Keep in mind that I made a complaint to the Board of Knysna Tourism. Instead of having them respond, Shaun van Eck, the CEO of Knysna Tourism did. But surely their job as the Board is to act as a checking system on the CEO?
I, again, ask you to remember the bigger picture. It’s bigger than me. It’s bigger than Shaun van Eck. It’s about the very fabric that is suppose to hold our town together. It’s about accountability of the people who make decisions for our lives. It’s bigger than these emails i share. But they were referenced in my previous posts, so i do. Note that they are in reverse order, newest to oldest.
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NB: After posting today’s 2 blogs, on top of my email pile was a letter from the Chairman of the Board. You can read that here.
FROM ME TO THE KNYSNA TOURISM BOARD
I have no money for a lawyer so being public is not only my best defence against Shaun van Eck but also a means to protecting the public interest through relating my experience and queries.
It is dismaying that the Knysna Tourism Board never acknowledged receipt of my email. Instead, i received this first…
—– Original Message —–
From: Garden Route Concerts To: Shaun Van Eck Sent: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 10:08 AM Subject: Re: Personal Campaign
I hold Truth most dear. Your spin on events in this email demonstrate that you are either a denialist or propagandist. A safe man would bet on both.
At any stage up until now, you could have demonstrated good intent and held a reasonable discussion. You left me no choice but to contact the Board of Knysna Tourism. You, instead, choose the dishonourable route. You choose to ignore the issues of contention and instead, disgustingly, bring in your family and Jesus as your defence. That is your choice, not mine. That is hypocritical. And spineless.
Furthermore, you threaten me. Knowing full well that i’m financially insecure, battling to literally find food and pay my rent, you try use fear as a weapon to cower me. I believe in honesty so much that i was nicknamed “Wicked Mike” a long time ago for being a straight-talker. What’s real will have no bearing on the fact that you could easily manipulate my personal blogs to paint a poor picture of me. After all, i write about the good and the bad, especially about myself and the soul-searching queries i have. But, no matter how hard life is, and undoubtedly how much harder it’s going to be made by you now, your mail only strengthens my resolve. For an analogy that you’d understand, your “Goliath” threat would make me complicit to apathy which undermines our beautiful town of Knysna. You, as the head of Knysna Tourism, the Board, Mayor Georlene Wolmarans and the council have been placed into positions of great responsibility that affect all our lives. Irresponsibility is not an option.
Returning to the matter of my blogs and, more particularly, my online diary which i’m sure can be used against me, realize that words also serve Truth. I googled myself now. It returned 25 million results for ‘Wicked Mike’. Not surprising in that “wicked” is a colloquialism for “cool” and “attitude”, hence the naming of my music blog, Wicked Rock. More relevant is that i am all of the top 10 results in those millions which means that when i blog i make the search engines. I mention this because this response goes to the Board of Knysna Tourism too (who i will address shortly).
I am in love with Knysna. I have never been so passionate about a place. Indeed, only the few women i have loved can compare. I took www.google.co.za further and was pleased to find my compliments to Knysna high in the search results for “prettiest town in South Africa” and “most beautiful town in South Africa”. Tourism’s slogan, “Knysna the beautiful town” returns over a million results. A Knysna Tourism website is number #2 for that. I am #3…but that already for a tag in an article i only wrote a week ago. That can also be interpreted as Knysna Tourism’s big budget not been used efficiently. I wonder who is responsible for that (no question mark necessary). The flip of a coin finds “Shaun van Eck”, “Knysna tourism”, “Knysna Democratic Alliance”, DA Knysna”, “Knysna DA”, “Georlene Wolmarans” and “mayor of Knysna” in some way associated with me too. That will be even more pronounced with the effort i will make now. The latter terms are included as they are the political party you’re a member of and Georlene Wolmarans, the Mayor of Knysna, is not only on the Tourism Board but, like you, failed to provide public information that i requested (Tourism budget and social project expenditures and breakdown).
Which brings me to the Knysna Tourism Board. They do not get to be complicit with your actions nor stand on the sidelines as spectators to this disagreement or the matters of importance to Knysna that i query. I do not know any of them personally (and i hope hat there are good people amongst them) but i do know that in 4 days they haven’t even acknowledged receipt of my email. Instead, i receive this appallingly, distorted email from you. Something is rotten in Knysna, the beautiful town.
This is personal but it is so much more than me or you. We are in a Recession that has already savaged our town. We need leaders. You, Shaun van Eck, could have chosen to be one but instead you resort to this. In this defaming email, you attempted to paint me with your misuse of the word “victim” and the parody of your “good” intentions to help me. The only summaries that are real is that you threatened me, have withheld public information, and have acted unbecomingly to the position of Knysna Tourism CEO.
I await the Board.
—– Original Message —–
From: Shaun Van Eck To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sent: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 8:35 AM Subject: Personal Campaign
I write this mail from my personal e-mail as you have turned a work issue into a personal issue, and I respond in that capacity.
You have written a letter to my new Board and, although I have not seen it, I have been given a sense of it by some of those who received it.
I feel for your long history of unresolved conflicts which clearly affect your approach to life and business. You are a trier, but these issues manifest themselves as a huge part of your life through your negative talk and victim mentality. I fear that you will never truly be happy and develop positive business relationships until you deal with these issues and dispense with your ‘demons’.
