Cooperation sought to resolve Knysna problems

Henry

Alan Winde, Premier of the Western Cape, has been informed that the Knysna municipality will meet on Friday to discuss serious service delivery problems.

“This is an important step in the recovery of the municipality and to tackle the problems,” says Winde. “The municipality must accept responsibility for solving the problems. We will support them, but the onus rests with them. This is going to be a long process and must be done within legislation.”

RNews reported earlier that Knysna residents can no longer rely on basic service delivery. “Their daily challenges border on human rights violations with irregular water supply, sewage spills and garbage accumulating in the streets.”

Winde says that if the municipality does not consider the recent diagnostic assessment by the department of local government or accept the support plan designed by the provincial government, his government will consider intervention under section 139 of the Constitution.

“We hope that the municipality will cooperate with us. I am particularly concerned about the possible disaster that is developing around the safety of drinking water, sewage and waste management.”

Anton Bredell, Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, approached the National Minister of Cooperative Government, Thembi Nkadimeng, to ensure cooperation between the three spheres of government to tackle the challenges in Knysna.

Bredell said he was informed on Tuesday of a planned visit by a delegation from the national government to Knysna and was concerned that parallel processes could be detrimental to a long-term solution.

According to Bredell, the diagnostic assessment and the section 154 support plan have already been developed and discussed with the national department of cooperative government, as well as officials from the municipality.

“All we need is for the city council to accept the plan and approve the documents so that a comprehensive support plan can be introduced,” added Bredell.

Winde says that in order to “solve this mess effectively”, everyone must be on the same page – in the interest of the residents of the municipality.

“I understand that the national government intends to provide direct support to the municipality to address the issues as well as the executive obligation defaults of the municipality. Assistance of any kind is greatly appreciated and welcomed, but I must insist that this assistance can be added to the existing support plan instead. In this way, we prevent duplication and avoid confusion in terms of priorities to improve service delivery and management of the municipality,” said Bredell.

Winde emphasizes his concern about the dire state of the town. “The situation has worsened and cooperation is now needed to fix Knysna. Knysna residents, just like all residents of the Western Cape, deserve the best possible service.”

DA demands Knysna leadership’s resignation

Dion George, DA Chief Electoral Officer in Knysna, and local councilors will march to the municipal office on Thursday to demand the immediate resignation of the ANC/EFF/PA/PBI coalition councillors.

“Knysna residents are no longer guaranteed basic service delivery,” says George.

The march starts at 09:00 at 15 Springstraat.