I’ve had many behind-the-scenes queries about my tactics since yesterday, mostly by people who believe that there is something wrong with Knysna Tourism and the Municipality. That oxymoron answers their questions: Problems do not get sorted if we do not stand up after our questions remain unanswered. If you’re from Knysna, you will be well aware of the pervasiveness of complainers, not doers, especially amongst white folk. I understand that we do not live in simple times and we all carry burdens, fearing to add to the load. It is Fear that stops us and allows wrong to continue. It is Fear and dreaded Apathy that stops Change.
“Why Make it Personal?” is the other query. I hate Lies. I hate the lack of transparency by Government that leaves us confused as to the direction of our town, our country and our very lives. I stand up because I love Knysna. I stand up for myself. Knysna is a small town. We can make a difference here!
Shaun van Eck is also a known quantity to me and thus, as a beginning, embodies what is wrong. Understand that he recently went through an arbitration process that he won. But that left queries. Was it because he was right or on a technicality (business owners will know how hard it is to fire someone)? Why did the old Board of Tourism try to remove him? Was it initiated because they believed that he was incompetent? Was the process improper from the beginning because the ex-mayor was gunning for his job after she was bumped to #2 in the ANC’s, Knysna power grid? When actions and results, regarding subjects that affect our lives, happen behind closed doors it results in an ignorant public who in turn emboldens irresponsible government.
Note that I liked Shaun van Eck, enough that I can’t bring myself to hate him now. Indeed, I wrote a letter of support for him for his arbitration. It wasn’t because I’d had workshops approved and much-needed money was going to get me through the month. I try to be fair, even at personal cost. I responded to both the statements that the Board sent through Knysna Membership. I wanted to understand the other side. When those emails were never responded to, it made my decision to support Shaun even though it felt like he was going to lose (which in turn could affect whoever supported him). I was recently told that the Board never received my queries. Knysna Membership did not pass them onto the Board. Also, note that the chairperson and vice-chair quit after the decision.
Understand that I do not type these emails as a rant. This was decided after much, difficult thought. We do not live in a fair world. My questioning of the CEO of Knysna Tourism, the Mayor, the DA etc will come at a cost that I will unlikely to be able to afford. They are powerful. They know powerful people. I’m just one citizen who hasn’t figured out rent yet and is thankful that the guava trees in the garden are bountiful this winter. Survival is scary right now. But I believe in doing what I can. I am not apathetic. So, on one hand, I attack injustice here, and on the other, I praise the great beauty of our town with LoveKnysna.com.
If Tourism or Shaun van Eck composes an elegant, “upperhand” statement in response to my blog, or launches a personal attack on my character, if the Board is unhelpful, if the DA gives me trouble, if I get sued, if I get a “friendly” call from a cop, I ask you to remember the bigger picture. Why did the head of Knysna Tourism, if he is responsible in his job, not agree to discussions that could possibly have stopped this process. Why did the Board of Tourism ignore my queries? Why did the Mayor?
Did you know that Shaun van Eck’s contract ends, and the new one begins, at the end of this month?
Here are the emails between me and Shaun that were mentioned.