The buck doesn’t stop with Alan Winde, the MEC for Tourism, but he’s likely, legally, to take the most flack for what has happened in Knysna.
Emphasising Alan’s ironic position during Knysna Tourism’s financial disaster is that he was concurrently, the MEC for Economic Development. Even worse, since the 2014 General Election, he’s been given a third portfolio, that of Finance too! Does the addition of the latter now make it even harder for the public to get the truth about financial irregularities in Knysna?
MEC is the acronym for ‘Member of the [Provincial] Executive Council’ but, in the Western Cape, they call themselves Ministers” (which isn’t true since carrying a portfolio in only one of nine provinces is not the same as carrying the same position on a national level).
Alan Winde is up to his eyeballs in denial because, firstly, he didn’t do his job (and has seemed to try cover that up), and, secondly, because he’s tried to protect Helen Zille who is as guilty in knowledge.
My mentioning Helen has made many uncomfortable (though, thankfully, far less nowadays). She is seen by many as the last light defending them against the looming shadow of ANC corruption. No matter how true the latter is, light bulbs break and have to be replaced. There is no moral argument in substantiating one’s own corruption by comparing it to a greater one! Helen Zille is well aware of our situation but instead of fixing it has allowed even more wrong to be committed against our town. Knysna deserves better – all the time!
Biased political arguments such as “you can’t see the forest for the trees” do not count when the tree is Knysna, our home town. We are not timber to be felled so that politicians can build a home in Cape Town. Knysna matters!
The first time i have Alan Winde’s office on record as receiving my queries and complaints regards Knysna Tourism was on 19 August 2011. I believe that he was the person behind closing the Knysna Municipality’s doors on me and doing the most to ensure the truth about Tourism’s collapse never came to light (lest it make the DA look bad after so publicly promising austerity… and, ironically, transparency and open doors).
The same day i received acknowledgement from his office, Michelle Wasserman, then Deputy Mayor, unsubscribed from my blog and totally ignore that she’d previously mailed me, “Shaun van Eck is busy putting together a bundle of the documents you requested, which I will give to you once I have received them.” Within a week, then Councillor Esme Edge had unsubscribed and Mayor Georlene Wolmarans had sent me a letter, essentially blocking me. Alan Winde called me to discredit me because (laugh at his reasoning) the very people i’m criticising spoke ill of me. He said he’d return to me – he didn’t. But his secretary did, telling me to deal with the Knysna Chamber of Business (highly inappropriate since they weren’t government and, along with Knysna Tourism, were the one’s Alan Winde said had spoken badly of me). It was simply another brick in a wall they were building between the public and the truth. Thankfully, appropriately, the Knysna Chamber of Business showed it’s worth by closing down.
It’s very simple: Alan Winde and Helen Zille not only received information which they chose to ignore (see here for much more detail) but have deliberately blocked routes to others sorting it. The latter is my belief but how else, without their orders, could so many (an extraordinary amount) in the DA have shut their doors (from Knysna to Cape Town)?
Maybe they’re used to people becoming exhausted and giving up… but i’ve persisted.
That same month back in 2011, i sent an email to Helen which included:
“Alan Winde contacted me twice last week which showed quicker, proactive intent than the Knysna DA had shown so far. Nevertheless, in light of the rude treatment i’ve received so far, i, unfortunately, cannot accept his action at face value i.e. how can i trust when everything the local DA has done so far equated to lies. Additionally, some things Alan said did not add up. I don’t imply that Alan is involved in the same shenanigans as Georlene Wolmarans which is why i’ve CCied Alan here so that he has the opportunity to clarify.”
Helen’s Chief of Staff, Geordin Hill-Lewis, emailed back: “I have had a discussion with MEC Winde about this matter. He has advised me that his office is taking the lead in getting you the information you have asked for.” Three years later, he still hasn’t.
Don’t forget that after Helen Zille and i had a public disagreement, Alan Winde stepped in as a buffer and finally gave me that meeting that should’ve happened long ago (he’d made many trips to Knysna in between, with Knysna Tourism as a stop – after all, he is the MEC for Tourism). But the meeting was just another blockade. Not only did he, and DA Constituency members, Peter Myers and Magda Moos, fail to give me the info they promised, they even refused to give me a copy of the mp3 recording of the meeting that Alan had made at my request (if it ever comes to court, i have a witness and many email references to this).
Alan Winde has failed Knysna. Adding shame to blame is that he comes from Knysna.
This month, Theuns Botha replaced Alan Winde as the representative for Eden District (which includes Knysna). Theuns, having been the Chairman of the DA for the Western Cape, is an even bigger wig than Alan. Unfortunately, on August 29 2011, Rouxlé Freysen (Public Liaison Officer and Parliamentary Support Officer) said, “I have asked the Provincial Leader, Minister Botha, to look into this matter and respond to you.” He never did.
Will the political merry-go-round surrounding Knysna continue?
You have to ask yourself why Alan Winde and so many others have been full of wind (the other kind) and bricks regards this issue and other important matters (ISDF, Nissan Jukes, excessive staff salaries, R30million debt write-off etc.) involving our town??? Surely it’s better, for the health of Knysna, to avoid scandal and rumour by replacing it with truth. Why, if there is nothing to hide, are they still hiding? Don’t they realise that the longer they do so, the more chance there is of leaks that could damage them nearer the municipal elections.
The only way to sort problems is to address them. That’s what real leaders do.