To make politicians from all parties aware of the situation, I sent many this SMS:
“See the Love Knysna Facebook. Chairman of the Knysna Ratepayers’ Association wants live ammo used on protesters. We cannot allow such bullshit attitude. By ‘we’ i mean the DA, ANC, COPE, Independent and the Public. Put pressure on the KRA to remove him immediately and apologise. To the politicians, please sort out Nekkies/Oupad situation without political point-scoring – be leaders who work together to move a mountain – Mike Hampton.”
NO KNYSNA POLITICIAN RESPONDED. However, one DA minister did, saying they’d look into it on Monday (the following day). I don’t know if that happened but appreciate their interaction.
To several of the politicians, I reiterated my concern in a detailed letter marked as urgent because there was to be a Special Council that morning. It hadn’t been advertised despite having been set up a week before the protests started. We’d discover that the main reason for the meeting was to approve the process that would lead to the controversial Buffalo Bay property being sold. Undoubtedly, the unmissable protests would have been added on to. But I wanted to ensure that they were aware that all parties involved were not being spoken to and that Naude had committed a grave disservice to his position by wanting the situation to be inflamed by gunfire.
“Please confirm that there’s a Special Council Meeting at 9am this morning (or 8am?). If so, it’s unfortunate that the Knysna Municipality has failed to advertise it. Is there a main topic on the agenda that has prompted the meeting? If so, what is it? I’m hoping that the N2 protests are a topic. If the meeting is to be held, will you, as a matter of urgency, add to the agenda?
I address Councillors Ray Barrell and Louisa Hart as members of the MAYCO but CC the opposition as the issue I present should have you all unanimously standing together on the side of peace in Knysna.
Yesterday afternoon, Leon Naude, the Chairman of the Knysna Ratepayers’ Association (KRA), made a comment on the Knysna-Plett Herald’s (KPH) website calling for live ammunition to be used against the N2 protestors. His position as a leader of the town makes his action more condemnable. Additionally, it could be construed as hate speech and racism as a view of his Facebook friends displays many right-wingers with old SA flags aiming for ‘Boer’ rights. We should respect legitimate rights to self-determination and expression but the groups that some of his ‘friends’ are involved in appear to be based on hate and guns rather than fair rights to identity.
You can view my blog on him and Kevin Grinaker, the ex-DA fundraiser and recent ex-Ward 10 Committee Chairman, at www.knysnakeep.org/lets-shoot-knysnas-protestors. That includes the link to KPH.
My request is that the Council discuss the matter. My hope is that you unilaterally issue a press statement condemning Naude’s action whilst informing the public how you understand the protestors’ situation and intend dealing with the matter as a priority.
Furthermore, if I was aware of Leon Naude’s poor qualities from my short period on the KRA committee then the other committee members will be well aware and tainted by their year-long association with him. I long ago addressed their racism. You cannot interfere officially in an independent body but I hope that some of you who deal with them will, at the very least, in your personal capacity, suggest better ‘practice’. We can hope that their next public meeting finds better leaders elected.
Are you dealing with all parties involved in the protests? I don’t understand the politics of the situation but according to one commentator on the Love Knysna Facebook, a Collin Williams, you are not. Please consider his words.
I have attached that Facebook page so that you can view the public’s interest in this matter (2665 so far is a lot considering that it was posted on a Sunday night). You should also view comments on other posts, from the past 3 days, regarding the protests so as to gauge the Public mood and possible information.
As a matter of urgency, I SMSed several of you last night but, unfortunately, only one person responded. I will SMS one from each party as a note to check your mail for this. Furthermore, if this email address from which I send remains one of my edresses still blocked by the Knysna Municipality (a matter which you undemocratically yet to respond to for over a year), I will send from other edresses until success.
Please assure Knysna that you are atop of these important matters.
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.”
I had to send the email several times as many of my email addresses are still blocked by Knysna Municipality.
I then sent an SMS stating: “Please check your Inbox for urgent mail.”
3 messages to them in total yet DA Councillors Ray Barrell and Louisa Hart, both executive members (the politicians on the MAYCO, the Mayoral committee that calls the shots), did not respond. In fact, most didn’t. The exceptions were one person from the ANC, just before the meeting, and one DA politician, after the meeting – I can at least be grateful to their courtesy.
BUT LEON NAUDE DID GET ON THE AGENDA.
Besides myself, Richard Thorpe was the only member of the public there. Thorpe is always in and out of the Knysna Municipality, not on KRA business. He knows a lot of people there, mostly DA members. With people such as him, I have to assume that whatever is said is repeated to the DA and Municipality. Likewise, whatever is said to the DA and Municipality is possibly told to him. I work in an odd scene in Knysna so have learned that it’s best to have as few secrets as possible which is one reason why I post so much online (of course, I have to respect people who provide information and wish to remain hidden).
Elrick van Awegen (COPE) and Stephen de Vries (ANC) both referred to the comments by the leader of the KRA. They did not mention me (which is as per usual because this Council refuses to engage with me meaningfully, making the mayor and deputy mayor’s contrary claims in the media last week laughable).
The conversation turned to, most importantly, why the riots were being caused and what was being done about it – that will be discussed in a separate blog. Unfortunately, 70 minutes into the meeting, I had to leave for a meeting with the wonderful legal team that is representing me in the harassment case that the CEO of Knysna Tourism has laid against me.
Thankfully, I later heard that the conversation was returned to Leon Naude and the KRA and that the Council voted to distance themselves from his remark with a public statement (which I’ve yet to see).
By afternoon I was informed that Leon Naude was no longer the chairman of the Knysna Ratepayers’ Association. I’m interested to see how the KRA spin that but, nevertheless, a victory against ignorance and prejudice for Knysna.
Thank you to all of you that spoke out because we share the crime until we speak.