Morning Premier Helen Zille and Knysna Mayor Georlene Wolmarans
Attached is a list of 209 people asking you to stop the exorbitant salar increases, to uphold the DA's election promises and to please Save Knysna. The petition was hosted by Avaaz and i, Mike Hampton, am the petitioner.
I also attach my last, unanswered letter to you as well as an impartial report on the Knysna ISDF.
Knysna is a very small town. During this month of January, my niche activism blog, KnysnaKeep.org, gained almost 20,000 views which shows that there is a clear interest in the topics i've been bringing to you, the topics you both have left unanswered. Under you, Georlene, the Knysna Municipality has blocked 4 of my edresses. And you, Helen, have not answered my emails in 2 and a half years. In fact, every department (local, district and provincial) has been obstructive, damaging our democracy.
A vital issue which has generated an outcry is the illegal awarding of the ISDF tender. Last night, an independent, report on the process so far was issued by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. I have attached the full, 20-page report which, essentially, places question marks over most of phase 1. I draw your attention to: "Another significant issue emerging from the Knysna ISDF process is the unresolved conflict between the Knysna Municipality and the civil environmental groups. The dispute is not being acknowledged and has been left to fester breeding suspicion and mistrust in the process." It is another clear example, one of many, of the DA not providing it's essential oversight role and, instead, placing big business before the health of the public.
Please, Helen, when you are in our town tomorrow, please don't only make (as scheduled) a campaigning appearance in the taxi rank before meeting election money at the yacht club. Rather set aside an hour and meet the other people who care about Knysna, the ones who sweat towards the truth so that the beauty of our town can eventually be seen unclouded.
There has to be more to our lives than politics out of our control, out of control. We seek a future, responsibly worked towards, together. You are our best bet at fixing the mess we're in.
Please share these sentiments and Save Knysna.
I look forward to your response.
Knysna, the Prettiest Town in South Africa
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Local Politics, News & Social Issues - knysnakeep.org
Home of the Knysna's Rastafarians - judahsquare.co.za
Woody Allen: "Confidence is what you have before you understand the problem."
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The petition reads as follows:
Dear Helen Zille: Please stop Knysna Municipality's salary increases & demand financial transparency
THIS IS ABOUT PEOPLE FIRST, NOT POLITICS. THIS IS ABOUT ACCOUNTABILITY TO THE RATEPAYER. THIS IS ABOUT SAVING KNYSNA AND HELEN ZILLE IS IN THE BEST POSITION TO GET TO THE TRUTH.
Knysna, in South Africa, is essentially bankrupt, having to borrow money to survive. The town has only 68 000 people yet as many as 5 staff members earn R1million or more salary packages annually. 2 are earning approximately R1.4million. There has been a massive R54million increase in employee costs the past 4 years (this despite R30million in debt being written off).
The DA won power by promising austerity, transparency and an open-door policy (regularly repeated in the media) but did the opposite, denying public participation and failing to reveal salaries on public request.
Austerity was not the ANC and the DA agreeing on the last salary increase yet allowing the Municipality to distribute flyers telling citizens how to fix potholes because the government had run out of money. Austerity was not the DA upgrading their offices. Austerity was not the Municipality sending staff to France and Jamaica yet adding a monthly "rental" to pre-paid electricity meters. Austerity was not giving the previous Municipal Manager a major 'bonus' to leave. Austerity was not giving Knysna Tourism over R4million per year and then telling the Public Protector that they can't provide information about it because Knysna Tourism is a Section 21 company (even though they set it up and the Municipal Manager and members of the DA and ANC are on the Board of Directors).
The salary budget has increased 50% the past 3 years which means that Knysna Municipality borrows money, selling our future, so that they can keep paying themselves more. A citizen put it differently which was to say that almost all ratepayers monies now go to paying local government salaries.
New national increases, if passed locally, will increase those million plus salaries to 6 people.
We demand that:
1. the DA address the Knysna Municipality and stop increases and bonuses for Directors.
2. the ANC, COPE and DA not only vote against increasing their own salaries but take a 10% pay cut on the current amount in support of the struggling town they are suppose to be representing.
3. the monies saved be put into a kitty whose distribution will be decided with public participation e.g. fix our roads.
4. the Knysna Municipality commit itself to immediate transparency and meet with concerned citizens from ratepayers' and residents associations.
5. Helen Zille, leader of the Democratic Alliance, launch an investigation into locally failed election promises and illegal tender awards (such as the ISDF which will decide the future of our town).
This may be happening in your town too. Show Knysna support and you will also be sending a message to South Africa that politicians and municipal staff work for us, the ratepayer.
Help Save Knysna! Please sign this petition.