Meet Knys­na’s new MM

Knysna-Plett Herald - - Voorblad - S­te­fan Goo­sen s­te­fan@grou­pe­di­

“I am he­re for this to­wn to con­tri­bu­te to­wards im­pro­ving pe­op­le’s li­ves. A­bout par­ty po­li­ti­cs – we can’t po­li­ti­ci­se a di­sas­ter. I want to keep the po­li­ti­cs out and sup­port the re­buil­ding of the to­wn.”

This was the ans­wer from new mu­ni­ci­pal ma­na­ger for Gre­a­ter Knys­na, Kam C­het­ty, w­hen as­ked w­het­her he would al­low par­ty po­li­ti­cs to in­ter­fe­re with his de­ci­si­on ma­king du­ring his term in of­fi­ce, which star­ted this month.

Du­ring an in­ter­view with C­het­ty, he was soft-spo­ken yet cle­ar in e­ver­y­thing he said. He ca­me a­cross as a calm, in­sig­ht­ful man who has cle­ar­ly do­ne his re­se­arch in­to Gre­a­ter Knys­na’s is­su­es.

C­het­ty’s ap­point­ment ca­me as a sur­pri­se to not on­ly re­si­dents of Knys­na, but al­so to the Knys­na-P­lett He­rald, w­hen feed­back on a que­ry was re­cei­ved with his na­me at the bottom wit­hout p­ri­or no­ti­fi­ca­ti­on of his ap­point­ment.


He ex­plai­ned that he had al­re­a­dy ap­p­lied for the po­si­ti­on be­fo­re the fi­re di­sas­ter that ra­va­ged the Gar­den Rou­te.

“W­hen my ti­me as ad­mi­nis­tra­tor of the Oudts­hoorn mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty ca­me to an end I re­su­med my work on cli­ma­te chan­ge and g­reen in­fra­struc­tu­re with Re­ne­wa­ble E­ner­gy In­te­gra­ti­on A­fri­ca, but w­hen the po­si­ti­on in Knys­na o­pe­ned I ap­p­lied, as I ha­ve al­ways lo­ved Knys­na for its beau­ty and its e­co­no­mic po­ten­ti­al.

“It was al­so sug­ge­sted to me that my kno­w­led­ge and un­der­stan­ding of go­ver­nan­ce, and s­kills with re­gards to e­co­no­mic de­ve­lop­ment, would be of gre­at help in Knys­na,” said C­het­ty.

The de­ci­ding fac­tor to accept the po­si­ti­on, though, was his per­so­nal in­te­racti­on with re­si­dents who shared their dif­fi­cult but mos­t­ly sad sto­ries with him of the fi­re di­sas­ter.

“Tho­se in­te­racti­ons are w­hat im­plo­red me to ta­ke the po­si­ti­on, or­di­na­ry pe­op­le in te­ars im­pacted by the fi­res. I now ha­ve an in­ner pas­si­on to ma­ke an im­pact on Knys­na and tho­se af­fected,” he said.


C­het­ty out­li­ned the ma­jor is­su­es that he will fo­cus on in the wa­ke of the fi­res.

To ad­dress the hu­ma­ni­ta­ri­an re­lief is­sue and im­pro­ve the coor­di­na­ti­on of that pro­cess.

Mi­ti­ga­ting the ris­ks that a­ro­se from the fi­res. “This will in­clu­de the pos­si­bi­li­ty of ha­ving to ma­na­ge a­not­her such fi­re, soil e­ro­si­on and lands­li­des that may occur – of which as­ses­sments are being do­ne, and to mi­ti­ga­te t­he­se is­su­es,” said C­het­ty.

Re­buil­ding Knys­na, which in­clu­des “ca­pi­tal re­ten­ti­on and rein­ves­t­ment in Knys­na”.


W­hen as­ked a­bout his plans for Knys­na in ge­ne­ral, C­het­ty said that the to­wn’s im­me­di­a­te fu­tu­re can­not be “di­vor­ced” from cur­rent cri­sis ma­na­ge­ment ef­forts. “Our in­te­gra­ted de­ve­lop­ment plan (IDP) will ha­ve to be re­vi­sed in or­der to re­pri­o­ri­ti­se mu­ni­ci­pal in­ves­t­ment af­ter the cri­sis. We ha­ve to get the IDP pri­o­ri­ties to re­a­lign with the di­sas­ter re­co­ve­ry plan,” he said.

