And so the DA appointed Mayor issues another newsletter. JEF finds it very interesting and ironic that the DA, who challenges many decisions in Court across South Africa, and who fights diligently for the rule of law, can show such a lack of respect for the Courts as Mr. Booysen does in the letter below.
We wish to point out the contempt with which Mr. Booysen speaks of the judgment in which it was in fact found that the UNETHICAL behavior that the DA (and Mr. Booysen in the newsletter) complain of was perpetrated by Mr. Johan Brummer, and thus by extension, by the DA and most certainly NOT by the ANC! For this very reason the court ordered the applicants to pay the costs. It is also worthy to note that contrary to Mr. Booysen’s previous newsletters, he does not claim to be a layman when it comes to issues of the law and actually makes some rather “expert” allegations.
Mr. Booysen now tries to convince us that the decision not to appeal against the judgment was because they wanted to try another avenue. We suspect that the true reason for not appealing was that their legal advice stated that there would be NO chance of succeeding with such an appeal. We challenge Mr. Booysen to publish the legal opinion the Municipality obtained on this point and also to publicly state whether the DA’s official stance is (and we quote) that “the courts failed to support law and order” .
JEF is commenting on each section of the newsletter below in blue.
9 December 2011
Municipal Manager’s Disciplinary Hearing
The judgment had previously been expected on 1 December, but due to Judge Combrinck’s calling in an additional witness, the decision is now expected by 16 December, with sentencing in January.
It is shockingly arrogant to assume that the Judge’s finding will be one of guilt! How can sentencing be scheduled for January even before the MM has been found guilty? Mr. Booysen, could you please explain yourself?
Laugh or Cry
We met with Dimension Data on 9 November for a report back on our IT systems, and thank goodness we addressed the systems side of our municipality as soon as we did. Bitou had been experiencing major challenges with our ICT infrastructure and applications over the past several years. Dimension Data offered to do an objective evaluation and to suggest recommendations based on industry best practice.
They showed us photos of our WAN equipment nailed to poles in second hand tool boxes with no security and open to the elements, and batteries at a repeater site stored in a discarded fridge leaning against a pole. It is no wonder our systems are down more than they are operational.
The network vulnerability assessment scored our municipality as High Risk, with no effective firewalls, outdated antivirus systems, vulnerability to hacking, sub-standard email security, sub-standard equipment and infrastructure, and poor installation standards.
A lack of software and equipment policies is also a problem, and ineffective building security, as evidenced by three break-ins in the last few weeks, are just some of the horrors that emerged. I could go on but no point ruining your day as well as mine.
We have cancelled Lefatshe’s contract effective 31 December and are urgently putting together a short term rescue plan for systems and equipment with Dimension Data to get us through the next six months. We are also working on a longer term solution.
Once again my special thanks to Jeremy Ord for coming to our rescue and to the highly professional Di-Data team who have gone more than the proverbial extra mile to help us.
We know too little to dispute or verify any of these “horrors” but the following is undeniable:
1. The reason for cancellation stated in the letter of cancellation from Bitou addressed to Lefatshe is that Bitou is apparently not able to afford the service.
2. Booysen told the media that Lefatshe is being investigated by the SUI and the Hawks. Both institutions deny this.
3. This is now the third version of reasons for ousting Lefatshe.
4. Legal action is envisaged against Bitou for unlawful breach of contract.
5. Booysen conveniently forgets to mention the small matter of the R3M plus price tag attached to the rescue mission by Di-Data. Where does the money come from all of a sudden?
6. There are plenty of local IT companies that are perfectly capable of rendering the exact same service for a fraction of the price, but unfortunately the competitive bidding system was once again simply ignored by Bitou.
Huysoord Farm in Green Valley
While I am on the subject of poor management and disrepair, let me update you on Huysoord Farm outside Green Valley. This 196 hectare farm was purchased in 2009 for R9,2 million, with grant funding supplied by the national Department of Rural Development and Land Reform at the request of Bitou municipality. Another R2,3 million “Infrastructure development grant” was, obtained as well.
The apparent intention was to relocate stray farm animals from the township and off the N2 and to develop an agricultural project there. The Acting Municipal Manager and I recently conducted an inspection and I was horrified at what we found.
