Today produced more Knysna political and municipal insanity. SO MUCH OF IT.
I’d promised myself not to attend meetings or blog about Knysna politics for 3 months but made a last moment decision to go because it’s traditional for big issues to appear at year end. In my experience, our politicians know that residents are distracted by the holidays – the heat of most issues will vanish over season.
- Another Acting Municipal Manager has quit. Bevan Ellman, who is supposed to also be the Director of Corporate Services is quitting the municipality altogether at the end of January 2017. Melony Paulsen, the Legal Adviser, has taken over his Directorship. Has Knysna set a record for Acting Directors?
- As i predicted 2 months ago, the ANC’s Municipal Manager, from when DA Mayor Eleonore-Bouw Spies was ANC Mayor, is returning for a 3-month contract. It’s rumoured that Johnny Douglas will be granted the position full-time once it’s undergone the ‘proper’ process. This is the same guy the DA paid R500,000 from public funds to leave. Whose going to pay back that money now?
- Because the Council and Muni failed to fill the Director Planning & Development position for 6 months, the longest temporary term possible, Ilse van Schalkwyk will take over from Marlene Boyce. The Muni has yet to clear up the controversial ISDF tender in which Van Schalkwyk played a major role.
But the most controversial item of the day was the lease of the East Head.
The Municipality has decided to subdivide the lease without due process. Additionally, without putting it to tender or public participation, without considering B.E.E., they awarded the East Head Café building, the parking lot, the small shop and the toilets to Allburger No 74 CC (East Head Café) which apparently has a 1% black shareholder.
They also bizarrely stated that Knysna’s most prime property was worth only R9-million. Was the acceptance of that evaluation to get around harsher laws that come into effect for public assets worth more than R10-million?
Senza a.k.a. Cornuti’s Ristorante, which forms part of the East Head lease, sits in limbo.
Chief Financial Officer Louis Fourie voiced his disappointment, stating that his 7-page objection had been excluded from the Council’s agenda and that if they proceeded he was duty bound to report them.
The DA, as always supported by their political pets, the ACDP and the KUC, pushed ahead.
Personally, i consider East Head Café to be a major asset to Knysna, a beacon of how to run a good business… but what happened today stinks all the way out to sea. That stink falls not on the restaurant but on the politicians and municipal officials involved.
But i promised not to blog so i’m going to keep half the promise. Each of these items deserves it’s own article with input from all sides. I will leave that for when i return in full mid-January 2017.
However, the ANC’s press release makes interesting reading.