Furthering the goal of a more transparent and educated Knysna, at the end of this blog are the salaries of some of the department managers/directors of Knysna Municipality.
For 5 months, Grant Easton (Director Finance) did not respond to my emails requesting the latest salary figures which, by law, are suppose to be public. Whether it was for that or my same-week queries regarding estuary pollution and the proposed development on the wetlands, i had 4 of my email addresses banned by the Knysna Municipality.
I approached Chanel Green, Customer Relations Officer for the Knysna Municipality and, after a long 5 weeks, she passed on this unhelpful dribble of a message from our Municipal Manager, Lauren Waring:
“Information about the total packages that the Councillors and Municipal Manager receive can be found in the Knysna Municipal Financials or in the approved MTREF, which is available on our website at www.knysna.gov.za.”
‘Unhelpful’ because she or Easton could simply have emailed the salary list. Their modus operandi is to make life difficult. My modus operandi is to shame them with truth every time they do.
I’d already read the 80-page MTREF (Medium Term Revenue & Expenditure Framework) and much more (headache inducing stuff) which revealed an interesting fact which i’ll mention shortly.
It is true that there are financials on the website but i never realized that the old salary figures could be discovered on pages 72-74 of a document entitled “WC048 Knysna Consolidated AFS 2011-12”. To get that out-of-date understanding, i had to go through the process of requesting info from the Western Cape Government. Whether coincidental or par for the course, i received an email error message when following up with questions – was i blocked elsewhere too?
Not even a bizarre, best case scenario of misunderstanding and miscommunication (as opposed to conspiracy) could change the fact they they could have simply supplied answers to my queries. Did they learn to be this unhelpful or does it come naturally to them?
The figures i provide you represent 2011/2012. The MTREF revealed that at that stage total municipal salary costs were R139 million but that 2013/2014’s was increased to R165 million i.e. the figures below are likely to be higher!
In 4 years, the total municipal salary payout has increased by almost 50% (whopper!).
- The package for Grant Easton (Director Finance) was increased by R149 500 between 2011 and 2012 (that’s a helluva annual raise).
- Performance bonuses as high as R90 000 were paid.
- Reggie Smit (Director Corporate services) got a R95 000 increase. He has since been replaced by Bevan Bellman.
- Lauren Waring has since been promoted to Municipal Manager (we will only receive a clearer picture of her salary when we receive the next report showing a full year’s benefit as Municipal Manager but we do know that her predecessor, Johnny Douglas, received R1 367 570 in 2011).
- Emanuel Myalato (Director Technical Services) received R183 703 just for moving to Knysna (called a settling-in fee).
- As Lauren Waring’s salary as Director of Planning & Development was over a million in 2011, it’s quite possible that Mike Maughan-Brown, her replacement, receives more 2 years down the line.
Notably, these 5 positions are extremely well paid. And 3 of those positions carry part responsibility for the financial catastrophe at Knysna Tourism and must be absolutely condemned for the cover-up. Even the new Director of Corporate Services, Bevan Ellman, did not respond to my query regarding Knysna Tourism’s finances. And to remind you again, the prominent names in the ISDF tender scandal were Lauren Waring and Mike Maughan-Brown.
Proceed to Part 2 where Knysna’s municipal salaries are revealed.
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