KNYSNA NEWS - The gloves came off this week in an unbridled bout between DA mayor-elect Michelle Wasserman in one corner and councillor Pieter Myers in the other.
Herewith summary of the blow-by-blow account:
Wasserman: Willemse has not made any effort to use the DA manifesto as a basis for prioritisation and planning for Knysna Municipality.
Myers: This statement is false. Willemse and I have scrupulously adhered to the DA 2016 manifesto and in fact, until recently, the majority of the caucus were congratulating us in this regard.
Wasserman: Willemse has not shown political leadership and is not providing strategic direction to Knysna Municipality's administration. Consequence management has also not been implemented during his tenure as mayor.
Myers: This statement is ridiculous. Willemse has shown remarkable political leadership in the face of many obstacles put in his way by Wasserman and others, including Wasserman's close ally Eleanore Bouw-Spies who has just been promoted to go to parliament by the DA. An independent legal forensic investigation found that Bouw-Spies should be charged with among other things fraud, an issue Wasserman is well aware of but is very keen to cover up.
Wasserman: Willemse has lost credibility among councillors, officials and members of the public who perceive him as being unable to make his own decisions and being "remote controlled" by Myers.
Myers: This is wishful thinking. To my knowledge all the senior managers of the municipality are fully supportive of Willemse, and Wasserman should produce proof to support her allegations in this regard. As far as the public goes there are petitions and marches planned in support of Willemse as mayor. The allegation that Willemse is remote controlled by me is just stupid and an indication of the desperation of Wasserman and her cronies.
Wasserman: On 6 June 2018 Willemse, together with the ANC, voted out the approved DA mayor. He then accepted the nomination for the position of executive mayor despite not being properly approved by the DA to do so and was voted into that position by the ANC.
Myers: Willemse was voted in after I, his fellow DA councillor, had nominated him for the position, which I only did after obtaining specific and proper approval from the DA provincial leadership. That the ANC and councillors of other parties accepted his nomination without putting up an opposing candidate just shows how much credibility Willemse had and still has from councillors of all political persuasions.
Wasserman: In September 2018 Willemse participated in the DA's selection process for the position of executive mayor for Knysna Municipality. Despite participating in the process, he elected to reject its outcome when he was not chosen as the successful candidate.
Myers: This process was only conducted on the basis of a vacancy occurring if Willemse was found guilty in an internal DA disciplinary process that was taking place at the time. Willemse (as well as me) was completely exonerated at the conclusion of the disciplinary process. It therefore turned out that the selection process should never have taken place and any outcome was null and void. It has nothing to do with Willemse either being chosen or not chosen.
Wasserman: For the reasons set out above, we have decided to submit a motion of no confidence in Willemse.
Myers: In terms of the DA caucus rules and the DA federal constitution, a motion of no confidence cannot be submitted without first being the subject of a caucus decision and then such decision being ratified by the federal executive. Neither of these requirements has been met and therefore the submission by Wasserman and her cronies is in serious breach of the DA rules for which the sanction must be immediate expulsion from the party.
Wasserman: People are not getting what they voted for in 2016.
Myers: Since Willemse became mayor and I was appointed by him to the mayoral committee, the people have at long last started getting what they voted for in 2016 – no thanks to Wasserman and her cronies.
Wasserman: Knysna residents might feel that they do not care if Willemse implements the DA manifesto or not, as long as his planning and prioritisation is in the best interests of the town. Therein lies a second problem: if Willemse has a plan of his own then we, members of his own caucus, are not aware of it.
Myers: The Willemse/DA plan is contained in minute detail in the five-year Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and current budget. Indeed there have just been public engagements in each ward to present, discuss and take comments from the public on the IDP, Metropolitan Spatial Development Framework and draft budget for 2019/20. If Wasserman and her other cronies in the caucus are not aware of these plans then it is because they are not reading the documents and failing in their duties as councillors.
Wasserman: We anticipate that Willemse and Myers will join hands with the party that voted them into power and this will mean that Knysna Municipality may soon be governed by the ANC.
Myers: Willemse and I will ensure, if we can, that the town continues to be run responsibly and properly and goes from strength to strength. Wasserman and her cronies in the DA caucus have been a massive impediment to this. They have tried to ensure that Willemse fails even if this is at great cost to Knysna. That he has succeeded to the extent that he has and has the support of the overwhelming number of residents from all of Knysna's diverse communities, is a testament to his positive leadership.
'We bring you the latest Knysna, Garden Route news'