The cattle that are there are thin and poorly cared for. All that remains of the beautiful old farm house on the property is a bare shell stripped of everything of value. Even the underground electrical cables supplying the outbuildings including what was once an abattoir have been laboriously dug up. All this apparently without the responsible persons noticing or reporting what was going on. It is a shameful mess and is now worth a fraction of its original price.
We embarked on a project for which the municipality had neither the expertise nor the capacity. Nor is agriculture a function of municipalities.
We are taking steps to salvage what can be salvaged and to ensure that the project can remain alive. We are currently working with the Western Cape Department of Agriculture for them to take over the property and the project before it deteriorates even further. In my opinion, the farm purchase was one of the biggest mishaps in this town and has resulted in the destruction of millions of rands in value.
This certainly does seem like a sad state of affairs. However, nobody can deny that the goal of the project is good. We are excited to see that Mr. Booysen refers to “we” since it appears he tends to forget that he, Johan Brummer, Mr. Dreyer and Paulse were part of the Bitou Council. Not one of them is on record for raising their concerns at the relevant time and in the correct forum. JEF would have wanted to see them visiting the property and giving their “expert” opinions. What have they been doing in council the last number of years except to receive salaries, lying to the media and misleading the public?
R28 m Land Fiasco
Speaking of disasters, the Wavelengths vs Bitou matter relating to the purchase by the Bitou Municipality of land at an unrealistically inflated price was supposed to go to court on 1 December. Wavelengths had however not filed its heads of argument on time meaning that we could not file replying papers. They nonetheless insisted on going ahead on due date. Inevitably of course the matter had to be postponed and will now be heard on 28 February 2012.
As time passes it becomes more and more evident that the deal was not kosher. Criminal charges are currently being investigated in parallel with the disciplinary charges already running. Ironically the deal was driven by the lawyer who now represents the Municipal Manager in the disciplinary hearing and who himself now faces disciplinary charges by the Cape Law Society for the role he played in the matter.
IT IS ASTONISHING HOW BOOYSEN SIMPLY IGNORES THE SUB JUDICE RULE (YOU MAY NOT COMMENT ON THE MERITS OF A CASE THAT IS PENDING IN COURT) AND THEN HE GOES EVEN FURTHER AND ARROGANTLY DEFAMES WHO EVER HE WANTS TO. THE DEFAMATION CLAIMS ARE MOUNTING AGAINST HIM AND THE MUNICIPALITY WHICH HE REPRESENTS EVERY TIME HE PUTS HIS PEN TO PAPER OR OPENS HIS MOUTH PUBLICLY. PERHAPS HE MISUNDERSTOOD THE JUDGMENT PASSED BY DEPUTY JUDGE PRESIDENT TRAVERSO TO MEAN THAT A MUNICIPALITY MAY NOT BE SUED FOR DEFAMATION INSTEAD OF NOT BEING ABLE TO SUE FOR DEFAMATION.
IT IS NO SECRET THAT THE ATTORNEY REFERRED TO HEREIN, AS EVERYONE KNOWS, IS HARDY MILLS. FOR THE RECORD – NO DISCIPLINARY STEPS HAVE YET BEEN INSTITUTED AGAINST HIM. A COMPLAINT, UNRELATED TO THE WAVELENGTHS MATTER, WAS SUBMITTED TO THE LAW SOCIETY FOR RESPONSE AND THEY SPECIFICALLY STATED THAT THEY HAVE NOT TAKEN A VIEW ON THE MATTER. THE COMPLAINT LODGED BY BOOYSEN RELATES TO ALLEGED SARCASTIC AND ABUSIVE CORRESPONDENCE AND THE ALLEGED PUBLICATION OF “PRIVILEGED” INFORMATION. IT IS NO WONDER THAT BOOYSEN DOES NOT HAVE A CLUE OF THE NATURE OF HIS COMPLAINT SINCE IT WAS DRAFTED BY MS FIONA STEWART, A LEGAL ADVISOR IN THE PREMIER’S OFFICE AND HE MERELY SIGNED THE DOCUMENT.
