Knysna is at a crossroads. I’m not being melodramatic when I say that time is running out to decide which way we’re going.
It’s quite possible that Knysna ratepayers and taxpayers will lose millions in court cases over the next year as I lay charge after charge against our naughty politicians and municipal staff. I don’t want to but unless they start talking and fixing, I’m prepared to stop all that I’m doing and focus only on that. It may be a necessity considering the legal actions they’re serving me with. The ball is in their court. Will they finally choose to be responsible or not?
If it’s true that Knysna Tourism is in trouble again and the powers that rule us (instead of serving us) are prepared to finally give up and put the role out to tender, we will only lose more. The right thing to do would be to investigate, punish and make things right. That’s the last option our ‘leaders’ have so far considered as so many of them are guilty of that maladministration that’s already cost us a fortune.
The third item is the attempt to put Grant Easton at the top of the pyramid scheme that is Knysna Municipality. If they succeed at that, we have no chance at mending for at least two years. As explained in previous blogs, Easton has a lot to answer for and should be at the bottom of the candidate list until he has done so.
We are literally running out of time because local elections are next year and the political parties are already choosing their candidates. Whatever party you support, you have to ensure that the rubbish gets flushed down the drain and better people are given a shot. I’m predicting that this will be the most important municipal elections since 1994.
The Knysna-Plett Herald is striding better than it used to be. But I’ve been harsh of late with the pressure I’ve put on the Editor because time, as said, is literally running out. They need to stop presenting both sides separately as that means we get half the truth and half a lie. We need articles that compare the facts and present them as 100% truth. They have to stop taking the easy way out when they know what the truth is. I sent them these questions, summing up some of what we’ve discussed before. Will they eventually ask Mayor Georlene Wolmarans what the hell is going on? Or, better still, Speaker Eleonor Spies as she is responsible for the Conduct of Councillors.
1. Why would the DA, locally and provincially, not respond to Hampton’s questions? If different answers, please respond to that as the Knysna DA and as Alan Winde/Helen Zille (his letters and blogs about them were surely too widely read for you not to have had communication with your superiors plus the Winde meeting was held in Knysna in the presence of your DA Constituency Chairperson, Peter Myers).
2. Was it constitutional for Knysna Municipality to ban Hampton’s email addresses and not respond to Hampton’s visits in person? Similarly, why will the Ward 10 Committee, headed by DA Councillor Dawson, not hear him? One of our reporters witnessed one of those moments.
3. Why did the DA not heed the MFMA which states that allegations against public office bearers must be investigated and the allegations brought before Council?
4. What is the DA doing to honour transparent governance in Knysna? It isn’t only Hampton battling to get answers.
5. What is the DA’s position on the harassment charges and interdicts initiated by councillors Edge and Dawson against Hampton?
6. What is Knysna Tourism’s Board’s position on similar legal actions by their CEO (an inescapable opinion since Councillors are on the Board)?
7. If they win, does that not set a legal precedent that, for example, Jacob Zuma could use as protection from questions from the DA? How does the DA differentiate between personal and constitutional?
8. Does the DA realise that this legal quagmire would not exist if they had practised the honesty and transparency contained not only in their election promises but in the DA’s constitution and the Code of Conduct for Councillors?
9. Hampton has assured me that his intentions to lay charges against politicians and municipal staff is true. He has stated that the first is a shot across the bow and that more will follow. What will Knysna Municipality and the DA do to resolve these matters so that their best efforts save the town expensive legal costs which could, as history has shown, run into the millions of rands?
10. Who is paying Edge’s, Dawson’s and Vogt’s legal fees? If any are being represented pro amico or pro bono, state so.
11. What is the relationship between Knysna Municipality and Carl Jeppe Attorneys and Advocate Julie Seton who are the legal teams, in several cases, against Hampton? How much have they earned from that relationship in the past 3 years?
12. Who is the owner of the Knysna Knews Facebook? The participation by DA members is notable so it would be illogical, incredibly irresponsible and stupid if they claimed not to know as Hampton is assailed by anonymously authored propaganda press releases accompanied by DA views and DA support.
