KNYSNA NEWS - When the Knysna council last year approved a monthly cellphone allowance of R3 400 for all councillors, it was reported that at least five of them pledged to donate a portion of that money to charity organisations after an uproar from the community over the significant amount.
At the time, these councillors included Eleanore-Bouw Spies (mayor at the time), Speaker Georlene Wolmarans, Peter Myers, Cathy Weidemann and Mark Willemse (current mayor).
This week, ahead of yet another approval of increases for councillors at a special council meeting, we asked the municipality for an update on the pledges of a year ago.
Last year, Knysna-Plett Herald reported that councillors already get a cellphone and their phone calls are paid for by the municipality, and that not all councillors accepted the allowance, while others pledged to donate it to the charity of their choice.
In its reply, the municipality stated that Myers paid for school fees for three learners and also purchased clothes for various children in need.
"He has also assisted a small emerging business with its website development and advertising campaign. Further funding went to the Alien Busters for alien eradication in Ward 10, and another portion of the councillor's cellphone allowance was used to help a needy resident with their rental deposit," read the statement from the municipality.
Regarding Bouw-Spies, who pledged at the time to monthly donate a portion of her allowance to Little Angels care centre for children with disabilities, the municipality said, "Councillor Bouw-Spies serves on the board of Knysna Association for Persons living with Disabilities (KAPD) and is also on the fundraising subcommittee of the board.
Little Angels is one of the beneficiaries of the fundraising committee, thus the councillor has decided not to include Little Angels as a beneficiary of her allowance."
It stated that Bouw-Spies used a portion of her cellphone allowance for the Women's Warrior programme in Ward 5 which took place during Women's Month in 2018.
"She has also utilised the funds for small projects, i.e. assisting soccer clubs with funding for transport and the netball club with balls and equipment."
The statement also indicated that Willemse purchased a sewing machine and material for a community project in Brackenhill, and that Wolmarans donates a portion of her allowance to a crèche and a senior group within the community."
There was no response regarding Weidemann's pledge to assist the needy with her allowance at the time of going to print.
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