ARREST MADE FOR SENSELESS MURDER

Family and friends of Thomas Mollo were both devastated and mystified by his tragic murder on Sunday 10 November.
According to his wife, Stella, the forty-two-year-old father had just gone to a Spaza shop 300m from his home in Smutsville, to buy cooldrinks, mobile data and cigarettes. A short while later he staggered back, covered in blood, and collapsed into her arms. He had been stabbed in his right side, resulting in a punctured lung. Emergency services were called, but before he could be helped, Thomas succumbed to his injuries.

SAPS Captain Kitching said that evidence and assistance from the public had led to the arrest of Thulani Songwaxa (23) the following morning.

According to witnesses on the scene Thomas had had a very minor altercation with someone in the shop – though this hadn’t been the suspect. It was something as small as treading on a toe, then apologising. Nothing one would think to be of any significance.

But as he stepped outside to head for home, Thomas met Songwaxa, who allegedly attacked him without warning.

Songwaxa appeared in court on Tuesday 12 November where the case was postponed for further investigation. He remains in custody.
Our heartfelt condolences go to Stella Mollo and their two teenage children.

A NEW YEAR SCORE FOR MASITHANDANE

Masithandane has managed to secure the multi-platinum, award-winning band WATERSHED for Sedgefield on New Year’s Eve!

This as a fundraiser for the NPO.

Watershed, one of the most successful and well-loved bands ever to come out of South Africa, will be celebrating 20 years in 2020.

The multi-platinum selling band has released six studio albums during their 20 year career, along with a ‘Greatest Hits’ album. They have received two SAMA awards for Best Pop Album and a SAMA nomination for Best Adult Contemporary Album in 2019. They are also multiple winners of SA’s Best Band award by People Magazine.

Watershed’s enduring popularity began with songs such as Indigo Girl, Fine Way and Letters; but these are likely to be surpassed by their newest release. Written from the light and safe space of life in Kalk Bay, Watershed’s latest album is called Harbour. In it singer/writer Craig has captured stories that we all live with daily.
“It’s a beautiful life here. It’s really important to move on from the negativity we are faced with every day,” he says.

The band will feature Craig Hinds on vocals, keyboards, and guitar, Howie Combrink on drums and guitar, Gideon Botes on electric guitar and Quintin Askes on bass. The evening will include up-tempo songs with the sounds of mandolins, banjos, violins and ukuleles, with lyrics inspired by the ocean and mountain vistas of the False Bay coast.

Watershed may be well-loved locally and faithfully supported at music events and gigs, but they have met equal success overseas. They have toured Europe, performing alongside some of the biggest names in the music world, including U2, Peter Gabriel, Bob Geldof, The Corrs and The Cranberries.

Music-lovers who are keen to experience the incredible energy and signature sound that is Watershed on 31 December 2019 should book soon to avoid disappointment. They will be performing in the Octopus Garden Under the Sea from 21:00 to 23:00 to celebrate the year that was! Then DJs Gary and Laki of Mobi Dique will rock you into 2020 with music from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s!

For booking details please go to www.quicket.co.za

MAYOR’S CASE HEARD IN COURT AND DA COUNCILLOR POFADDER RESIGNS

Picture – Ward 11 Councillor Pofadder of the Democratic Alliance.

The roller-coaster ride of Knysna’s political scene took another loop yesterday (Tuesday 15 October) when the Democratic Alliance’s Ward 11 Councillor, Donovan Pofadder, tendered his resignation with immediate effect.
Worse yet for Knysna’s ruling party, was the content of his resignation letter, which was hand-delivered to the Municipal Manager’s office. In it he quite pointedly laid blame on the DA for his decision to resign, and especially mentioned his disapproval of the manner in which the party is treating Mayor Mark Willemse.
“I feel strongly that we as a party lost focus on what is important, while infighting within our ranks was taking priority.” he stated, “Positions of power became more important than the people we had promised to serve.”
“I wish Mark well in his battle and apologise for not being able to give him the support he deserves or continue building a better Knysna under his leadership.”
Whilst news of this resignation was buzzing about the Municipal hallways, and indeed social media, the current Mayor (or ex-Mayor, – it is difficult to keep up) Mark Willemse was in constant communication with his lawyers who were fighting his case in the High Court in Cape Town.
This in an urgent application for three interdicts:- The first to prevent the DA from withdrawing his party membership using the ‘De Lille Clause’, the second, to prevent the IEC (Independent Electoral Commission) from going ahead with a bi-election for his ward (Ward 9), and the third, to prevent the Knysna Municipality from declaring a vacancy in that ward.
An interim order had been issued on the previous Friday by High Court Judge Erasmus so that all three of these matters could be put on hold pending the outcome of today’s court proceedings.
It is expected that once the evidence presented by the legal teams during the course of Tuesday has been taken into consideration, judgement will be made before the end of this week.
Meanwhile, Councillor Pofadder’s resignation may put Knysna’s Democratic Alliance in a precarious position. Should the party’s hierarchy succeed in ousting Willemse, the ANC and the DA will be on equal footing with eight council seats each. The current Deputy Mayor Aubrey Tshengwa and Council Speaker Titi Gombo are both ANC members, so there will no doubt be some very interesting political jousting in the chambers to see who rules the council and who is opposition.

