Parliament, Wednesday, 24 May 2017 – The Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings has strongly condemned the threats and intimidation allegedly directed against a petitioner, Mr Mike Hampton, by the Knysna municipality.
“We cannot allow petitioners who petition Parliament to be threatened and intimidated for exercising their constitutional rights. As the Petitions Committee, we will investigate these allegations and make the necessary recommendations,” said Committee Chairperson Mr Moses Mhlanga.
Mr Mhlanga said state institutions and spheres of government must respect that citizens have a right to petition Parliament. They should desist from abusing state resources and political party positions to infringe on this right.
The Committee made these statements during today’s continuation hearing of the Love Knysna petition, which was submitted by Mr Hampton in 2015. Mr Hampton alleges that he has suffered numerous threats and intimidation from Knysna municipality after he lodged a petition wherein he requested Parliament to investigate allegations of maladministration and corruption by the municipality.
He claims that he has suffered personal attacks and threats from councillors and senior municipal officials since his appearance before the Petitions Committee.
Mr Hampton’s initial petition was first heard in February 2016 and alleges that the municipality is illegally funding Knysna Tourism, a section 21 company, with taxpayers’ monies. The petition also says the municipality illegally awarded the municipality’s Integrated Strategic Development Framework (ISDF) tender to Knysna Creative Heads, a consortium that did not score the highest points during the tender process and is headed by a local property developer who has other conflicting interests. It further says that the municipality illegally appointed Mr Grant Easton as Municipal Manager and alleges that Mr Easton then committed a number of irregularities following his appointment and during his previous appointment as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the same mmunicipality.
The relief sought by Mr Hampton includes, among other things, placing the Knysna municipality under administration, a forensic investigation into his complaints, and investigation of the KPMG-run Eden Hotline.
Today’s meeting was attended by the petitioners and Western Cape representatives from the Office of the Public Protector. The Knysna municipality tendered an apology and did not attend the meeting. The Committee and the petitioner raised concerns about the municipality’s absence, saying that while they welcome the apology, they believe the municipality should have prioritised the meeting.
The Committee will meet in the coming weeks to finalise the report so it can tabled for debate in the National Council of Provinces.
ISSUED BY PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE SELECT COMIITTEE ON PETITIONS AND EXECUTIVE UNDERTAKINGS, MR MOSES MHLANGA
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