is complicit for having failed to act on a detailed complaint against the fraud, despite the Western Cape Government having receiving 3 independent forensic reports proving the Local Government’s initial report was a lie, not an investigation. The Western Cape Hawks protected the should-be defendants by omitting the Knysna Fire from their analysis regarding a comprehensive list of of crimes reported.
The Knysna Municipality has failed to hold anyone accountable, will not explain what happened to cash donations for the victims, hasn’t provided an overview of actions nor explained the litigation situation which was, at one stage, estimated to be R480-million. Instead, they’ve kept Legal Adviser Melony Paulsen after the De Swardt investigation implicated her in other fraudulent matters.
The Elandskraal claimants are being represented by Klagsbrun, Edelstein, Bosman & Du Plessis Inc.
NB: This week, new Mayor Ricky van Aswegen, CFO Mbulelo Memani and Melony Paulsen blocked my email address. Do not expect accountability.