13. What is the DA’s position on their members and contractors, especially Deputy Mayor Edge and Advocate Seton, being active on that Facebook page?
Note that Code of Conduct for Councillors states: “5. (1) A councillor must (a) disclose to the municipal council, or to any committee of which that councillor is a member, any direct or indirect personal or private business interest that that councillor or any spouse, partner or business associate of that councillor may have in any matter before the council or the committee” and “(2) A councillor who, or whose spouse, partner, business associate or close family member, acquired or stands to acquire any direct benefit from a contract concluded with the municipality, must disclose full particulars of the benefit of which the councillor is aware at the first meeting of the municipal council at which it is possible for the councillor to make the disclosure.”
1. Was Knysna Tourism’s finances in the negative any or all of the past 4 years?
2. Why was no one held accountable for Knysna Tourism’s mismanagement?
3. Is it true that ultimate responsibility lies with the Board of Directors and not the CEO?
4. If true, why was the Board that failed oversight kept on, with Vogt promoted to Chairperson and then to CEO?
5. The King Commission guidelines on Corporate Governance specifically state that any change from voluntary Chairman to Executive Chairman (as Greg Vogt has been profiled in the media) and payment to such person must be approved by the members. Why did that not happen?
5. Was it legal to fund Knysna Tourism’s debt with a grant in aid?
6. Why were the rules of the MFMA not applied to the grant-in-aid i.e. same rules applying to local government apply to public funds no matter where they go.
7. Why did the DA not query Lauren Waring when Melony Paulsen answered for her, stating falsely stated that she could not assist the Public Protector because Knysna Tourism was a private company, omitting that Lauren Waring, the DA, ANC and Grant Easton, the Finance Director, were on Knysna Tourism’s Board of Directors and sub-committees? Not least to mention that the organisation was receiving R4-million or more annually from the Municipality.
8. Why did the DA vote for the grant-in-aid in light of Knysna Tourism having been financially in the red and having broken its Service Level Agreement by not using 20% of its funds for development?
9. Is it true that part of the development quota has been used as the salary, in the past or now, for Office Manager Glendyrr Fick?
10. How much is Fick earning?
11. What benefit did Judah Square, Knysna’s Rastafari community, receive from Fick’s expensive trip to Jamaica?
12. What is the current state of Knysna Tourism’s finances?
12. How much is Greg Vogt earning as CEO?
13. Will Greg Vogt’s contract be renewed when it concludes in 3 months time?
14. Will the services of Tourism be put out to tender? If so, why have been people being told before its being advertised which could be viewed as a competitive advantage.
15. Does this affect Knysna & Partners?
16. How much money was spent on Dirk Joubert and ODA, the company he works for, in consulting to Knysna Municipality and Knysna Tourism?
17. It was Lauren Waring, the previous Municipal Manager and Knysna Tourism Board Director, who presented Dirk Joubert to the Knysna Tourism Board. It was her wish that he be used. It is claimed that, initially, Knysna Municipality paid for his services. Where are the tenders and contracts that resulted in ODA’s appointments?
1. Why is the Knysna Oyster Festival audited separately?
2. Who owns the Knysna Oyster Festival and its brand?
3. How much money is paid in salaries and who gets what?
4. How much is paid cumulatively to Worldsport, their profit margin AND salaries?
5. Hampton, supported by a letter from the Western Cape Education Board, claimed that the Oyster Festival liquor licence on the school field was illegal in 2014. Why would the Knysna Municipality not respond to him (he provided signed proof of 4 visits)? Has the law changed so that it would be legal this year?
6. How much does the Oyster Festival pay Knysna High School in total (field, advertising rights etc.)?
7. What is the ‘development’ agreement for the Knysna Oyster Festival? How much is spent on development as a figure and as a percentage? Exactly what are these activities and programs?
8. Does the 20% stipulation in Knysna Tourism’s SLA with Knysna Municipality apply to the Oyster Festival as well?
Knysna deserves answers! We need to be voraciously hungry for them! I hope that you all start repeating them and asking them too. Don’t let the politicians shut me up!