KNYSNA NEWS - Knysna councillors were left disappointed in not only the municipal manager (MM) last week, but also in the Finance and Governance committee chair after certain promised reports had not been submitted in a meeting held on 8 February.
The committee meeting, chaired by councillor Cathy Weideman, has been described on social media – by the Knysna Ratepayers' Association (KRA) – to at times "resemble a mini SONA" and "Cllr Weideman had her hands full trying to maintain order in the face of numerous interruptions by irate councillors".
The biggest concern centred around the absence of a report relating to the spending of ratepayers' monies on a private legal matter involving mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies, speaker Georlene Wolmarans and Love Knysna blogger Mike Hampton.
Councillors were particularly incensed that the MM, Kam Chetty, had not submitted reports that had been requested by councillors at previous meetings, according to the KRA.
Councillors David Skosana (ANC, Ward 3), Elrick van Aswegen (Cope, Ward 6) and Peter Myers (DA, Ward 10) were the most vocal of those in attendance.
"The report has not been submitted, and we want to know why.
"I need something in black and white to take back to my ward so that I can explain to the people what is going on with this matter," said Skosana.
Van Aswegen said it was unacceptable that only one out of the many matters appeared on the agenda.
He was referring to the absence of the report on legal fees not having been submitted, among many others.
'Shoddy answer,' says Myers
Myers concurred, saying, "I think the MM's answer as to why the report has not been submitted is shoddy and an insult to this committee. I believe this council deserves answers today," he said.
In reply to Weideman's comment that she had been following up on this and other reports not submitted, and that the MM had "picked up on something" and therefore did not submit the report, Myers said her reply as chair was unacceptable, adding that he did not hear Weideman demanding the report – as Myers and other councillors believed she should have.
Chetty's response regarding the absence of the legal fees report was that he was still busy checking facts and that he wished to consult the SA Local Government Association (Salga).
Van Aswegen objected, saying, "Why did you (Weideman) as chair then still sign off on today's agenda? You have failed the committee and I am disappointed in you."
Skosana added that the ANC had been requesting the report since last year and accused Weideman of "covering up".
An angered Weideman requested that his comment be minuted.
Councillor Claudine Croutz (ANC PR) agreed with Skosana. "It is your responsibility as chair to supply us with the report," she said.
Chetty retorted stating that he did see the matter as very serious. "I am unsatisfied with the accuracy of the report. There are one or two facts I need to verify. I will bring it to the next meeting," he said.
A power interruption called the meeting to a halt at about 10:24 that morning. It is scheduled to continue on 26 February, according to the Knysna municipality website.
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