ActionSA Urges MEC Bredell to Dissolve Knysna Council

ActionSA has written to MEC Anton Bredell, Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, urging him to dissolve the Knysna Municipal Council and appoint an administrator.

The recent reports on Knysna Municipality’s financial and non-financial performance are extremely concerning.   In the Quarter Four Report, tabled to Council on 31 July 2023, the Executive Mayor reported that “As at 30 June 2023 the commitments still exceed the cash and cash equivalents. The cashflow position remains a critical concern.”  A warning in the report regarding the current ratios stated that “urgent and immediate intervention is required to ensure that a realistic and achievable financial turnaround strategy is developed and implemented with immediate effect.”

This is despite a turnaround strategy already having been adopted by the Knysna Council in May 2023.  A “Recovery Plan” was adopted by the Knysna Council in May after Provincial Treasury found that the Roll-over Adjusted Budget adopted by the Knysna Council in August 2022 was not credibly funded.

ActionSA pointed out to Minister Bredell that, in addition to Knysna Municipality’s financial crisis, the Knysna Council has repeatedly made unlawful appointments including the unlawful appointments of eight political support staff and the appointments of the previous Acting Director of Corporate Services, Mr Loliwe, and the Acting CFO, Ms Sotshede which were found by the High Court to be unlawful, ultra vires and null and void.

ActionSA’s letters to the Knysna Municipal Manager requesting that steps be taken to recover the irregular expenditure incurred in the payment of the top scale of salaries to Mr Loliwe and Ms Sotshede remain unanswered.

Service delivery in Knysna is at an all-time low with infrastructure not being maintained, large parts of Knysna being left without water for days, delays in waste removal and an ongoing rat infestation in the CBD.

Section 139(5) of the Constitution requires that, under these circumstances, Minister Bredell dissolve the Municipal Council and appoint an administrator.  ActionSA urges Minister Bredell to urgently implement the administration process, as this is the only way to stop the financial and service delivery free-fall that Knysna Municipality is currently in.