MAYOR WON’T LEAVE DA

On Monday 30 September DA Mayor Mark Willemse received official notice that his membership of the Democratic Alliance had been terminated.
This is the result of a long-term spat between Willemse and the upper echelons of the party, after he and fellow councillor Peter Myers ‘voted their consciences’ in a vote of no confidence against former DA Mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies last year. Thereafter he was elected unopposed as Knysna’s Executive Mayor.
The news of this latest move against him by the DA came in a letter from the party’s Federal Executive. In effect, not having party membership would mean that Willemse would no longer be Mayor, his council seat would be vacant, and a ward election would follow in due course.
The normal procedure would be for the Fedex to give notice of this decision to the Municipal Manager (MM), and he would, in turn, contact the IEC to begin the ward election process. Whilst confirming that he had indeed been informed, MM Dr Vatala has said that in terms of the Municipal Structures Act, he has 14 days to consult with the IEC and to call and set a date for a by-election.
Meanwhile, Mayor Willemse is determined that he will not be kicked out of the DA.
“I believe this termination is unconstitutional, and, as a matter of principle, I will fight this process,” he calmly told us.
And true to his word, Willemse has instructed his lawyers to challenge the matter in court and initiate an interdict to halt the election process. The MM has already been informed of this intention. Watch this space!

TIME TO TACKLE CRIME

With a sudden spate of armed robberies happening in Knysna, Sedgefield, and Wilderness, it is suspected that an out-of-town ‘crime syndicate’ is working in the area. Residents are being warned to be extra-vigilant, and report any out of the ordinary sightings of vehicles in and around local suburbs.
On Monday 30 September an elderly Sedgefield man was accosted in his own home just after midnight, after perpetrators bent palisade fencing to access the security complex where he lives. It was fortunate that his wife was away at the time.
The victim (name withheld), whose home is in the Aviemore gated village on the Northern side of the national highway, had reportedly just finished showering when he came face to face with three men in his home. They had come through his unlocked back door.
He described them as all of small build and wearing balaclavas. At least one was armed with a gun and another was brandishing a dangerous-looking metal object.
After they threatened that there would be big trouble should he choose not to cooperate, he allowed them to tie him up and lock him in his bedroom. Then they began ransacking his house.
Up until that time he had not been hurt, so the man did everything he could to free himself, hoping to get away before they came back into the room. Eventually, he managed, to climb out through a small window and rush to a neighbour’s home.
After calling the police, the man and his neighbour went back to his house and, once they had made doubly sure the perpetrators were no longer around, they went inside.
The victim discovered that the perpetrators had stolen his phone, his wife’s jewelry and a lot of clothing. They had attempted to remove his television from the wall bracket, but failed to do so.
When the police arrived – reportedly hours later – their investigation led them to a place where the perpetrators had entered by bending the metal palisade fence on the railway side of the property, some way away from the homes.
Wilderness has also been hit by a spate of crime over the weekend. According to one security group there were four properties hit in one night, these included Langvlei Dunes, Kingfisher Close, Constantia kloof and North Street.
Whilst we await confirmation from SAPS it has been reported that in the Langvlei Dune incident the homeowner was attacked and ended up in hospital with serious injuries, including a very badly damaged eye.
In the North Street robbery five armed men reportedly entered a B&B and, after waking up the guests, tied them up with electric cords before making off with their belongings.
Fortunately, the guests were not harmed, but will no doubt have been traumatised by this experience in the usually low-crime Garden Route area.
Michael Simon of Sedgefield’s Community Orientated Policing (COP) says that three similar robberies had happened in Knysna over the last few weeks, and he had feared that Sedgefield and Wilderness might be hit. He believes that now more than ever is the time to be pro-active.
“We just have to stop thinking that it will never happen to us. We have to be more vigilant and report anything out of the ordinary to the various neighbourhood watches and security groups – especially if we see foreign cars ‘cruising’ our streets,” he said. “Keep doors locked, even if you are in the house and awake, even during the day. Just take any extra precaution that will make you less vulnerable.”

