Firstly, I thank those who have served on our committee and our legal consultant, Susan Campbell, for their combined and separate inputs during the year. Their collective wisdom have steered us through some turbulent streams.
During the year we had several meetings with the mayoral committee (MAYCO) and raised many points for further investigation. Unfortunately the MAYCO never pursued them and we are pleased that a completely new mayoral committee now exists. Hopefully we will have a more fruitful experience with them. We are constantly aware of the saying “All that’s needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing” – so we shall persevere.
CONCERN: SUPPLY CHAIN RULES FOR TENDERS
Our principal concerns have been the non-adherence to supply chain rules for tenders, the monitoring of planning applications and general wastage of money. The same as last year. Instead of showing progress we have court cases due to the nonavailability of parking at the proposed mosque site and the lack of infrastructure and ignoring of environmental factors for the Pierpoint development.
Many of our items were referred to the municipal public accounts committee (MPAC) which turned out to be a toothless organisation. Hopefully this year it will change with new blood.
Crime remains a major problem in the town, being driven largely by drugs that were brought in by sea. We have attended the community police forums under Cheryl Britz and various neighbourhood watches. Our local police are under-resourced and currently lack vehicles.
It has taken an NGO to reopen the Tjoe-Choo line and we wish them the best of luck. The line will go as far as Sedgefield, which is the best we can hope for – although the estuary bridge will require some serious maintenance.
Among the problems we raised were the proposed change to drinking bylaws in public places, the lack of an integrated strategic development framework (ISDF) report, the municipal manager’s appointment, pigs in town areas, the perennial potholes, future water resources, bursaries given to a councillor and the previous mayor’s daughter, appointment of unqualified personnel, high rates and taxes, tender awarded to a George firm instead of a local one, etc.
We have inspected a blind rise at Boekenhout Street, where the red lines have been painted over in black – but may yet cause a major accident.
WHEN WILL KNYSNA GET ITS ACT TOGETHER?
The Municipal Manager and budget manager are presently suspended at great cost to ratepayers, never mind the needless court cases due to planning department oversights. The planning director meanwhile resigned and has left. When is this town going to get its act together?
We need new members to help finance our work and give strength to our arm. Unfortunately people generally only join when there is a major problem that affects them. We will continue to raise issues of concern to ratepayers and have meetings with the new mayoral committee.
There is no other way, for our town deserves far better than it has been getting in the past 10 years. As Churchill said: “I am an optimist, as there’s no alternative.”
Annual report by Ian Uys, Chairperson of the Knysna Ratepayers’ Association.