Knysna Executive Mayor, Mark Willemse issued a stern warning to those members of the community who took it upon themselves to close the N2 to the east of Knysna.
“I want to make it abundantly clear that the law will be firmly applied to elements that fuel anarchy within Greater Knysna. Although we, as the local government, tolerate divergent views, there will be no abuse of the political freedom we as South Africans enjoy, and if you break the law, you will be harshly dealt with,” said Mayor Willemse.
He added, “The actions of these residents does not resonate any political view but pure thuggery. A short year ago, Knysna was thrust into mourning after much-loved Cllr Victor Molosi was gunned down in front of his home. Last night lawless residents took it upon themselves to threaten two of Knysna councillors with the promise of burning down their homes. Has the moral core of our people sunk so far, that they are willing to destroy life and property without a moment’s thought?”
The Knysna Police will be investigating the threats levelled against the two councillors and have promised Council that they will be bringing the full force of the law down on the perpetrators.
“I am disgusted to witness the violence that I had hoped had died during the dark days of apartheid. Our country had been a beacon of hope to the world when we put our differences aside and together found a way of moving forward. Actions like these have cast a dark shadow on decades of hard work and forgiveness.
“The United Nations (UN) describes terrorism as acts ‘that attack the values that lie at the heart of the Charter of the United Nations: respect for human rights; the rule of law; rules of war that protect civilians; tolerance among peoples and nations; and the peaceful resolution of conflict’. Looking at that definition the acts of a select few can be described no other way as terrorism.”
Willemse concluded by reminding the so-called protestors that their action will finally result in the economic destruction of Knysna. “Greater Knysna economy relies heavily on the income brought in by our tourists; blocking the N2 preventing the flow of traffic will ultimately result in tourists choosing not only another route, but also another destination. I promise you today that I will ensure that all Greater Knysna communities do not suffer because of the actions of a minority group.
My door is always open and we have avenues that residents can use to voice their dissatisfaction. Remember what Mahatma Gandhi said: ‘An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind’.”