Yesterday, I was called, last moment, for another meeting regarding my court case next Wednesday – it became a fire-filled, excellent moment! I’ll tell you why soon enough but first some background.
For the newcomers here, the CEO of Knysna Tourism, Greg Vogt, has laid a charge of crimen injuria against me, Mike Hampton, and applied for a protection order. The latter case appears in court at 9am on Nov 5 2014.
This is about Knysna Tourism and Knysna Municipality versus all of us.
This is only one charge of several I’m facing. They all have the same motive. They are abusing the law to try shut me up i.e. they don’t want you to know what they did wrong although I’ve already told you a lot about it, how they mishandled a ton of your taxpayer and ratepayers money. In just one incident, they spent R700 000 on lawyers, consultants and a golden handshake that effectively transferred all the blame on to the ex-CEO – that was a monstrous lie! They should have shared the blame and being punished.
Vogt and the other directors, which included DA Deputy Mayor Esme Edge, ANC Chief Whip Stephen de Vries and Municipal Manager Lauren Waring, were more guilty according to their own constitution. Councillor Richard Dawson and Grant Easton, the Director of Finance, were on a sub-committee that illegally funded half a million of Tourism’s debt with your money.
The fact is that i warned them that something was deeply wrong at Tourism but Knysna Municipality and the DA chose instead to ban communication with me. I don’t see it coincidental that a lot of lies began about me at the same time. And it’s certainly no coincidence that Knysna Tourism lost more money.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands
in moments of comfort and convenience
but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
– Martin Luther King
Premier Helen Zille and MEC Alan Winde were involved in that too, putting political image ahead of the public they are supposed to serve. That led to more questions which made me realise that the DA, like the ANC, was a lie and that we need to look after our town first and not rely on ‘our’ politicians who’ve been serving different masters. My stance put me under a lot of fire from people – how dare I question the DA? But again and again and again I’ve delivered information the past 42 months that has made many of you worried. As more of you have placed trust in me, readership has increased exponentially. I don’t intend failing you.
You and I, my readers, have a relationship that’s difficult to define but, undeniably, it exists. My legal team would likely have told me not to compose this blog if I’d asked them – so I didn’t ask. Instead, let’s keep talking and sharing – let’s keep knowing what is going on.
There were many times that I thought I’d fail and slip through the cracks like so many others before me in this town but I’m still here, helped by some of you and kept company by readers who are far more educated about Knysna than they’ve ever been before (thank you for sticking it out with me – that is far better than when I started this journey alone!).
A lawyer, out of kindness, approached me, offering to negotiate between both parties so that this court case against me would be dropped – I turned him down.
This week, my advocate, Eduard Bruwer, informed me that Vogt’s latest lawyer (his third after Julie Seton, the Deputy Mayor’s girlfriend, dropped him recently) offered to negotiate in return for me agreeing to restrictions. Bruwer turned it down. He didn’t have to consult with me because I had already made it clear – justice isn’t negotiable. I want to go to court.
A culture of secrecy and disrespect for the public has been entrenched in our town. I want to break that wall down, exposing the builders and have us take back control of our town, voting in leaders who will serve us first. There are immensely challenging times heading our way (yes, even worse than what we’ve survived the past 5 years) so it’s essential that we become involved in the day to day running of our lives.
This case is but one brick in that wall but it’s located in its foundation. It’s an important one!
I have a sole fear of this case. I have the undeniable feeling that there’s been political interference at every level, from the Hawks to the Public Protector. I may praise Thuli Madonsela but here, at the local level, corruption has crept into almost every aspect of our lives. It has become a dominant, destructive characteristic of our country too. They’re bringing in a magistrate from George for this case – if her she is a fair person, I have no doubt that we will win. If something goes radically wrong, my legal representation has assured me that they will back me through an appeal – to experience such goodness gives me hope in so much more.
Why was yesterday “fire-filled excellence”? Hardy Mills (the instructing attorney), Eduard Bruwer (the advocate), and I had a robust discussion that replaced debate with 100% agreement. It culminated in an oration from Bruwer that made him live up to his nickname, Broekies ‘the Bomber’ Bruwer.
I am in good hands. You are too. May we gain justice a second time before heading onto a third and a fourth in November too. 2014 is becoming a helluva year:)
As Hardy Mills quoted Martin Luther King to me over coffee last week, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”