My day began angry and devolved it into the sadness of helplessness. It’s day 80 of my battle to get transparency. My example may have been the state of Tourism under Shaun Eck but the bigger view is a divided Knysna that’s run by “leaders” who believe in closed doors and cronyism.
I face inexperienced Councillors who vary between being headless chickens and not having the will to fight for what’s right. If you met them, you’d be fearful that so many don’t have the abilities to fulfill their positions, especially relating to the portfolios they’ve been given. That covers the ANC, COPE and DA. The Knysna DA gets less latitude as they are in control of the Council and Municipality and thus have to bear more responsibility i.e. the buck stops with them.
The Knysna DA won the town after running on a false platform of transparency. Instead, their personalities shift between that of a brick wall, delay and lies. That continued today with Mayor Georlene Wolmarans not contacting me after she’d promised to give me all her attention after the “canning” of the Municipal Manager. It was also in reponse to Reggie Smit answering some of my questions but not most as they were not within “his mandate”". The latter is nonsense and more likely related to the witchhunt happening in the municipality at the moment i.e. he’s playing safe and doing what he’s told by the DA.
Minus the spelling mistakes i made in my rush, here’s the email i sent to Georlene Wolmarans, Michelle Wasserman (Deputy Mayor, Head of Finance and on the Tourism Board), Esmé Edge (Councillor and on the Tourism Board), Lauren Waring (Acting Municipal Manager) and Reggie Smit (Corporate Affairs).
My word skills are sufficient enough that i could send you a message filled with diplomacy and double-talk much like what’s been served to me for the past 80 days. Unfortunately for me (because it doesn’t assist relationships), i don’t subscribe to bullshit like the DA-led, Knysna Council.
I accept that you’ve been busy finding your feet and playing with mud made by your predecessors but in no way does that excuse the agonizing time you’ve made me dangle. The bigger picture, the truth, is that the only thing i’ve been able to count on so far is your unhelpfulness. You deliberately delay and lie yourselves into bad faith. With tourism being an enormous component in the machine driving Knysna, that should never have been an option.
With the removal of Johnny Douglas as Knysna Municipal Manager, i expect there to be some covering of arses during whatever follows. I may never have had a conversation with Lauren Waring but she holds the dubious position of being the only municipal worker who messaged me not to mail her (as The KEEP) and also failed to answer questions that i directed at her i.e. Useless Municipal Manager got replaced with Acting Useless Municipal Manager.
Pointing fingers at corruption may be a necessity but it does not validate your own courses of action.
Mayor Georlene Wolmarans has lied about action several times, starting on Election Day, so i was willing to accept her delegation of my queries to Deputy Mayor Michelle Wasserman even though it was an ironic action. I say such because Michelle, along with Councillor Esme Edge, should have already carried that responsibility as members of the Knysna Tourism Board. Both, along with other Board members such as the Chair Mark Dixon and and Vice-Chair Greg Vogt, should have been asking questions before me!
Knysna is a small town. You have not revealed your relationships with those whose competency i’ve questioned so it casts the shadow of mistrust upon you non-actions. In particular, as i’ve stated several times, you have given Tourism CEO, Shaun van Eck, incredible leeway to get his ducks in a row. That smacks of cronyism, the same shit that the DA, week after week, nationally, accuses the ANC of.
On Tuesday, this past week, Georlene promised me all her attention after [she announced big news that] coming Friday (when the Municipal Manager’s contract was terminated). That Friday, her definition of that was only an SMS which prompted me to call her, the result being a delay to today. More than half the day is gone yet i’ve received no call for a meeting.
What you’ve failed to appreciate is that i love Knysna very much. In an ideal world, you, as the leaders of Knysna, would have simply loved Knysna too, encouraging your own initiatives as well as welcoming discussion with concerned citizens on issues that you were unaware of. That, unfortunately, is not the case. You have journeyed me through concern (and a desire to help) to anger…and beyond that to despair because what hope does our troubled town have if you are our “leadership”.
Your treatment of me does not bode well for your treatment of your constituents who do not have a voice.
Anyone out there not getting answers?