KNYSNA NEWS - The Hornlee community organisation Knysna United has welcomed the resignation of the town's acting municipal manager Dr Michele Gratz, CFO Mbulelo Memani and councillor Peter Myers, and is calling for Knysna Municipality to be put under provincial administration.
Gratz, Memani and Myers resigned in a council meeting on Thursday 28 May.
In a statement, Knysna United chair Ralph Stander said they have been consistent in their fight against what they termed corruption and maladministration in the municipality. "Millions of rands have been misappropriated and stolen, to a point where Knysna Municipality couldn’t even pay salaries, creditors or do basic maintenance," he said.
Stander stated that Knysna United took their fight to the department of justice, the provincial and national government, public protector and the SA Human Rights Commission and have called for:
- A full forensic audit into the affairs of Knysna Municipality;
- The suspension of the CFO;
- Bringing to book all who are involved in the alleged corruption at Knysna Municipality, including councillors and politicians; and
- Placing Knysna Municipality under administration.
"The municipality decided to suspend its manager Dr Sithembele Vatala and to appoint an acting municipal manager Gratz (spending millions on having two MMs) with a view that the acting MM must come and clean house, but on the contrary. Under the acting MM nothing has happened regarding the maladministration and corruption," he said.
Stander said no action was taken with regards to Memani or the councillor(s) implicated, but instead Gratz decided to use them as her main advisers. "Under the acting MM the council instead of getting a forensic investigation, decided to appoint its own team to whitewash the investigation. We’ve also been very vocal in terms of us not wanting councillor Peter Meyers, because we knew he was a DA councillor who was the main adviser of the CFO and the deputy mayor. He was also the councillor who advised the acting MM," Stander said.
He said they are happy that their hard work and continuous advocacy had paid off and that the three officials had resigned. "We however say you can run, but you can’t hide and we are continuing with our call for a full forensic audit into the affairs of Knysna Municipality, bringing to book all who are involved in the corruption at Knysna Municipality, including councillors and politicians, and placing the Knysna Municipality under administration," he said.
He called on all hard-working and justice-loving people who don’t have money to waste to join them in their call.
Municipal spokesperson Christopher Bezuidenhout said the municipal regulations on financial misconduct proceedings provides for allegations of financial misconduct to be referred to the financial misconduct disciplinary board. “The disciplinary committee will upon concluding their preliminary investigation, make recommendations to council. In terms of the Knysna United allegations with regard to the CFO, Mr Memani, the disciplinary board concluded their preliminary investigation last week and submitted their recommendations. The report will be presented to council this week. Until the council has resolved on this matter, the subject remains sub judice,” he said.
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