This morning, on KnysnaFM, it was announced by the Knysna Chamber of Business‘ ex-chairman, Dave Hendry, that the organization had closed as lot of members have not paid their subs and they no longer have the finances to keep even the “little things” going such as the website, database software etc.
“I understand that times are tough and not as easy as 5 years ago,” said Dave Hendry. “We had to ask if it was achieving what we wanted…and it wasn’t.” Although he hoped that someone else would find sponsorship and pick up the ball, he expressed his disappointment at continually seeing businesses close in Knysna.
I’ve long been a critic of the Knysna Chamber of Business as they had wanted me to keep quiet with regards my requests to the Knysna Municipality and the Knysna Tourism Board for the budget of Knysna Tourism. As it was a matter they should have pursued themselves, i smelled a rat which seemed validated when they denied chatting about me to MEC and DA member, Alan Winde, but the latter confirmed such in a call to me. It was suspiciously around this time that the DA and municipality effectively closed its doors to me and refused correspondence. Additionally, the Chamber of Business seemed to have an ulterior motive for not wanting to query the municipality as they were attempting to gain sponsorship from them in the form of free office space and the old furniture and computers from Red Door, the development agency – they gained neither.
It was beyond my comprehension that with only 6 businesses or less listed on their official website for years that their claim to hundreds of members was bollocks. A member has to be active. If anything, we locals know that it is always the few that do the most which is why organizations such as the Chamber of Business and the Knysna Ratepayer’s Association fall apart and the Knysna Municipality, sans effective criticism, gets to make decisions against the public’s will.
To their credit, Dave and Craig, the voices every Wednesday at 8.30am on Knysna FM’s programme, Bizz Buzz, were highly visible. I may not always agree with their agenda (or the parts lacking) but i can respect the effort they put in – sometimes it seemed as if they were the Chamber’s only members. The good news is that they will continue on Bizz Buzz in their personal capacities.
The lesson repeated here is that a few can never do the work for all. Unfortunately, it seems as if it’s always the few in Knysna. I can only hope that there’s a day in our near future when all the doers lose their ‘islands’ and find a way to work together.