The fight for the Garden Route, between the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the African National Congress (ANC), is an uninspiring mess.
The 2011 municipal elections resulted in the DA winning Knysna and Bitou (Plettenberg Bay). I, like others, had hoped that the DA would fulfill their election promises for truth, transparency and the rooting out of so-called corruption. Instead, to my dismay, the DA has run dictatorially from behind closed doors, occasionally stepping outside for a lie. Yes, that’s a strong statement but if you’re willing to put aside party politics and racial affiliations (the true destroyer of truth e.g. White/DA is good, Black/ANC is good), and investigate before having an opinion, its plain (and disturbing) to see. I have written much about it here at The KEEP.
Today, we return to the quagmire of DA hypocrisy in Plett. The local ANC is not an “innocent virgin” but they have received an extremely unfair portrayal in bias, national media. The lies and interference from a provincial level makes what has been happening in Plett very worrying for the entire Garden Route. If anything, it suggests that politics = bad and that the public have no say whilst our “leaders” fight for power instead of us.
Kenny Leluma, who was the political adviser to Bitou’s ex-ANC Mayor, has written a letter contradicting Mayor Memory Booysen’s 6th letter to the public. As i’m aware of several of the contradictions, i believe that his response should be read by you. If anything, you should always look into both sides of the story. It’s incredibly important to discover the truth. Without understanding there can be no fixing of the problems we’re facing. Without fixing, our future, besieged by long-term recession, rising unemployment, protest and crime, is incredibly bleak.
Most people in this country don’t believe that many in the DA are as corrupt as in the ANC. And it’s only because mainstream media refuses to publish anything that shows the DA corruption. With the exception to Knysna/Plett Herald, none of the newspapers, local or national, is prepared to tarnish the party’s saintly façade with a gram of truth.
Contrast that with the DA’s widely published allegations since 2006 that the ANC had institutionalised corruption at Bitou. Almost every newspaper in the country reported about that elusive but much talked about corruption under the ANC administration in Bitou.
The DA is now in power in Bitou, and in his 6th Letter, Memory Booysen says a lot, discloses little and hides so much. He mentions figures of money allegedly wasted by the previous ANC administration. He is however quiet about money that has been illegally siphoned out of the municipality by the DA.
First, despite writing extensively about the alleged assistance given to the municipality and heaping praises on Jeremy Ord of Dimension Data, Booysen elected not to mention that the company was appointed without following a tender process to a project of R4.3m in the first year and about R2.2m in subsequent, yet unspecified, years.
Booysen is not disclosing this because he lied when he said that Dimension Data was going to do the work at no cost. On 12 December 2011, Thys Gilomme in consultation with Dupie Du Plessis wrote to Booysen asking for approval of a deviation from the procurement process because “there was not time between 9 December 2011 and 20 December 2011, being the date the new company must take over from Lefatshe, to obtain other quotations”.
He goes further to say, “such quotations must be based on own investigations and no other company could comply within the time frame”. Booysen approved the deviation; which approval is in itself illegal.
We knew as early as September 2011 that Dimension Data was going to be appointed, but we were told that they were going to do that work free of charge. This is what Booysen said in his letter of September 22, 2011; “ ….Plett property owner, Jeremy Ord, who is Executive Chairman of Dimension Data, the largest IT solutions company in SA. He immediately offered to send a team down to Plett, at no cost, to evaluate our technology systems and needs and suggest a plan going forward.”
It is clear from this that there was no intention whatsoever to put the work to a competitive bidding. If there was ever a desire to obtain quotations from other companies, why was the work not put on tender in September to avoid alleged lack of time stated in Gilomme’s Memorandum to Booysen? In fact what has happened is that the DA asked Dimension Data to write its own specifications. This is corruption.