76-YR-OLD MAN MURDERED, TWO SUSPECTS ARRESTED

A resident of Paul Kruger Street in Sedgefield’s normally quiet Island suburb was found murdered on Monday night. SAPS have since identified the victim as Peter Henson. His body was discovered by a member of Community Orientated Policing (COP).

The COP member had been returning home from another call-out when he saw Henson’s dog running around on the streets. Having previously been to Henson’s house, he recognised the animal so picked it up to return it to its owner. He was concerned as Henson was known by various security organisations as being ‘high risk’ due to his ‘open door’ policy when it came to giving visitors access to his home, day and night.

On entering the property at approximately 22H00 the COP member found the house open with no sign of forced entry. The body of the victim was lying on the floor. The 76-year-old man’s hands had been tied behind his back and a gag cloth in his mouth was held in place with the same rope.
SAPS were alerted as well as other members of COP and the local neighbourhood watch. According to SAPS, preliminary investigations revealed that the perpetrators had fled with a number of Henson’s personal belongings, which included a DSTV decoder, a knife and his personal diary.

Further investigation yielded positive results when two suspects were arrested within hours of the crime being committed.

Information received led SAPS detectives to a residence in Smutsville, where they recovered the stolen items and subsequently arrested two men in their late-twenties.

The suspects are scheduled to appear in the Knysna Magistrates’ court later this week, facing charges of both murder and theft. An autopsy will be performed on the body of the deceased to determine the cause of death.

WHAT’S GOING ON?

Political confusion continues to reign (or should that be ‘rain’?) over Knysna Municipality, with fingers pointing in all directions, accusations made left, right and centre, and all of this within one party. In this edition we cover two of the most recent instances in which it seems that Knysna’s ruling party – the Democratic Alliance – is turning on itself.

Yesterday, a complaint of ‘breach of conduct’ was launched against the Knysna caucus of the Democratic Alliance by the Knysna Ratepayers Association.
It seems that the story started on 29 August when, at a council meeting it was recommended to Council that Mr. Lindile Petuna, who started his employ at Knysna Municipality on 1 August 2019 as the Manager, Integrated Human Settlements, be appointed as an internal member of the Knysna Municipal Planning Tribunal (“KMPT”). With no concerns raised at the time, he was duly appointed by a unanimous vote.
However, the following day, Dr Dion George MP, who is the DA Constituency Head for Knysna, issued the following press statement.
“The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Knysna is concerned to learn of the appointment of Lindile Petuna as the Human Settlements Manager for the Knysna Municipality.
Petuna, who also features prominently in Crispian Olver’s book, How to Steal a City, has been accused of misleading or attempting to mislead the Nelson Mandela Bay Council on 133 separate occasions after which he resigned at his disciplinary hearing.
We are calling on Mayor Mark Willemse and his ANC counterparts, to urgently review this appointment in light of this deeply concerning information.
Given Mr Petuna’s track record, the DA does not believe that he will execute his official duties in the best interest of the people of Knysna.
Providing residents with the dignity of a home, cannot be degraded by officials who are facing charges of misconduct and corruption.
We will monitor the situation carefully and continue to put pressure on the Mayor and his executive, to put the interests of Knysna ahead of dodgy appointments.
The DA will fight to hold this municipality accountable to the people.”

DA Mayor Mark Willemse was one of the first to respond to Dr George’s public accusation.

“As the Executive Mayor of the Knysna Municipality, I am not responsible or involved in any staff appointments to the administration. Mr Petuna is a Manager who is appointed through the normal Human Resources procedures.
The role of councillors is merely one of oversight to ensure all the correct processes are adhered to. Mr Petuna’s appointment to the Knysna Municipal Planning Tribunal on 29 August 2019 was a unanimous Council decision without any concerns raised at the time.
If Dr George or anyone else has information relevant to the person so appointed, they should have alerted Council to the information before the Council decision was made. I urge them to report the information to the Office of the Municipal Manager, Dr Vatala, as soon as possible. Dr Vatala is the final authority on the appointment of staff to the administration. Council only has the authority to appoint Municipal Managers and Directors as per legislation.”

Meanwhile the Knysna Ratepayers Association, presumably believing that at least some members of the DA Caucus had been aware of their constituent head’s misgivings about Petuna, composed a complaint which they presented to the Council Speaker.
Referring to Dr George’s press release, their complaint stated in part:
“The allegations (in the release) against Mr Petuna are of a very serious nature and we are mindful of the fact that Mr Petuna has not been found guilty (he allegedly resigned before the disciplinary hearing had been completed). However, if the allegations, which include alleged unlawful planning decisions, are proven to be accurate, it would certainly result in Mr Petuna being considered unfit to serve on the KMPT. 
The KMPT is a quasi-judicial body and its members must be of unquestionable integrity.
Considering the request in the press release from the DA that the appointment should be urgently reviewed, we would have expected the DA Caucus to be strongly opposed to the appointment of the manager in question to the Knysna Municipal Planning Tribunal .”
The complaint to the Speaker asks that each and every member of the DA Caucus explain how he or she could support this appointment to the tribunal.
“We call on you to initiate an investigation in terms of section 14(1) of the Code of Conduct into each and every member of the DA Caucus to determine whether they have breached the said Code,” it reads.

