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.


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!


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.”


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.


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:-
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.


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‘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

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


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.

WE’RE 21!

Yes – it’s official – Sedgefield’s favourite (we like to think) Community Newspaper has come of age!

We have included a brief bit of the newspaper’s history on the centre pages of this edition, but would like to take this front page opportunity to publicly thank the many, many wonderful people who have been involved in keeping us afloat for so many years.

From the businesses who have advertised (three have been with us since day one!) to the many wonderful volunteer writers who tirelessly submit their articles, often to be told at the last minute that there’s suddenly no space available, to the photographers (you want a picture of WHAT?) to the readers from Sedgefield, Greater Knysna and beyond! Even the crotchety old-timer who used to pop in and point out our spelling mistakes has played a huge part in making The EDGE what it is today (we have a proofreader now!)
And, whilst we are gushing in appreciation, the extra-efficient crew of printers at DCU is also more than worthy of a nod of great gratitude for their patience and ever-helpful manner.

Lastly, but by no means least, the clueless couple who are supposed to be running The EDGE would like to thank our AMAZING team, who have all stuck by us through thick (we had a company Christmas dinner once) and thin (our 500th edition was celebrated with a packet of lemon cremes).

We are truly blessed to have you on our side.


On 2 August the Democratic Alliance issued the following press statement regarding a recently approved increase in remuneration for the Knysna Municipal Manager and Directors.
The Knysna Democratic Alliance Caucus has delivered its Motion to Rescind the approval of an allowance which increases the salaries of the Municipal Manager and Directors by 20%. The DA’s motion also requires that amounts already paid to the Municipal Manager and Directors in respect of this allowance be recovered.
The Scarce Skills Allowance was approved by a majority of Councillors at a Knysna Council Meeting on 11 June 2019. All DA Councillors, with the exception of Cllr Peter Myers, voted against the approval of this allowance.
According to documents received from the Chief Financial Officer: the Municipal Manager (Dr Vatala) and Directors (Mr Memani, Ms Makoma, Mr Hariparsad and Ms Boyce) have been back-paid R697,790.86 in respect of the scarce skills allowance.
Going forward, the scarce skills allowance will cost Knysna residents an additional R1,385,231.88 per year for the Municipal Manager and Directors.
The 20% Scarce Skills allowance exceeds the upper limits of total remuneration packages payable to Municipal Managers and Directors. The National Minister of COGTA, Minister Mkhize, and the Western Cape Provincial Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, MEC Bredell, have stated that these upper limits are valid and enforceable and that municipalities are required to comply therewith.
The Knysna Council claims to currently have insufficient funds to provide basic services such as the repair of potholes and the provision of basic sanitation to all households. It is the view of the Knysna Democratic Alliance caucus that it is therefore neither right nor reasonable that this Council pays such exorbitant salaries to its Municipal Manager and Directors.
The annual increase that the ‘scarce skills allowances’ will add to the salaries of Municipal Manager and Directors are currently as follows:

Position Remuneration Package/year Scarce Skills % Scarce Skills Allowance/ year Total remuneration / year
Municipal Manager increase R269,773.80  – Ammended Annual Salary R1,618,642.80
CFO increase R226,952.04 – Ammended Annual Salary R1,361,712.24
Director: Corporate Services increase R220,518.00 Ammended Annual Salary R1,323,108.00
Director: Technical Services increase R220,518.00 Ammended Annual Salary R1,323,108.00
Director: Planning & Development increase R226,952.04 Ammended Annual Salary R1,361,712.24
Director: Community Services increase R220,518.00 Ammended Annual Salary R1,323,108.00

The Motion to rescind the Scarce Skills Allowance will be submitted to the Knysna Municipal Council at its next Ordinary Council Meeting. Should the motion not be successful, the Democratic Alliance Knysna caucus will report the matter to the MEC for Local Government, the Auditor-General and the National Minister of COGTA for investigation.

The Knysna Ratepayers Association also challenged the decision to approve the municipal salary increases, though for different reasons. They have issued the following statement.
We have noted the Knysna DA’s press release of 2 August 2019 regarding their intention to rescind the Council decision to pay a 20% scarce skills allowance to Municipal Directors and the Municipal Manager.
It is no secret that the Knysna Ratepayers Association (“KRA”) does not support the decision by Council to pay the 20% scarce skills allowance. Council effectively increased the Municipal Manager’s and the Directors’ salaries by 20%, backdated to August 2018.
We are further of the view that the Municipal Manager’s report to Council, in which the scarce skills allowance was motivated, contained misleading information relating to the legality of backdating the allowance.
To enable us to make a decision on how to take the matter further, on 16 July 2019 we requested access to information relating to the contested Council decision, pursuant to section 18(1) of the Promotion of Access to Information Act 2000 (the “PAIA Act”).
The content of our PAIA request is set out as follows.
1. A copy of the recording of the proceedings in respect of the following items on the Supplementary Agenda for the Special Council meeting of 11 June 2019:
6.5 Employment Contracts of Section 54a and 56 Managers and
6.6 Scarce Skills Allowance for Section 54a and 56 Managers.
2. Copies of the employment contracts of the Municipal Manager and all the Senior Managers, excluding the Director Housing, as well as any amendments and/or addendums to the contracts.
3. A copy of the KM scarce skills policy.
4. Copies of all correspondence between the Knysna Municipality and the Western Cape MEC for Local Government relating to the MM and Senior Managers.
5. Copies of all correspondence between the Knysna Municipality and the Minister of COGTA relating to the MM and Senior Managers.
6. The following information is required relating to any payments that may have been made to Directors and/or the MM in respect of the 20% allowance that was approved by Council on 11 June 2019.
• A breakdown of each payment to each Director and the MM.
• The date/s of each payment.
• The amount of each payment.
• Details of how each payment is calculated.
We have not yet received a response from Knysna Municipality to that request.
On 16 July 2019, we also submitted a separate request for the written reasons for the contested Council decision pursuant to section 5(1) of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act 3 of 2000 (PAJA).
In that request, we stated: “…it is also stipulated in section 5(3), that the decision you have made must be regarded as a decision with no good reasons if you fail to provide adequate written reasons for your decision. This is a reason for taking such a decision on … judicial review.”
We have not yet received a response from Knysna Municipality to that request.
We await responses to both our PAIA and our PAJA requests prior to taking further action.
The Committee