That Susan Campbell is recently at the centre of controversy in Knysna means that she’s shaking the trees of corruption in all the right places.
Susan Campbell practised as an attorney in Johannesburg before moving to Knysna in 2003.
She’s a founding member of the Western Heads/Goukama Conservancy (and its first Chairperson). She’s an adviser to the Knysna Ratepayers’ Association. In 2016, she became a member of the Knysna Municipal Planning Tribunal (KMPT).
Through a property she owns in an environmentally sensitive area, she developed an interest in environmental matters. Choosing to preserve the fynbos and coastal forest, Endlovana Coastal Hideaway was born – 4 luxury tents on wooden platforms that blend into mother nature.
In 2014, she donated a R15 000 holiday in order to raise funds for Pledge Nature Reserve. She’s also used Endlovana to host various educational groups and organisations, including free lectures to students from Switzerland.
Campbell pursued legal studies to assist Knysna, completing modules in Land Use Planning Law, Natural Resources Law, Pollution Law and General Principles of Environmental Law.
WHY THE CONTROVERSY?
The greater Knysna public became aware of Susan Campbell through her detailed research into the initial ISDF tender. The importance of the ISDF cannot be understated as it’s the long-term plan for Knysna.
Campbell provided convincing evidence for there being a conflict of interest and the tender award being illegal. Her work forced a series of events that found the Western Cape Government in basic agreement with her. However, to get that report, she had to go through the Public Protector. In February 2016, she presented her complaint to Parliament (a ruling has yet to be made).
At the heart of the ISDF conflict and other questionable situations she’s investigated, are numerous high-ranking municipal officials and politicians.
When, just before the 2016 local elections, she was revealed as the complainant in the matter which has resulted in Municipal Manager Grant Easton being placed under investigation, there was local media backlash, instigated by Easton and unrevealed sources. The matter was then used as election fodder by Schalk van der Merwe, a property developer and ACDP candidate, and the not-so-anonymously run Knysna Knews. Campbell convincingly responded in her usual, factual manner.
CONTROVERSY IS GOOD
If you’re not the subject of screaming newspapers and bathroom swearing, then it’s unlikely you’re contributing to our town. From all the noise, Campbell is obviously making a strong contribution to the place she calls home.
Consequently, it’s ironic that she prefers her privacy and hates photographs. She’d much rather be researching the law and digging into boring government documents.
She’s made a massive personal effort, involving time and money, to make Knysna a safer town. She must be applauded.
THANK YOU, SUSAN CAMPBELL, and Happy National Women’s Day.