Then, on the afternoon of Tuesday 3 September, the Knysna Municipality released the following press release:-
NEW HOUSING OFFICIAL APPOINTMENT IN LINE WITH PROPER PROCEDURE.
According to Knysna Municipal Manager Dr Sitembele Vatala, Lindile Petuna is the most suitable candidate for the position of Manager: Human Settlements. “A qualified and registered town planner, Mr Petuna performed exceptionally well during the Municipality’s vigorous recruitment and selection process which included a written assessment, interview session and screening.”
Dr Vatala’s validation of this appointment follows a recent press statement issued by Mr Dion George of the Democratic Alliance on this subject. “The Executive Mayor and councillors are only involved in the appointment of the Municipal Manager. The appointment of other staff members is the responsibility of the Municipal Manager, who is the Municipality’s Accounting Officer. This is stipulated in Section 66 of the Municipal Systems Act, Number 32 of 2000,” explained Vatala.
“A seasoned politician like Mr George should be aware of this. If he harboured reservations about any new appointment, he should have written to me in my capacity as Accounting Officer. I find it regrettable that he chose to bring the Municipality into disrepute through a politically motivated press statement,” Vatala said.
“The DA unanimously supported the appointment of Mr Petuna to the Knysna Municipal Planning Tribunal (KMPT) at the Council Meeting of 29 August 2019, one day before Mr George’s statement was issued. Were the allegations made by Mr George merited, the DA Councillors should have brought these to the attention of the full Council and KMPT.”
“The Municipality stands by its decision to appoint Mr Petuna, based on his proven experience, capability and track record,” Vatala concluded.

OVER R100 000 FOR LOCAL CHARITY

It has been said before that the run of Sedgefield’s Melodrama is a ‘win-win-win’ situation, but it is surely worth saying again!

Why? Because not only do local audiences get an evening of side-splitting entertainment, watching all the often-familiar faces of locals making outlandish fools of themselves (and more) on stage, but Sedgefield charities get a HUGE donation to bolster their coffers, AND the cast and crew have two months of fun and frivolity with friends old and new.

This year’s five performances have once again brought Sedgefield’s well-known generosity to the fore, with R68 000 worth of tickets sold (extra tables had to be added in on the last two nights) and R43 000 raised in the post-show ‘American auctions’. The 36-strong team may now surely relax, put their feet up, take a well-earned rest …. and start thinking about acts for next year’s show!

“Thanks to everyone for the fantastic support of the 2019 Melodrama!” says Producer Margie van Rensburg.

SA WOMEN FIGHT BACK

SA Women Fight Back‘s 1 hour of silence for all South Africa’s fallen angels to be held at Forest Lodge, Sedgefield, on 31st August at 11.00. 

Participants should dress in black, in unison with other women across the globe. Ladies should arrive by 10.30 and will create a seating circle – in line with similar groups meeting world-wide. The  hour of silence starts at 11am.  According to the local organisers, if ladies would like to bring a photograph of their fallen angel they are welcome to do so. No banners or posters to be brought as these will be supplied. If this is something that rings true to you you are encouraged to also join the local WhatsApp group https://chat.whatsapp.com/E9X2p3CxlUfBoGO0RzPiR9

Please note – The SA Woman Fight Back Event is a non-violent , non-racial , non-political and passive initiative .

IT’S MELODRAMA TIME

Last night saw the opening night of Sedgefield’s biggest annual entertainment extravaganza, the famous MELODRAMA!
Twenty four cast members, many of them ‘first-timers’, and 12 crew were understandably suffering from serious first-night jitters as they waited for the curtains to rise.
But as soon as the first number began, the butterflies disappeared and the cast Delivered with a capital D! Producer Margie van Rensburg was overwhelmed by the audience’s response.
“They were whooping and cheering, and we were complimented left right and centre,” she enthused. Indeed one couple who had been going to Melodrama for years pulled her aside and admitted that they hadn’t known what to expect from such a new cast and many of the ‘old stalwarts’ not involved.
“But my goodness, you have got absolutely fantastic new talent this year – we enjoyed every single minute of the show!” they told her.
Last year’s Melodrama raised over R160 000 for local charities and the team is aiming high again this year. Tickets for 22, 23, and 29 August are still available – book yours at Fijnbosch Coffee Shop.