We all know that the political arena is as murky as a crocodile pond. I’ve discovered, and shared with you, that local politics, in Knysna and Plettenberg Bay, is as dirty. There are good and bad people on either side of the spectrum.
Here enters a story that links our two towns via the ongoing battle between the ANC and the DA for control of the Garden Route. Further linkage is entrenched by Theuns Botha (DA Provincial Leader) naming Ralph Stander in the bribery scandal. Ralph is a Knysna resident, businessman and the highest ranking ANC member locally. He is accused as one of three ANC members who attempted to bribe Nevelle De Waal, a DA Councillor for the Bitou Municipality.
As i’ve sat with most politicians in Knysna, i’ve met Ralph on numerous occasions so was quick to discuss the situation with him. He emphatically denied the DA’s claims and was disturbed by the fact that Die Beeld had published the DA’s press release almost verbatim. They, he claims, did not contact him for his viewpoint. That disturbs me too as media bias has gotten out of hand in South Africa and, in pursuit of money-making headlines (or 3rd party interests), they only inflame a South Africa that wants to flame.
I don’t know the truth of the situation. It’s possible that so-called Operation Reclaim is above Ralph Stander’s pay grade. Maybe it doesn’t exist at all. I simply don’t know. I’ve battled to get truth out of numerous politicians (think Georlene Wolmarans, Michelle Wasserman etc) and, on most occasions, failed. Local politics is certainly not for the people. And this issue is “way above my pay grade”. I utilize italics mockingly because i believe that citizens, unequivocally, have the right to the truth.
But i do believe that both sides should be told. To the end, on the local front only, i’m publishing Ralph’s open letter rebuttal as it’s unlikely to get the headlines the DA’s press release was given. But first you should read the DA’s links so that you gain a fuller picture that assists you making your own mind up. Maybe you’ll be like me and still need to know more.
The DA’s press statement can be read here.
The full accusations can be read here.
Note that i also contacted Nevelle de Waal after the proof given by the DA was a 2-and-a-half line email sent by Nevelle to Liz Mundell (DA Chairperson in Bitou – note that i have no idea what her title means) who then forwarded it to Jaco Loodt. You can read it in the link above. What was odd about the lines is that it had no preamble or afterward, placing it in context i.e. as if he was told to send it. That is pure supposition but it is certainly weird.
Again, i do not know the truth of the matter so all i can do is present to you, the public, a rounder picture. I asked Nevelle if he’d be signing an affidavit and he said that he would not which, effectively, clears Ralph Stander legally and gives foundation to his threat below to sue the DA. Continue reading