Susan Campbell has been chosen as a member of the Knysna Municipal Planning Tribunal (KMPT). It’s a massive public victory for Knysna and happened in defiance of the Administration and ANC’s wishes.
The purpose of the Planning Tribunal (KMPT) is to decide on contested land applications. It’ll be one of the most important bodies in Knysna. It consists of a minimum of 3 internal (Knysna Municipality) and 3 external members. Consequently, having the right people looking out for the town is essential.
Susan Campbell is undoubtedly one of those.
She has consistently pointed out the law when the Knysna Municipality has over-stepped. She is well known for her detailed objections to the manner in which the ISDF tender, the 30-year plan for Knysna, was handled.
As she does her best to avoid the spotlight, the general public will be unaware how hard she has worked against other questionable tenders.
As a prosecutor and attorney in Randburg, she has extensive court experience. Her interest in land issues in Knysna made her register for a Master’s Degree in Environmental Law at UCT. Completed modules include Land Use Planning Law, Natural Resources Law, Pollution Law and General Principles of Environmental Law.
MORE PUBLIC NOMINATIONS THAN ANY OTHER
She had more nominations from the public than any other. That included support from the Sedgefield Ratepayers’ and Voters’ Association, Knysna Ratepayers’ Association, Belvidere Homeowners’ Association and Phantom-Homtini Nature Conservancy.
She was also nominated by the historically disadvantaged forestry community of Brackenhill… yet the ANC didn’t want her on the Tribunal. In fact, they tried to use her standing up for the town as a reason why she shouldn’t be chosen.
Out of the 14 candidates for the external committee, her name was strangely listed at the top of the list. Next to it, the reason for rejection was “CONFLICT OF INTEREST”.
It’s not a “conflict of interest” to point out when municipal officials and politicians attempt to bend or break the law.
Years ago, i published an article that categorised her under the header “Environmentalists Object”. She objected to that blanket term, “environmentalists”. She believed that our town must be safe-guarded against those who break the law so as to financially benefit from the land. However, it was as important that we support positive development.
VOTING FOR THE TRIBUNAL MEMBERS
Rumours were buzzing before the big decision. The decimation of loyalties and election candidate lists has ensured shock and conflict within local government. I expressed concern that some may not vote or wouldn’t turn up.
I wondered in which direction the DA’s Esme Edge would vote, if COPE’s Elrick van Aswegen would abstain and if Independent Ntombizanele Jantjies would turn up.
All turned up. Jantjies voted against Campbell. Edge and Van Aswegen voted with the DA for Campbell. That final part likely tipped the scales towards a victory for common sense and public protection.