DO YOU KNOW about the Knysna Municipal Planning Tribunal (KMPT)?
The public is grossly unaware that there’s another power struggle underway in Knysna. The problem might be that seemingly boring topics can be the most important, the battle for land always so.
The much needed process to consolidate numerous land laws, pre-apartheid and post-apartheid, is underway. Ruling all is the national Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA). Under that, a new provincial law will fall and, thereafter, municipal by-laws.
Part of the process requires the erection of a local committee that passes judgement on land applications before it’s submitted to the Director of Planning and Governance who in turn passes it onto the Council. That committee will be called the Knysna Municipal Planning Tribunal (KMPT). Most of what passes through them is expected to gain final stamp of approval.
Consequently, the KMPT, consisting of municipal staff and paid external members, will be powerful. As we learned from the unsorted mess that is the ISDF, the 30-year plan for our town, unchecked power can be detrimental to the health of Knysna.
According to good sources, a silent battle has been underway.
Initially, the ANC and the DA were on the side of the Administration but that changed after a different faction took the DA over, the result being many of the DA being booted from the candidacy list for the next election.
Unofficially, it’s now the ANC and the Administration versus the DA. How long that will last is uncertain because the new power of the DA has already begun to shift on some issues.
The 3 external members proposed for Tribunal are all outsiders, 2 apparently from Plett and 1 from Cape Town. There appears to be an intentional move to exclude Knysna citizens from their own land process. This is emphasised when one of the nominees was previously and controversially involved with one of the members wrongly awarded the ISDF tender.
A Special Section 80 meeting was called to make a decision on the nominees. Instead, th meeting was made to deliberately fall apart. That included Susan Campbell and me, Mike Hampton, local government’s biggest critics, being told to leave the Council Chambers so that the meeting could continue in secret.
Read about what happened in ‘Hampton & Campbell Told to Leave Council Chambers’.