The three ma­jor fo­cus a­re­as ac­cor­ding to C­het­ty will be:

The cur­rent fi­nan­ci­al im­pact cau­sed by loss of bu­si­ness re­ve­nue, the re­ducti­on in wa­ter con­sump­ti­on and loss of ra­tes re­ve­nue.

Put­ting a strong te­am in pla­ce with in­no­va­ti­ve ad­mi­nis­tra­ti­ve le­a­ders­hip within the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty.

Buil­ding and streng­the­ning the re­la­ti­ons­hip be­t­ween the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty, bu­si­ness and the com­mu­ni­ty.

“The out­co­me of this pro­cess must build trust and pro­mo­te gro­wth and de­ve­lop­ment within Knys­na. I trust that I can bring a strong un­der­stan­ding of go­ver­nan­ce, e­co­no­mic de­ve­lop­ment, po­li­cy im­ple­men­ta­ti­on and fos­te­ring so­ci­al in­clu­si­on to the ta­ble, which I think will help a lot,” ad­ded C­het­ty.

Re­gar­ding the to­wn’s wa­ter cri­sis, C­het­ty said he is in the pro­cess of meet­ing with en­gi­neers who will pro­vi­de him with an a­na­ly­sis of all sce­na­ri­os and al­ter­na­ti­ves, in­clu­ding the thre­at of le­vel 4 wa­ter re­stricti­ons.

“If we don’t ha­ve good al­ter­na­ti­ves we may be for­ced to mo­ve to le­vel 4 re­stricti­ons. We are bu­sy with a short and long-term a­na­ly­sis, and I feel my in­vol­vement in cli­ma­te chan­ge re­se­arch gi­ves me a good in­sig­ht in­to t­he­se is­su­es,” he said.


With re­gards to al­le­ga­ti­ons ma­de by re­si­dents of cor­rup­ti­on, fraud and the li­kes within the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty, C­het­ty said he will not ta­ke t­he­se lig­ht­ly. “We ha­ve to test the al­le­ga­ti­ons. For tho­se al­le­ga­ti­ons being in­ves­ti­ga­ted by Par­li­a­ment we will ex­a­mi­ne the e­vi­den­ce and act ac­cor­dingly.

I want to de­al with cor­rup­ti­on, but I al­so want to add that we do not need de­structi­ve, un­foun­ded or un­ne­ces­sa­ry al­le­ga­ti­ons. Accountability is cri­ti­cal, the me­dia is the­re to ful­fil this im­por­tant ro­le. Their ro­le is to hold us ac­coun­ta­ble and to keep me on my toes,” he said.

On a per­so­nal le­vel, the me­dia has play­ed an im­por­tant part in

C­het­ty’s li­fe. His wi­fe is a for­mer jour­na­list, and he u­sed to de­li­ver news­pa­pers whi­le still in s­chool be­cau­se, ac­cor­ding to him, he ca­me from a poor fa­mi­ly and had to work hard to sup­port his fa­mi­ly whi­le still at s­chool.

Ac­cor­ding to Knys­na ma­yor E­le­a­no­re

Bouw-S­pies, C­het­ty’s ap­point­ment co­mes at a cri­ti­cal ti­me for


“His ap­point­ment was de­ci­ded be­fo­re the de­va­sta­ting fi­res that hit us, but Mr C­het­ty’s com­mit­ment to e­thi­cal le­a­ders­hip va­lu­es, and to o­pe­ra­ti­o­nal and techni­cal ex­cel­len­ce through pro­cess im­pro­vements and ef­fecti­ve mo­ni­to­ring, as well as his in­va­lu­a­ble ex­pe­rien­ce in the de­ve­lop­ment of hu­man ca­pi­tal to en­s­u­re in­sti­tu­ti­o­nal re­si­lien­ce, dee­pen en­tre­pre­neu­ri­al and so­ci­al ca­pi­tal, and cre­a­te a cul­tu­re of in­no­va­ti­on, will be in­va­lu­a­ble to us all as #Knys­naRi­ses,” said Bouw-S­pies.

P­ho­to: S­te­fan Goo­sen

The new mu­ni­ci­pal ma­na­ger of Gre­a­ter Knys­na, Kam C­het­ty.

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