R30m Loan Facility
Despite the fact that for the first time in many months our monthly income exceeded our expenditure for the month of October, council was forced to resolve to take up a R30m loan facility. Unfortunately this money is not for service delivery but goes towards filling in the many holes in our finances we inherited. The interest rate on funds taken up under this facility is 11.23% pa.
This is a blatant lie – this loan was taken up for one reason and one reason alone: paying Wavelengths should they succeed with their claim against Bitou. Just listen to Booysen’s own evidence (fortunately on record) and all the other evidence led in the suspended municipal manager’s disciplinary meeting which confirms this. Then listen to Brian Molefe’s evidence to find out how stupidly this was done and how much money was wasted by the so-called turn around experts.
Change of Speakers
Cllr Brummer has stepped down as Speaker in an effort to protect the position of speaker from the continuous and unethical attacks launched on it by the ANC councilors. Under the circumstances where deliberate and calculated disorder prevented the council from doing its work and the courts failed to support law and order it was decided that instead of appealing the patently wrong judgment it would be more prudent to try this avenue.
At our last council meeting of the year Cllr Dreyer was elected as new Speaker and was able to conduct a successful meeting.
JB will now serve on my Mayco and will be freed up to concentrate his energies and skills on monitoring and investigating breakdowns in good governance and employee matters.
PLEASE READ THE JUDGMENT AND JUDGE FOR YOURSELF. JEF UNDERSTANDS THAT A COMPLAINT OF CONTEMPT OF COURT WILL BE INSTITUTED AGAINST BOOYSEN FOR THIS BLATANT ATTACK ON THE LEGAL BENCH. THIS WHOLE PARAGRAPH IS UNTRUE AND SCANDALOUS TO SAY THE LEAST. THERE COULD BE SEVERE CONSEQUENCES FOR BOOYSEN
Auditor General’s Report
The A-G has completed its audit of our books and has presented its findings to the audit committee. The cost of this audit to the municipality was R1.8m. The report will be presented to council in the new year.
New HOD Strategic Services and Town Planning
After the incumbent, Ralph Links, left due to health reasons, we advertised the position and having received no less than 14 applications, conducted interviews for this position. The position has been offered to Mr Dupre Lombard who is currently with Stellenbosch Municipality and he will commence duties on 1 January 2012.
Blatant lie – can the honorable mayor please explain how the municipality can institute disciplinary action against an employee, and then settle for 5 months salary and then the same employee leaves due to health reasons?
Can the municipality also make the score sheets of all 14 applicants (if there are any) available to the public? Everyone knows Dupre is Duppie and Thys’s friend from Stellenbosch. Please guys, are you for real, do you honestly think everyone that reads these letters are fumbling idiots and not able to think for themselves?
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the municipal officials who have supported us during this trying time of transition for their efforts and loyalty to the municipality. I know you have been subjected to disinformation regarding your job security, so-called witch-hunting and much baseless scare mongering from those who wish to see Bitou Municipality fail. I assure you that your rights will be respected and proper procedure will be followed. Those few rotten apples, however, who seek to harm the municipality and prevent efficient service delivery must not expect the free ride to continue.
More blatant lies – up until date hereof not one DA controlled municipality or the MEC of local government could provide any checks and balances that are in place to prove that they are ridding the municipalities of incompetent, or “rotten apples” as Booysen refers to the employees. In fact, the exact opposite is true; they unfairly rid the municipalities of everyone who just as much as walks too closely past an ANC poster. They are paranoid and don’t have any respect for the people’s constitutional right of association, just to mention one basic human right which they violate on a weekly basis.
Finally, I wish to welcome all our holiday makers and thank you, the residents, property owners, visitors, business people and all those who do not fall into any one of the above categories but still make up the Plett we love, a very happy Plettiday with fine weather and a prosperous and peaceful 2012.
God bless you all,
Jeff heard there is a special place in hell for people who lie and deceive others in His name. Booysen, why don’t you explain to the people in your next letter how you came by those scars on your head?
Please take note that the Good Book places an obligation on all of us not to be deceived.
As they say on one popular television channel; the one thing about the truth is that it will always be there, all you need to do is look for it!!
Please also see our article about PERCEPTION MANAGEMENT elsewhere on this site.