Earlier this week, I published strong words against Knysna DA Councillor, Richard Dawson. I’d meant to follow up with a campaign of explanation and action but so many other issues landed on my desk that I was unfortunately delayed. With two meetings today, another film crew in town, more municipal meetings, a court case and an affidavit preparation for another case, I expect my best intentions for next week to be diverted again so let me squeeze in some facts now.
Chuck any bias you have into your coffee cup and flush it down the loo. Do you believe in the Law being applied to everyone? Do you believe in public information being accessible to the public?
Over several blogs I’m going to explain to you how Knysna DA Councillor Richard Dawson and the Ward 10 Committee is failing us, the public they are supposed to represent. I will start with a basic foundation. Next week, I will explain the law and your rights before telling what happened at that disastrously undemocratic IDP meeting where Dawson’s boyfriend, Colin Lang, was involved. Then I’ll list the issues that I wanted to discuss, many whose answers you’d have been interested in if Richard Dawson and the Ward Committee had bothered to answer.
My goal is always to educate you and encourage you to stand up for your rights. That is ongoing. My medium-term goal here is to ensure that Dawson isn’t a contender for the next election – the DA best find someone more honourable if they’re to ever gain respect. Appointing politicians who will blindly vote for issues in return for a salary for not doing their job is unacceptable! There’s too much at stake.
There will be some of you, as normal, who will be pissed off at me for at how i tackle an individual but i ask that you realise that our future is more important than unhelpful niceties. Ask yourself what you are doing to understand or correct the problem before criticising. Then substantiate your criticism with facts whilst simultaneously questioning yourself with what’s right or wrong according to right and wrong, not relationships, race or political party.
I repeat: Chuck any bias you have into your coffee cup and flush it down the loo. Do you believe in the Law being applied to everyone equally? Do you believe in public information being accessible to the public?
If you said “yes” to both of those, then keep on reading, reminding yourself that this is primarily about right and wrong, and us having the right to control our lives through oversight of the people who are supposed to be looking after us.
Before first it’s essential that you visit ‘Does Political Bias Reward Knysna Ward Committee Members?’. That was also a topic in my Dear Helen letter.
I stated there that, “Municipalities and Ward Committees are not weapons for political parties. If they were, municipalities would not be staffed by the general public and ward committees would not exist. They are there to serve everyone! Unfortunately, in South Africa, it’s clearly evident that political parties and big business are often put ahead of the public’s best interest. “
That’s especially true for Ward 10 which is arguably the most important area in Knysna as it includes the centre of town where most business and tourism is conducted. The Ward Committee would not accept my complaint about Knysna Tourism (where I’ve been proven correct) nor would they for the ISDF tender irregularity (ongoing) which is the most important matter in our town. Why would they walk away from subjects that greatly affect the very people they are supposed to be serving? The only logical answer that makes sense is that it implicates Richard Dawson as well as other DA politicians.
The process is for them to take an issue to the Ward Councillor but since Dawson is part of the issue (as he refused to tackle the problems when addressed one-on-one and was on Tourism’s Financial Sub-Committee that illegally funded debt with taxpayers’ money), they would have needed to approach the Speaker. The problem, at that stage, was that Dawson was also the Speaker and on the EXCO (the Mayoral Committee). As Mayor Georlene Wolmarans was also implicated, the only solution would have been for them to approach provincial government for advice. They chose to do nothing except, like the DA and the Knysna Municipality, block me. That is far too big a point to have in common without there being collusion.
Let me introduce the players and ex-players with perspective. Richard Dawson is the Ward Councillor. Ward Committees are comprised of elected volunteers from the public who act as a conduit between the public in their area and the local councillor (in this case, Richard Dawson). The Ward Committee works independently but reports and discusses matters with him. They are our channel to local government, ensuring our public participation in our alleged democracy in Knysna. Emphasis is on PUBLIC – they aren’t allowed to be secretive.
WARD 10 COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Kevin Grinaker has since quit the committee. Leon Naude was booted after I campaigned against him after his infamous “shoot the protestors” moment. I knew the bad character of these men despite little experience with them yet the Ward Committee who worked with them for 3 years (some knowing them far longer than that), were happy to associate, showing that moral character isn’t a prerequisite. Their absence becomes important as the Ward Committee was without a quorum and unable to legally function – but it did anyway. I will discuss this more in parts two and three of this story.
Both Grinaker and Naude are (or were) on the DA Constituency.
“Troop leader”, Dee Hollely, is the brains. She’s also on the Knysna DA Executive Committee and is a fundraiser for the party. Ward committees are not allowed to be politically affiliated yet Ward 10 seems to be obviously so.
Colin Lang is the boyfriend of Dawson and, if I hear correctly, also on the DA Constituency. From the IDP meeting, it’s obvious that in his world you only have the right to ask questions if you own a house – such prejudice.
Mickey Greyling is the only other official member. It is highly likely that he would be unaware of me or the issues I’m discussing but since I’ve never had interaction with him (unless he was one of those at the IDP meeting), I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt.
I sent him an email which included:
- What process led to you becoming a Ward Committee member?
- Will you provide Ward Committee minutes which are supposed to be public information?
- Do you agree with Richard Dawson refusing to answer my questions at the latest Ward IDP meeting and his action of closing the meeting to prevent them?
He never responded so I followed up with a telephone call conversation wherein he said that he has no email (very strange considering his role as a Ward Committee member dealing with the public and with information that would more often than not be electronic). My request to him was to meet me and have a discussion as I did not want to paint him with the same brush as the others if he was unaware of the rules governing the committee. That’s unlikely considering that he’s been a member for over three years but my offer stands because, as I said to him, communication and construction are superior to destruction.
Instead of simply saying yes, he said that he’d have to consult with the others which, worryingly, would make me being treated differently to the general public. Off the bat, there is suppose to be an open door policy. Nevertheless, I will wait for his reply on Monday and give him the opportunity to alter course.
There are mysterious new members too. Richard Dawson would not name them but proudly said that they would be good additions and that he was responsible for their appointment-
-he can’t do that. It’s illegal too. I’ll discuss that and more next time.