I shared the public’s outrage at Leon Naude (Chairman of the Knysna Ratepayers’ Association) after he called for live ammunition to be used on the N2 protestors from Oupad, Knysna.
The Knysna Ratepayers’ Association was resurrected last year. Organisations such as it are particularly important so that we, the public, maintain oversight over our local government. It’s my hope that it rebuilds itself into a strong, valuable force.
However, I don’t believe that that can happen under the current leadership. In particular, it was obvious that their leader, Leon Naude, was not a deserving Chairperson. Behind other committee members backs, he and Ian Uys, his co-chair, arranged a meeting for themselves with MEC Alan Winde, ironically on behalf of the KRA. It made me question their true agenda.
More relevant here is that I considered Naude to be a racist. Some of the Committee was, to a degree, but certainly complicit in their silence. In 2013, my concerns were blogged after I quit as a committee member. I never named anyone in that letter in the hope that they’d correct their ship. I never pursued action against the KRA. That is my guilt to carry.
This past Sunday, I was outraged when Leon Naude, on Knysna-Plett Herald’s website, wanted the N2 protestors shot. Right here in Knysna, one of our leaders was wanting to go Marikana-style on people whose situation he hadn’t bothered to investigate. It wasn’t just an insensitive call for live ammunition to be used. It was likely racist in the context of my short experience with him and the many right-winger friends he has on his Facebook.
I commented that:
“You men [I included a second commentator, Kevin Grinaker] are disgusting! Without attempting to understand the situation, you’re promoting violence. It’s people like you who were responsible for Marikana. And if our country does go off the cliff it will be people like you, black and white haters, who shoved us off it. The blame and shame are filthier on you both considering that Leon is the head of the Knysna Ratepayer’s Association and Kevin was the head of Ward 10 committee which represents central Knysna. I’ve told Knysna before what rotten people you are but now you’ve proven it beyond doubt. You don’t belong in South Africa, let alone Knysna!”
Opinions without action mean nothing (far too many armchair critics in Knysna) so I cooled my head and led an overnight campaign for Naude’s removal.
I’d already gained valuable interaction with Love Knysna subscribers regarding the protests. I followed that with a post expressing my disgust at Naude’s actions. By morning, it had gained 2600 views (and a day later it had climbed to 4000).
The (Sunday) night before, I emailed Richard Thorpe and Ian Uys who are two of the four official KRA committee members:
“Please consider the blog at www.knysnakeep.org/lets-shoot-knysnas-protestors as a letter to you.
Leon Naude, Chairman of the Knysna Ratepayers’ Association (i.e. your Chairman), posted a comment on the Knysna-Plett Herald’s website that calls for “live ammo” to be used on the N2 protestors. That’s exactly the same as calling for them to be shot. It will also, rightfully, be interpreted as racist too.
You are aware of the man’s poor attitude yet not only chose to be associated with him but have him as your leader. That is a poor reflection not only on the KRA but the people you represent.
I request his immediate banning from the KRA and an apologetic statement from the association. Nip this situation in the bud because it’s the right thing to do for Knysna.
THEY NEVER RESPONDED.