Premier Alan Winde said the province was preparing its response to the threat of “mafia” groups in Knysna.

The Western Cape government has been warned of “mafias” attempting to infiltrate various service delivery functions in the Knysna Local Municipality.

This was revealed during a recent meeting of the province’s cabinet, where the municipality’s service delivery struggles were laid bare.

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Provincial Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Minister, Anton Bredell, told cabinet the municipality “is failing in all core services”.

“We cannot keep assisting it financially as this is not viable,” he said.

Premier Alan Winde said the province was preparing its response to the threat of “mafia” groups in the area.

“This is completely unacceptable. We are considering our options,” he added.

He said the municipality would be given support, but stressed its independence.

”We have a responsibility as the provincial government to support the municipality to deliver services, but we also have to respect that it is a separate sphere of government that must also be held accountable by the residents.”

A mountain of trash, and poor governance

The municipality was slammed late last year after mountains of trash were left at waste stations for days when service delivery failed in the city.

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Winde said the provincial government had to “step in to remove a growing refuse pile in the centre of Knysna“.

“Once again the municipality has let the situation deteriorate, at the height of the tourism season. The municipality can’t clean up the refuse, they can’t supply clean water, and there are significant sewage leaks into the lagoon.

“Our team are completing a diagnostic report on the municipality in line with our Constitutional mandate and responsibility to determine the appropriate action in the interests of the residents of the municipality.

ActionSA said “cadre deployment persists unabated” in the municipality, and called for the municipality to be put under administration.

No water for 14 days

As the festive season kicked off last month, a crucial time for the town’s economy, Daily Maverick noted some Knysna residents had been without water for 14 days.

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Volunteer for humanitarian relief NGO Gift of the Givers, said around 15,000 people used the water trucks it had sent to the affected areas daily.


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