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Shocking Financial Revelations & Questions in Knysna — No Comments

  1. Interesting bedtime read! Almost 7 months have passed and I’m interested to know what has transpired in the last few months? Have you managed to establish a GGRRA?

  2. Ian and Mike, you have my full support ad I am happy that we could trash out any misunderstandings. I am planning to be in Knysna during the week of the 16 January.

  3. Enrico and Ralph – and others that this was directed to. My apologies. On re reading my comments I can see why Enrico may have got the impression I was implying certain preconditions on the two of them in particular which is most definitely not the case ! I was so impressed with both of your comments on this blog that for once I saw that there may be light at the en of the tunnel. I am opposed to political pressure being directed against individuals who are not dancing to the big political tune. Filling council with political appointees who may not be suited to the job etc.
    I am happy with the “best man for the job” requirement. I see a groundswell of goodness in the town bursting to come out. We simply need the right leaders to make this happen. There are a lot of very peed off people in he western cape so it is time for a non political people movement to take control of municipalities to stop the rot.

    • Ditto!

      As we had our meeting, so i met with Ralph 2 days ago and we had the most reasonable conversation we’ve ever had with the agreement that some Knysna issues, with commonalities for all, must be treated as community first and not politics first.

      Enrico seems to be of similar mind but we have yet to meet as he’s currently in Paarl but he has promised to share a conversation next time he’s in town. Ian, hopefully you can join.

      This attitude applies to ALL in Knysna regardless of race, creed or political affiliation. Let’s get talking and find out what we can agree upon rather than what we disagree on.

      PS: http://www.facebook.com/Munwatch – Rustenburg also fed up with local government.

  4. Ian
    The issue of politics is very complicated, because it’s all over. In church, at the work place, at school, wherever you go. And what is politics? If I speak about paying a worker a decent wage, or about Pezula or Leisure Island wanting to put booms up to keep people out, or about decent services whole Knysna or about a golfer who spits in the face of a caddie, is that speaking politics.
    To remove politics from me is like the thing where people wanted to remove the ANC from Madiba, it can’t be removed. But I, like Enrico can distinguish between party and community politics. Knysna, my home town is important to me and I will play my part to make it a better place for all, black and white.
    I will participate in a discussion or forum that are interested in making Knysna a better place. Lets tackle all issues together, corruption at the municipality or unemployment and poverty in the location.
    Together we can do more. Let’s learn and put into practice what Madiba stood for.

  5. Ian, let’s set the record straight, I don’t know why you have singled out Ralph and myself, but nevertheless I am a committed member of the African National Congress and I love the place of my birth, Knysna. You must bear in mind that although I am a committed member I am not following the ANC loyally where it is found that it is making mistakes. I for example I cannot defend the President regarding to Nkandla. I am an independent thinker and live for the ideals as set out in the Freedom Charter and of those of our former president, the late Nelson Mandela. Please do not tell me how I must think. I am committed to expose corruption in what ever manner or form. I hear what you are saying regarding politicians and I am not a politician, I am working for my money like you do. You have voted in the last elections and I am not going to ask you who you voted for. Let’s work together to root out this mismanagement in our town irrespective of where we are coming from. I cannot speak for Ralph whom I have great regard as a friend. He must just do the right thing and bring his councillors to account!

    • I don’t see it as singling out, just a simple request for a general meeting sans party agendas. What i am very pleased to read is your stance on self-thought rather than party thought. That’s the attitude everyone needs to have, not only so that the ANC and DA clean their ranks from within but so that we, as i’ve repeatedly requested, put Knysna first.

  6. He (Ralph) must make sure as provincial leader of the ANC that his councillors up the ante and lift their collective arses for the benefit of all the people o0f Knysna. If those ANC councillors can’t do their job, kick them out. Ralph will know that when we were councillors we turned Knysna upside down and even dealt with those manipulating officials who took councillors and the community for fools. It is of no use you having councillors just sitting there doing nothing and just waiting for their pay cheque on the 25th of each month. People are fast losing faith in the political parties and processes. We must give people hope and work with them to turn hopes and dreams into reality.

    • Absolutely. I’ve been straight forward on that with Ralph and have given him the opportunity to do so in his previous interview on this website. Now it’s time to see if he will deliver the info he’s promised which is regarding salaries and ANC Chief Whip, Stephen de Vries’ role in the cover-up at Knysna Tourism. Proof must be in the pudding.

