“That the MEC of finance, also the Western Cape DA leader and the Oudtshoorn DA constituency head, can ventilate rumours in the media without engaging the municipality, is, frankly, unspeakable.”
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Drewan Baird. Oudtshoorn. 1 August 2014. 06h25. It is remarkable. What people will accept as absolute truth if they’re so inclined.
The current kerfuffle about the Cango Caves management is a case in point. I can only hope that someday the Wittgenstein story will start to have some impact.
Here is the Mayor’s response to the frenzy:
OUDTSHOORN – Extraordinary media reports quoting outrageous statements from Western Cape politicians and local business leaders on the management of the Cango Caves compel me to set the record straight.
The Oudtshoorn Municipality owns the Cango Caves and has a Constitutional obligation to manage the Cango Caves.
The 2014/15 Oudtshoorn Budget provides for the upgrading of Cango Caves amenities in the amount of R16m. The bookkeeping fulfilling this budgetary obligation was recently completed in the ordinary course of fiscal and service delivery account management.
Subsequent newspaper banners like “Geldskok” therefore raises eye brows.
The improvements to the Cango Caves, including the additional upgrading of the electricity infrastructure of some R4m, and the additional introduction of LED (light-emitting diode) lights spur tourism and support local business.
Speleological maintenance addresses poor ventilation, algae growth, and high levels of carbon dioxide, in order to conserve the caves and improve visitor comfort for an optimal tourism experience.
The municipality recently noted the recommendations of the Auditor-General to completely integrate the management of the municipality and the Cango Caves, in order to curb expense currently approaching R1m per annum.
Already the customary management stipend payable to the municipal manager for running the Cango Caves is not claimed by the incumbent.
The report which the Western Cape MEC of finance claims in the media to have received only days ago, had already been perused by the municipality’s financial management team and the minor comments addressed in consultation with the Auditor-General.
The MEC of finance is also advised that there is no such thing as a “Cango Caves Trust Account”. The MEC is invited to engage the CFO for guidance.
I take heart from the comment, also in the media, by the Western Cape MEC of local government that he “believes any obscurity about the money matters and management of the Cango Caves can be ironed out with the Oudtshoorn Municipality”.
However, the numerous references, by the MEC of finance to rumours of uninterrupted maladministration and corruption (“deurlopende wanpraktyke en korrupsie”); and by several local business leaders, and by various local DA councillors to rumours of mismanagement, speak to astonishing public whimsey. Words like “gerugte” and “bewerings” permeate media reports in a display of vindictive partisanship.
That the MEC of finance, also the Western Cape DA leader and the Oudtshoorn DA constituency head, can ventilate rumours in the media without engaging the municipality, is, frankly, unspeakable. This mortifying behaviour will be taken up with Dr Meyer’s political leadership and with relevant national ministers.
The peculiar animosity between Oudtshoorn business and the Western Cape Government, and the whinging of service providers reflected on the front page of Die Burger of 30 July can surely not benefit Oudtshoorn, the Cango Caves, or tourism. I can but hope that these parties will make every effort to keep their embarrassing differences out of the media and deal with it in terms of the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act to demonstrate the Constitutional requirement of good and cooperative governance, in order not to further the damage they are doing to the image of the Cango Caves so steadfastly improved by the municipality.
There is a statement reported that jars, jolts, and jounces: The Chair of Oudtshoorn Tourism, also the Chair of the Oudtshoorn Business Chamber, Mr Niel Els, told Die Burger that the complaints of Oudtshoorn business were met by statements from politicians that “the politics in Oudtshoorn must first change before intervention can happen”.
This is a bedazing statement, and if true, clearly indicates that the DA Western Cape Government will only ever guide Oudtshoorn when the DA governs Oudtshoorn. This attitude represents a clear and present danger to the Oudtshoorn administration and formal protection from this bigotry will be sought.