Oudtshoorn administrator now Municipal Manager in Knysna
Kam Chetty, the man who was appointed to run Oudtshoorn as administrator during 2015 and 2016 has been appointed as the new municipal manager in Knysna. “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,” he answered 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 the media it was clear that Chetty had 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.
Applied for post before the fire
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 regarding 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.
Major issues to address
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”.
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.
The new municipal manager of Greater Knysna, Kam Chetty.