  7. This was worthwhile reading and I cannot leave this without giving my view on it.
    It’s very encouraging to hear people, especially the haves and Ratepayers taking on issues against the DA. We are so use to them taking on issues against government and the ANC and therefore the reply of Helen is the more expected, but reading this give me hope for the new year.
    I believe people should address injustice where it occurs and not be quiet because it is committed by people with the same complexion as they have or who stay where they stay. Right is right and wrong is wrong. Madiba said he fought against white domination and against black domination. He said people should fight against whoever are doing wrong, so this is a good start. Lets all fight and make a noise against the child that is killed and raped in the location or the fact that pensioners must stand in long queues in the wind and weather at PnP to get their pensions. Let’s fight for all potholes to be filled in the rentire Knysna and for decent services for all.

    It’s wrong for the council the gobble up our money and to do whatever they like without any recourse. It’s wrong to pay people millions only to get consultants to do their work. Let the people stand up and fight all injustice, whether its in the location or council or Leisure Island.

    • Agreed. We have to make people think and act for the whole of Knysna. It tears at me when, for example, a murder in Hornlee isn’t given gravity by my neighbours in Central Knysna because they don’t understand that it’s their town too – people have become too isolated, some because of prejudice and others so as to protect their psyche. We have to stop them being loyal or bias towards their areas or their skin colours and, especially, political parties. There will be sometimes be disagreements on what’s right and wrong but most will agree on a common morality which they must to apply to everyone they deal with, from Smutsville to Pezula. We are stronger together!

    • Ralph, Enrico and others. Is there any possibility that able persons in Knysna and Plett can get together to discuss the common good of our towns ?. With a few provisos that is : leave politics out of it. I am not interested in anyone waving political banners as few of us have any respect for politics. (Wherever one looks there are politicians getting fat out of crooked deals, there is nepotism on every corner and the man in the street is only needed for his money and vote at election time) . The next proviso is to leave self interest and self enrichment outside. Again we are sick of hidden agendas aimed at self advancement or advancement of friends who will always be called on later for pay back time.
      Bottom line is : are there any good old honest, caring, intelligent people out there who have our towns and residents’ interest at heart ? And strong people who keep forward and future focus, rather than dwell on the past ?

  8. Patrick and others. Excellent ! We have a contructive debate emerging. Now we all need to decide what it is we want and what it is that is wrong with our town, municipality, tourism association, developers, tender awarding etc etc. At present we have individual little voices shouting what they think. There is no concerted voice saying what the town as a whole feels and demands. To call for a rates boycott is great, but what is it exactly that the town as a whole is unhappy with, and what are we as residents prepared to do about it ?
    It it not time for a Greater Garden Route Residents Association (including Knysna, Sedge and Plett) to be formed to speak with one voice representing all concerned residents in the area ? And when someone speaks for GGRA they must have authority and the interest of the residents at heart, not their own political or private greed agenda.
    The other issue is financial muscle. Municipality can simply use your money to fight you in court if it comes to that. The GGGRA needs to be properly funded with serious money, that inter alia will fund its infrastructure, admin, staff, blog/communication with members etc. Dont talk to be about R100 pa membership fees as that is not serious money.
    Any suggestions ?
    Ian Stewart

    • I appreciate your thoughts and as said to you previously, believe in an umbrella organisation but first we have to get the local groups to get their act together so that we’re not dysfunctional. The Municipality has been smug in it’s handling of the taxpayer because they know that, for the most part, people give up and what’s popular protest now becomes apathy later. They also know that egos clash and local organisations often become their own destruction. We need committed people who understand that to claim back our rights and our home is bound to be a difficult and long-term process. Only together do we stand a chance at succeeding.

  9. it is about time that we came to realise that all , sorry ALL politicians are like a bunch of bananas, they are yellow, crooked, you can never find a straight one amongst them and they always hang around in bunches.

  10. The problem is not solely a financial one, but one of dereliction of duty, incompetence, poor work ethic, irregularities, lack of political will, disregard of human rights and deployment of political cadres.

    Disciplined withholding of payment on the other hand is motivated by an intention to preserve infrastructure. It is constructive. It is evidence of a sense of civic duty.

    If ordinary citizens become indifferent in this regard, we’ll be in even greater trouble.

    • ‘Dereliction of duty’ – spot on. They’ve forgotten the purpose of their offices and no one above them is reminding them. So it’s up to us to do so. Public ‘indifference’ is key. It’s the tide this blog has being trying desperately to turn.

  11. As much as I dislike Helen Mudge’s odiously prescriptive tone, I have to concede that she’s right about the tack to take. Stop rates payments forthwith.
    The only reason these people have their snouts in the trough for, is money. That is their lifeblood… so… cut it off until there is an eruption. An equitable re-shuffle will soon follow.
    Open a savings account and put the usual amounts into it, then watch them squirm. It is a legal form of protest in South Africa.
    Cut the money flow completely.

