A Facebook post about the closure of a creche in Upper Olde Place Knysna, on the corner of Boekenhout and Old Toll Road, led to sufficient disagreement in the comment section to prompt this blog and a posting of the contents from the Council Meeting that refused the application from the already running, and allegedly illegal, creche.
The FB post simply stated:
“A creche in Upper Old Place, on the corner of Boekenhout and Old Toll Road, is to be closed down after objections by Graham McDonald who complained about peak hour traffic and noise. Maybe more importantly is that the bank loan for the property stipulated 3 children and not the 50 applied for. Furthermore, the business was running without Municipal approval. Although it’s sad that these kids will lose an outlet and have to find new schools (poor parents too), i take no side in this matter, one way or the other, as i don’t know the owner’s argument. Just reporting what happened in Council.”
The creche is run by Elizma Meyer. The controversy entered when a subscriber claimed that one of the co-owners was Richard Meyer, her brother-in-law, and asked: “Dear Editor, can you contact Pastor Meyer. The guy of the Rock Church. He is a manager at the Municipality. Also ask why he ignored local laws.”
Richard Meyer is, indeed, a pastor at the Rock Church and in his position as the Head of Disaster Management (Traffic and Local Law Enforcement reports to him) is one of the most powerful people in the Knysna Municipality. That does not mean that he did anything wrong but it does mean that he was more likely to know the law.
The real tragedy here is for the parents and their children. Where the blame belongs is uncertain.
If the parents want the school, they must object beyond Facebook comments and support for the integrity of Pastor Meyer but they should also note that the public and The Knysna Ratepayers’ Association (KRA) wanted the school closed – they won because the law seemed to side with them.
You can send your queries to:
- Richard Thorpe (Knysna Ratepayers’ Association) – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Councillor Louisa Hart – 044 343 2209 / email@example.com
- Councillor Wiseman Litoli – 083 717 1951
- Richard Meyer – 044 302 6426 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Note that the school is allegedly, thankfully, moving to Queen and Cove Street. Hopefully the applications have been done correctly this time – i would think such highly unlikely as it takes time but, if the premises are appropriate, i hope that the Municipality will speedily assist them. I await confirmation from Elizma Meyer on the move.
Below, you can see the Council Documents that led to the school’s closure in Upper Olde Place.