The Knysna Independent Movement (KIM) says the decline of Knysna under the ANC’s leadership became apparent by 2010, and accelerated under the Democratic Alliance (DA) leadership from 2011.
They say by January 2020 Knysna was in deep financial distress.
KIM candidate, Susan Campbell, says part of the reason for the dire finances, revolved around the irregular procurement of prepaid water metres, worth more than R40 million.
“The metres have been lying here in the sun and the rain, they’re deteriorating at a rapid rate and I’ve been informed by people who have these metres that they appear to be old technology, they’re very difficult to handle. For the life of me I cannot imagine how the councillors we elected to this council, the ANC and DA could actually have said we got value for money. I don’t see how millions of rands of metres lying here could be value for money; we could have done so much more with that.”
The Knysna Municpality responded in a statement, saying that a forensic investigation is still ongoing.
In the video below, resignations at Knysna Municipality during council virtual meeting:
Acting Municipal Manager, Dawid Adonis, says the supplier has replaced the defective water metres, at no cost to the municipality.
Meanwhile, leader of the One South Africa Movement, Mmusi Maimane, recently joined KIM’s election campaign.
He says voters should choose candidates who are actually making a difference in their communities.
“Working with the Knysna independent movement, (we) are working so that we can bring services to the people. The impact they can make is more crucially to ensure that they get candidates who have been working in the community. Susan, the candidate here, has been here all the time. So, with or without people’s votes, she has been making a difference.”
In Knysna’s neighbouring town, Plettenberg Bay, there are also political problems.
Leader of the kingmaker in the previous election, the Active United Front, and former Bitou Mayor, Peter Lobese, is currently facing charges of bribery and corruption involving the Qolweni housing project.
The area has seen numerous protests and the constant closure of the N2, due to housing issues.
President of Ikwezi Political Movement, Nokuzola Kolwapi, says they want to root out corruption in their town, by only fielding female candidates in the upcoming elections.
“One of the visions we’re carrying is to say we’ll emphasise clean governance that is led by people that are kind, people that are able to be in somebody else’s shoes, the empathy. Us, as women, us, as IPM (sic), we’re very sure we’ll be inclusive in whatever we’re doing, because that’s what women are doing.”
As in the 2016 local government elections, the Knysna and Bitou council leadership will most likely be decided by a smaller party which will play kingmaker.