    • I agree that controlling the money gives one power but it’s not that simple. In fact, it’s illegal (which shows how corrupt the system is) so one has to be prepared for a fight. Not to mention that Knysna’s many resident associations need to skip their ego and work together for the first time.

  12. Lets form a committee and fight this issue, lets start brainstorming a better deal for Knysna especially for those wonderfull ,loyal hardworking people, who were EXPLOITED by the “rich” and “they think they famous” people, let simplicity prevail ,without trying to make ANOTHER RAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Thanks Ian for such an informative state of the town address. You are right, the municipality is obliged to disclose the salary packages of the municipal manager and the section 57 directors. The fact of the matter is that the municipality is taking us as ratepayers for fools. The Systems Act defines a municipality in short as the Council, the administration and the COMMUNITY. It is high time that the COMMUNITY exercises their right and entitlements as provided by legislation. What is very discomforting is the fact that the opposition parties in council are silent on all these issues raised. Is it because they want to do same when they get into power after the next local government elections in 2016 or is it because they do0 not understand how to interrogate these issues? I suspect that they do0 not understand the issues in the first place. You are right when you say that it is difficult to interpret the budget and I bet you neither the DA councillors or the opposition councillors understand what is going on in the budget. The Executive Mayor according to the Municipal Finance Management Act must present the budget to council, but this stupid ass does not have a clue what she is presenting to council. The community must force the municipality to0 have a meeting with them in order to explain the issues raised in this blog! The community must even consider bringing an application in the high court in order to compel the municipality to give access to information as requested.

    • The only reason why these criminals are still in office is because the common man cannot afford to spend hundreds of thousands, even millions, on a high court case. And working through government structures has been a frustrating experience – it would seem that the DA exerts pressure on them to obey i.e. no autonomy. As for the ANC, absolutely worthless as opposition in Knysna (and i’ve given my thoughts previously on that). Hopefully you’ll be one of the people working towards a better Knysna in 2014.

  14. Seething resentment continues to grow towards the DA municipal authority of Knysna as ineptitude, lack of service delivery, a crumbling infrastructure, absurd increases in rates and a decaying CBD and industrial area are just some of the burdens ratepayers and residents are forced to bear whilst the DA municipal executive award themselves and their management ever increasing salaries and bonuses, for what is widely considered a dismal performance.

    Whilst Knysna is literally dying before the eyes of its residents it comes to light that this municipality is the third most expensive to live in of the twenty five in the Western Cape. The management team of Lauren Waring and Grant Easton have been around far too long for comfort, few disagree that they are a serious liability. Accusations of corruption abound. Businesses and residents are abandoning Knysna at an alarming rate. If this is not arrested soon our town will be reduced to a crumbling shell.

  15. Dear Ian,
    Unfortunately, although you are probably quite accurate in your figure-work, your letter is worded so poorly that it becomes boring to read…even if one is keen to read what you have to say. If you are truly disillusioned with the set-up in Knysna, then you and the rate-payers need to seriously challenge the salary and staffing structure of your Municipality. This can be done quite easily, if the majority of the Ratepayers Association decide to withhold their Rates until such time as they are satisfied with the Municipal Budget. It will require the standing together of all Ratepayers. We have a similar problem in Plettenberg Bay.
    Also, I would you urge you to sign the following Petition to Impeach Zuma, and to spread the word – we can only get rid of corrupt politicians by standing and ACTING together … We, the people, have the Power. Here is the link …

    http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/parliament-of-south-africa-and-political-party-leaders-impeach-president-jacob-zuma-for-nkandla

    Also I’d advise you to join the People’s Parliament of South Africa page on Facebook … there is alot of action brewing that we all need to support, talk about, and join forces.

    Cheers! Helen Mudge

    • Appreciating those who make an effort is more important than criticising style of writing. Yes, rates is always an option but far tougher than it seems. I, and many others, signed the Zuma petition. Plett, Knysna, George and Oudtshoorn share many commonalities so need to work together but before we get to that stage we have to prove that our local residents organisations can do so first. Please send me the link for the People’s Parliament of South Africa as i never found it. Thanks.

  16. Thank you for this, it explains simply how crooked the system and politicians are. Knysna has become depressing, we’d sell and move but cant- property prices are too low. The smell of sewage floats in the air, the roads are messed up, and a developer has been employed to design the future of the town. Greedy rampant development and too much concrete is the cause, so now the golden goose is sick, if not dead already.

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