I WANT YOUR OPINION about this recorded meeting between Knysna Democratic Alliance Mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies, her new Communications Manager Fran Kirsten, Acting Municipal Manager Carl Mattheus, their legal advisers and me.
Did the Mayor and those accompanying her sufficiently answer my questions so that you have a clear understanding of what’s happening? Was I reasonable?
Love Knysna and Knysna Keep aren’t all for me. They’re supposed to be for the betterment of our pretty but troubled town which we share and own as a community.
Consequently, I want to know if my meeting with them was of ANY VALUE TO YOU? Do you want me to have more meetings with our politicians and municipal officials?
MAYOR ELEANORE BOUW-SPIES & FRAN KIRSTEN
This is the first controversy involving our new Mayor.
Manager of Communications Christopher Bezuidenhout has become the Mayor’s assistant. Stepping into his place is Fran Kirsten, a private contractor whose most known for her work for the Knysna-Plett Herald and Knysna Tourism.
The meeting was a result of my queries regarding Kirsten’s seemingly wrongful appointment.
The controversy is that Bezuidenhout is keeping his salary whilst being moved into a newly created post in the Mayor’s office. Fran Kirsten, who was contracted for the DA’s election campaign, particularly for Bouw-Spies’ mayoral candidacy, is now being contracted for 3 months without tender so as to fill Bezuidenhout’s old post.
I mention possible conflicts of interest and wonder why Bezuidenhout is being retained instead of interrogated for having done a poor job.
They argue that there’s no conflict of interest and that the post doesn’t have to be advertised.
You get to hear both sides.
RECENT POLITICAL CHAOS
Shortly before the elections, the Chief Financial Office and the Director Planning quit. The political chaos in Knysna found 12 of the then 19 councillors (now 21) saying bye-bye (most forcibly removed). Then the Municipal Manager was suspended.
We still haven’t had the situation explained and been assured that all is in control. In public, the DA has also conveniently failed to address their faction battles.
This recording isn’t going to answer that BUT IF THIS IS A FIRST STEP BY THE KNYSNA MUNICIPALITY TOWARDS TRANSPARENCY, I WANT YOU INVOLVED.
That includes not only locals but those who have an investment in our town through holidays, property, business and family. There’s surely a good reason why so many of you subscribe to my Love Knysna!, the biggest community Facebook page in our town.
I realise that most of you are afraid to comment but I’m always hoping that will change. I believe that better government transparency results in less public fear.
I’m also aware that thousands of you will look at the Facebook post of this but very few of you will take the time and effort to listen to a 50-minute MP3. Again, I’m hoping for the best, that you will try to understand our town and substantiate your opinions meaningfully.
The first 5-7 minutes is admittedly dull but it’ll become more interesting as you progress.
PLEASE GET INVOLVED IN OUR TOWN
Always remember that we, the public, are the most important part of a government – the politicians and municipal officials work for us.
It’s the start of a new political term. Let’s all get involved.
Whether positive or negative, please be constructive.