I have sincerely tried to help you in one of your darkest hours. I took a chance on you that could easily have backfired on me during my arbitration, and now IS due to your playing the victim again. I singled you out and gave you support, energy and time that I could ill afford at the time. You seem to believe, as a result of my empathy for your situation, that I OWE you more. You clearly believe that I am now responsible for your projects and that you are my only issue that has to be dealt with. I had an extreme May, with Indaba, followed by 6 major events which required my personal attention and a sponsorship challenged Oyster Festival looming (minus R1 million on last year), plus running all aspects of my job. This included working for 7 weeks without a day off, under major pressure. I have had to take on a PA for 2 days a week to try to get through all of the tasks. You, however, clearly believe that you are a priority over all the critical tasks that I have been faced with, and this is totally unfair. I appealed to you to work through my responsible Manager to allow your projects to get into the work stream, but this clearly was demeaning to you in your opinion. Because of the sponsor dropout for this Oyster Festival, there is NO money for your projects and this was one of my focuses to remedy. At the same time, my responsible staff advised that the third events course was going to put too many people into the market with limited opportunities, and this is true and we suspended this till a later date.
My family and I have just come through 6 months from hell with the arbitration, and could finally look forward to a new start with positive support. You have NO right to demote me from good person to bad person and go on a destructive personal tirade because you do not get your own way. It is an immature and selfish tactic to target a family who are making a positive contribution to Knysna and compromise their lives unfairly. I will NOT put my family through this again and will ensure that every poisoned word you spread is countered with the truth.
You have chosen to assert your destructive victim-tainted opinions on a positive situation with my new Board even before I have had an opportunity to have my first Board Meeting. You have created a sense of doubt that will permeate and limit all of the dealings of this Board and limit my freedom to assist people like you with worthy projects in the future. You will cause wasted energy and time, and handicap momentum because you want to throw your toys out of the cot and make me the bearer of all of your past injustices.
Understand very clearly that I will not allow a dark influence like you to derail all of the good work that we are doing for the entire community of Knysna. I will make sure that the truth and the full perspective is seen far more prominently than your negative ramblings.
You have a choice to make at this stage. You may withdraw the letter from the Board and suspend your hate campaign and I will walk away from the conflict. Should you continue, I will make sure that the TRUTH reaches every ear that you reach, and that further every Tourism CEO and Municipal Manager in SA is warned of your modus operandi. As it did in my arbitration, the TRUTH will triumph and your selfishness will be seen for what it is.
I seldom threaten, but you are targeting three of the things I hold most dear – my family, my desire to make a positive difference in Knysna, and my morals and life approach based on the example of Jesus. I suggest you read the last few mails between us and you might realise that I was not unreasonable and that your anger and ranting is misplaced. I will watch your blog to gauge your response and hope you will start channeling your energy positively and making a worthwhile difference.
Bev and I will pray for you and hope that you find some relief from your suffering!
Shaun & Bev van Eck
FROM ME TO THE KNYSNA TOURISM BOARD From: Garden Route Concerts Sent: Friday, June 10, 2011 12:41 PM Subject: Knysna Tourism office is a problem
Morning. I address this to several people but to you specifically because i was told that you are on the new Board for Tourism.
This is a complaint against Knysna Tourism. My association with Knysna Tourism was to supply the headliner for the VIP Oyster function 2010, a show at Loerie Park, 2 workshops for event organizers and a discussion forum regarding eventing in the poorer communities. As a further introduction to me, i attach 3 attached documents. One is the booklet for the eventing workshops. The other 2 fall under the project body, The Keep. The Keep is not yet a charity but it’s a place for me to start building project ideas that will help lift the poorer communities. ‘Conquering the Knysna Undynamic’ makes for a mission statement. ‘Our Knysna’ is one project idea relevant to Tourism. Please view www.knysnakeep.org. I also intend starting another website that better reflects Knysna as a whole. Tourism’s isn’t good enough.
From my experience of Shaun van Eck and some of the staff (emphasis on “some” only as front desk appears to be awesome), i’m disapointed and angry because there is a lack of transparency, professionalism and honesty. I believe that they do not have a team, there’s mishandling of funding and that a better direction needs to be chosen that better represents the town itself. I also have a queries Tourism and Worldsport’s roles for Oyster Fest.
Personally, a workshop of mine was cancelled a day before i was to be paid the deposit. Shaun van Eck failed to give a reason for the past 6 weeks. It was tragic for me as the entertainment industry was the first hit by the recession and finding business has been difficult. But it broadens into a larger concern as we”ve had discussions since last year regarding a larger plan for the community. The workshops i hosted were a prelude to the bigger picture which included practicals. Workshops without practicals are a waste of taxpayer’s money. And i believe that there has been a lot of waste. So late in the year and there is still no community plan! Why does Tourism, with support or apathy from the municipality, fail to help all communities of Knysna.
Several other proposed projects have not had an official response. “Good ideas”, in Shaun’s words, do not suffice. Knysna Tourism is disorganized.
As a member of the public, several requests for public information has not been provided after 2 weeks (websites are long out of date). I seek budgets, the latest AGM report and details of community projects (not an advertorial but real information that shows that Tourism is utilizing budget wisely). I sent the same request to the Mayor’s office via email but also failed to get a response. These are essential so as to determine if budgeting has been wisely distributed.
The negative impression i’ve received is undoubtedly shared with some. There’s a bigger picture than just my experience. We need to define it and deal with it so as to help our town, especially during this challenging Recession. I believe that it’s imperative that we bring these matters to the public’s eye and ensure that the new municipal government gives it the attention it deserves. Unlike those who are applauding the DA, i believe that they have to prove themselves first (the mayor failed to respond to me). But, before all that, and before i publish more specific blogs, i approach the Board (whose names are not even posted on the website) and members of Tourism for clarity.
As i’ve clearly stated in an email to Shaun, i do not wish to deal with him as he is a liar. That is a bad embodiment for Knysna Tourism. I do not wish to be a member of Tourism in its current state.
I don’t know who certain Tourism staff have allegiances with so this is an open letter. Your response would be appreciated. Let’s sort.