Last night, at a special meeting of Knysna Tourism members, called to address the dismissal of CEO, Shaun van Eck, many questions remained unanswered. Nevertheless, there’s much to report about what was said and, overall, the Knysna Tourism Board took a big step towards impressing itself as a professional body with the welfare of its town at heart.
It started with a press conference whose allotted 30 minutes fevered into an hour. It was clear that specifics of the charges that the ex-CEO was found guilty of were not to be forthcoming. Tourism Board members, Greg Vogt and Marian (Mack) McIlvenna, and labour law consultants from K&S, Willie Kruger and Leigh Cole, were informative as to the process leading to the termination of Shaun van Eck’s contract but had to be badgered for sufficient information to compose a framework of understanding. Ironically, their intentions were to feed us less than the tourism meeting that was to follow. Ironic because those of us who were part of both parties being addressed could complement the facts and holes into a greater whole.
Why were they so reticent? The repeated phrases sounded more terminological than reason: “We must respect the dignity of both parties involved” and “we are dealing with a soul [van Eck] who has a life beyond this appointment”. Poppycock. The fact is that van Eck has threatened a defamation lawsuit and has approached the CCMA with complaint i.e. the Board is doing it’s best not to get sued…which is the same as avoiding Knysna Tourism being sued (which, if it were successful, would be a burden all members and the town would suffer). They made a big effort to imprint that Shaun van Eck was not charged with theft or embezzlement but rather with misconduct.
The catch-22 is that whilst understanding the Board’s actions i still want answers. Semantics aside, Shaun van Eck was found guilty on 4 charges.
Let’s get to the nitty-gritty of it…
[Part 2 here]