I have a challenge for the DA, in particular Helen Zille and Alan Winde who have failed to acknowledge the struggles Knysna is experiencing. To readers from other parts of South Africa, here's to hoping that you appreciate the spirit of this, sharing similar desires for your town.
Accepting my challenge with positive intention, decision and action would stop the majority of my criticism of the DA! It would even make me vote for you.
Too much of Knysna Keep, my political blog, is about what didn't happen. Sure, there's criticism of poor actions but, far too much, criticism of non-action. The biggest of these has been the condemnation of public servants, particularly the DA as they are in charge of Knysna, who've hidden the truth or denied fair public participation. There is no democracy without transparency. THERE IS NO DEMOCRACY WITHOUT TRANSPARENCY.
What cruel critics blinded by bias refuse to realise is the simplest truth, the simplest logic, which is that my blog wouldn't exist if Knysna Tourism (which included politicians, Lauren Waring and Grant Easton) had chosen to be honest. It would never have gained momentum if the politicians and municipal officials hadn't lied about so many issues that followed... and if those higher than them in the Western Cape Government hadn't chosen to help them build even higher walls.
I'd gladly have dropped many issues long time ago if the DA had simply come to the table and said the public deserves the right to know... and shown us. Every lie and every wall has made me grit my teeth and try harder.
So, to Alan Winde and Helen Zille, here's the challenge. Give me a reason to change my blogging. There's tons of issues in Knysna but all i'm asking is for you to sort these with public participation:
1. ISDF - it stinks in so many ways.You're wasting public money. Do not let this go to court! Have independent investigators judge if the process was fair or not. If illegal, take it away from the tender 'winner' and punish those involved. If legal, ensure that there's real input from ALL interested groups.
2. Knysna Tourism - millions down the drain and no CEO. Make Greg Vogt, Chairman of the Board, pay back the illegal payments he's received. Reveal all the info from the investigation into the ex-CEO and uphold the constitution of Knysna Tourism and the Municipal Finance Management Act.
3. Forced removals of forest dwellers - the pressures that these Knysna citizens are under is extreme and cruel. 8 years of false promises from the ANC, DA and PG Bison must come to an end - bring all parties to the table and thrash it out until it's done. If this means assisting these poor people with their land claims, then do so.
4. Install a complaints system that allows tracking. Councillors Wolmarans, Wasserman and Edge promised that in their first year but still haven't delivered. This will end the Municipality's ignoring of the public.
5. Be informative! - this means updating the Knysna Municipal website on a daily basis (there have only been 3 blogs this year and none addressed serious issues). An example of information that should be included is the agenda for forthcoming council meetings (and the minutes thereafter). Allow subscriptions.
6. The Budget is a big bone of discontent - make it understandable to the layman and title documents so that they can be easily found. Practice the austerity you promised!
7. Crime & Drugs - start meaningful interaction with the SAPS, public and schools. It's gotten out of hand! Our town is rapidly losing its 'quaintness' which is so important for our tourism-based economy.
8. Education - run workshops teaching citizens how local government works.
9. Clean up the Ward Committees and ensure that the constitution is upheld - no bias towards the DA e.g. not accepting complaints if it involves DA members is totalitarian.
10. Make it obligatory for DA Councillors to demonstrate their good intention by signing a Councillor Commitment Form which allows for a by-election if sufficient voters of their ward call for it, thus ensuring that Councillors are always reminded that they are public servants first, politicians second.
It's possible that you'd have to fire people for committing crimes against Knysna. Making the hard decisions is what leaders are supposed to do. Your image may take a knock in the short run but by the time the local elections arrive, you'll have earned the respect of critics such as myself. I'd vote for you if you committed to this moral path.
In a few months, you could change Knysna for the better and make our pretty town an example to the whole of South Africa.
So, Alan and Helen, are you up to the challenge? Will you roll up your sleeves and improve our lives?
Hoping that you say, "Yes!"
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