The Knysna Democratic Alliance is a failure. They are smoke and mirrors that has little to do with democracy. They may come to expose corruption from the past administration but in no way does that account for their own actions. Do not be duped when flashy headlines appear. They will release an action plan in the near future but the fact is that they never had a properly formulated plan when running for office. Instead, the DA came to power in Knysna for 2 reasons:
- They pounded simple election promises (lies) into an uneducated electorate.
- People voted against the ANC and not for the DA, especially white people who were scared by headline after headline screaming “Malema!”
Anger is enveloping the world. Its fuel is a disenfranchised electorate i.e. citizens no longer have power over their lives. That is the same in South Africa, expressed by service delivery protests and more. Elected officials such as Knysna’s Ward Councillors do not follow the will of the people. Politics, especially in small towns, is an economic game offering the greatest personal rewards. The modus operandi is to accuse the opposition instead of running an election on a clear manifesto that reflects the will of the people. There is no accountability. A councillor wins office for 5 years, earning as much as R500 000 per year. If they do a bad job, they will still get their money so long as they only piss off the public and not their leaders. That’s not democracy. That’s bad business. That’s selfishness.
The KEEP seeks to promote political consciousness with the belief that Truth and Transparency from the Knysna government is our, the public’s, right to demand. We should have more control over community issues and councillors should be accountable to their wards. This applies to ALL political parties! COPE and the ANC are useless within the Knysna context too. BUT the emphasis is on the DA as they are in power which should run concurrently with responsibility. So far, all that i’ve encountered have lied which bodes evil for our little town which is painfully convulsed by this Recession.
Rent-a-Mayor Georlene Wolmarans, Deputy Mayor Michelle Wasserman and Councillor Esmé Edge are the biggest liars. As I’ve addressed in detail in previous blogs, they have totally failed to uphold the Knysna DA’s election promises of “truth and transparency”. Instead, they have built walls, protecting the racist Knysna Tourism office, headed by the “incompetent” Shaun van Eck, and giving foundation to the ANC’s claim of the DA being for white people. I’m not an ANC supporter! The ANC have much to account for which only emphasizes my disappointment in the Democratic Alliance for being, except for skin colour, much of the same. You may point out that the party is of mixed race in Knysna but I suggest that you experience them first-hand so as to discover who calls the shots.
Worse is that I appealed to the local DA’s higher-ups who have proven to be as uncaring. MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, Alan Winde, promised he’d sort what he could which turned out to be a lie as he never addressed the issues and eventually handed the matter over to the Knysna Business Chamber without telling me, a bizarre response considering that the Knysna Business Chamber has “no power” over the DA staff and Knysna Tourism, and is, instead, trying to get funding from the municipality. This is, foremost, a political matter. Alan Winde’s action was simply another wall erected by the DA.
So I mailed the Premier, Helen Zille. She has yet to respond but her Chief of Staff, Geordin Hill-Lewis, the 24-yr old on the fast-track, did. He said we’d meet but, without a date, i requested what i should have received, each step along the way, from each DA member, which is formal acknowledgement of the issues i’ve presented and a commitment to verify if it’s true. Intentions are worthless without acknowledgement as has been proven by Georlene Wolmarans, Deputy Mayor Michelle Wasserman and Councillor Esmé Edge who verbally stated that my questions were good and valid, and would get a response. Instead, they severed contact with me (I’m not alone in facing their undemocratic silence and lack of action).
The Knysna DA, like elsewhere in South Africa, and abroad, is a failure because there is no accountability. This will not change until the public exercise their will. Protest is a natural form but can begin simply by attending the Council meetings which are open to the public (the next at 9am on Sept 29 in the Mayor’s building on Clyde Street).
Regards the councillors themselves, they could have proven their integrity to us by:
- Dropping their salaries.
- Upholding the election values they ran on.
- Signing a Commitment Form allowing the public to recall them from office if more than 51% of their Ward believed they’d failed to uphold the values of their office.
Instead, the DA did nothing. They are the dictators of Knysna.
PS: This week, I will compose a Commitment Form. It has happened elsewhere in South Africa and we need to ensure that it happens for our next election.