Maybe the answer for this decision lies somewhere. In one of their internal correspondence, Johan Brummer bemoans apparent lack of commitment by his colleagues to keep their promises to protect another business against electricity switch off. The act which amounts to interference with administration. In that correspondence, he writes, “Please remember that Lookout is a Plett icon and hangout of preference for some powerful people – people like Jeremy Ord and others who have supported us generously. Please watch this carefully.” Is the unlawfully awarded contract a payback gesture? How much money did Dimension Data give to the DA? Doesn’t the awarding of tenders, especially without a transparent tender process, by a ruling party to its financial backers corruption?
Second, in his letter of August 1, 2011, Booysen said; “As many of you know, due to continuous disruptions caused by the bad behavior of certain councilors during the council meeting commenced on 29 June and continued on 1 July and again on 5 July, it became necessary to obtain a high court order to force the councilors to abide by the rules and order by -law of the municipality. A court order is very expensive – we estimate over R300 000 – but I want to assure you that this cost will not be borne by our ratepayers and will be recovered from those who broke the law, opposed the application and caused the expense.”
The Court ruled on the matter and found that Brummer’s conduct raised “serious concern about his impartiality in the role of Speaker,” and that his use of profanity when addressing the councilors was unbecoming language of the Speaker of the Council. These findings were made after the judge, received submissions from Brummer and ANC councillors, and listened to the tapes of the meeting as submitted by the DA administration to Court. The DA chose not to challenge the court ruling, but Booysen goes on to attack the integrity of the judge who made the ruling. This is an aberration of DA’s usual noise when the ANC takes legal route to challenge some court rulings.
What Booysen should be reporting is how much the ratepayers paid when the DA lost the case. Paying the cost of the ill-advised case from the public funds is betrayal of the public trust because Booysen assured the community that the money would be paid by “those who broke the law”. The court found that Brummer broke the law, and he must have paid. Instead, the DA chose to dig in the public coffers to massage Brummer’s bruised ego.
Brummer was removed by the DA’s Federal Council, and I bet it was after legal opinion indicated that there were no prospects of the appeal process bringing a different outcome. Brummer didn’t voluntarily resign. So, Booysen is not being honest with the residents of Bitou.
Some of us were not surprised about the findings on Brummer’s use of filthy language. We knew about it long time ago, but the DA leaders turned a deaf ear just because Brummer was good in spreading their lies. Brummer also appeared on a newspaper showing a middle finger to law enforcement agencies. The DA claimed then that he was provoked, and defended his behaviour.
Third, Booysen says an audit has been completed and that it cost the municipality R1.8m. He however doesn’t tell that this is a standard amount payable to the Auditor General to audit the books of the municipality. He is trying to plant a seed in people’s minds that the amount would have been less were it not because of ANC corruption.
But most importantly, he conveniently forgets to mention one little point of importance. The audit findings have returned yet another unqualified report for the ANC administration. Granted, disclosing that information would further damage the DA’s insistence that there was institutionalised corruption in the municipality but that small acknowledgement wouldn’t have made him a lesser human being.
Last, there are many things that Booysen omitted in his letter. I will deal with them later. But there is one that is important to mention now. The municipality entered into a business relationship with Johan Brummer. This is illegal.
Brummer’s American girlfriend, Debra Nicholson, the one who was also his PA when he was still the Speaker, registered herself on the municipal data base for business purposes. Du Plessis signed her application as a witness and then went on to approve the application. The municipality then entered into an agreement to pay her R8000 in December 2011 as rental for Gilomme’s stay at her apartment. Du Plessis approved the transaction without asking other companies or individuals to submit quotations. And he also authorized that the money be paid into Brummer’s bank account.
I deliberately mentioned Nicholson’s nationality because Du Plessis declared her as a previously disadvantaged individual in terms of this country’s procurement laws. This quick approval and status granted to Nicholson reminded me that it is always easy to arrest Africans as illegal aliens while an American citizen enjoys privilege status. This is the benefit of being associated with the DA. I accept that the DA has no obligation to explain to me but maybe they should explain this to people living in the shacks in Qolweni, Kwanokuthula and Kurland. The very people that the DA has been saying they must go back to where they came from.
I am going to ask Home Affairs to investigate Nicholson’s stay in this country, including whether she is permitted to conduct business in this country.