KNYSNA NEWS - Following a press release issued by the Knysna municipality yesterday, talking about the conditions of the Knysna municipal manager’s resignation during the time he was suspended, Grant Easton has hit back saying that what was said in the press release is grossly irregular and defamatory.
In an exclusive interview with the Knysna-Plett Easton said: “As I am still employed by the Knysna municipality until April 30 I find the fact that a press release has been issued inferring improper conduct on my part to be grossly irregular and defamatory.”
Easton said he could no longer remain silent while his reputation was “trashed.”
“My case was never presented and no finding has been made of any impropriety on my part. My rights are reserved and I am in the process of instituting action against the council who seem to be more concerned with covering their hindquarters than abiding by the law.”
Easton’s attorneys to act on statement
Easton said a letter has been sent to the municipality’s attorneys and he will, via his lawyers approach the High Court and Labour Court now. “I have instructed my attorneys to act accordingly and a letter was sent to the municipality’s attorneys. As no response has been received I am furnishing this statement in an attempt to set the record straight pending my application to both High Court and Labour Court. It is, in my opinion time that politicians be held accountable for their actions. That they may not act with total disregard of the law and the precept of audi alteram partem. They have just, with complete disregard for due process imputed that I am guilty when the process was terminated and no finding was made.”
A case of individuals pursuing their own agenda
Easton said: “This appears to be a case of individuals pursuing their own agenda with complete disregard for the rights of others. I can state with complete honesty that I deny that I have knowingly ever committed any irregularities and I have not been found to have committed any. I am of the firm opinion that had the evidence against me been overwhelming my resignation would certainly not have been accepted as it was conditional and these conditions were accepted and an agreement was reached.
“I deem it to be despicable that councillors would act in this fashion in an attempt to justify the vast expense that council incurred in pursuing this “investigation” and hearing against me. I made no secret of it that when the new council came in and they clearly did not want to work with me that I would entertain an offer essentially equivalent to what they have just agreed to. I would have then walked away with no cost to the ratepayer. Council insisted on both suspending me and pursuing the investigation while I remained on full pay.”
Easton’s health and family life severely impacted
“As my health and family life were being severely impacted by the stress of the hearing and my finances were being decimated by the legal expenses of the team I made this decision. I do not have the advantage of council, as was pointed out to me by a senior councillor, that it has access to the coffers of the ratepayers and they will stop at nothing to ensure that I never worked again if I refused to accept an offer that was nowhere near what I finally decided to call it quits on [accept].
Setting the record straight
“I have instructed my attorneys to act accordingly and the letter was sent to the municipality’s attorneys. After being told that the councils attorneys were airborne and affording them further time, no further response has been received.
“The press release has now been widely disseminated and I am therefore furnishing this statement in an attempt to set the record straight pending my application to both High Court and Labour Court. It is in my opinion high time that politicians be held accountable for their actions. That they may not act with total disregard of the law and the precept of audi alteram partem. They have just, with complete disregard for due process imputed that I am guilty when the process was terminated and no finding was made with their consent.”
Easton concluded by saying: “The statement is clearly an ill-advised attempt by the politicians to justify their actions and I cannot afford to remain silent whilst my reputation is trashed unjustifiably.”