Following a special council meeting Thursday 13 February, Knysna Municipal Manager, Dr Sitembele Vatala, was placed on precautionary suspension as a result of allegations levelled against him. The section of the meeting in which this matter was discussed was closed to the public. Deputy Executive Mayor Cllr Aubrey Tsengwa said that all Councillors voted in favour of this suspension. “Council will appoint an independent investigator within 7 days to probe the allegations and the municipal manager will be on suspension for the duration of the investigation. The investigator must submit its findings to the municipal council within 30 days.”

Tsengwa said the investigator will take an in-depth look into the allegations brought against Dr Vatala. “The Municipal Manager’s precautionary suspension was for the protection of all parties and to ensure an unbiased investigation without any influence from the parties involved.”

Tsengwa concluded by saying that it is important to note that Dr Vatala has not been charged with any misconduct at this point in time. “Dr Michelle Gratz, former municipal manager of Mossel Bay Municipality has been appointed as the acting municipal manager in the interim.”

“I want to assure the public that the investigation will not influence service delivery and the day to day running of the municipality. The Knysna Council has acted with the well-being of the Municipality as our first and foremost priority. We have confidence in the ability of  Dr Gratz to steer the administration during this time.”