What the CEO doesn't want you to know

Monday, May 23, 2011

No schadenfreude.

The following comment was drafted while waiting for the election results, regardless of whether or not the SGC won a seat (it didn't*):

Congratulations to the SGC on its 2011 election campaign. It was better (more effective per rand spent) than the 2006 EcoPeace campaign, perhaps because no "consultants" were engaged. SGC's campaign seemed more membership-driven, less "leadership"-driven. Criticisms: it started late - the equivalent of the candidate who only knocks on the voters' doors just before election time; and, the fatal paranoia ("gotta make this Facebook group exclusive or those old ghosts from EcoPeace will get in").

Like many others, I would like to be able to assist and even join the SGC, if it showed itself capable of following the principles of its election platform, of collectively restraining individual ambitions and weaknesses of members, and of course if its constituent organisations had democratic constitutions and procedures.

So, SGC members, if you'd like our help, get your house in order.

* It got about 1000 votes; about 5000 were required to get a Proportional Representation seat.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

2011 elections.

Well, it had to happen - the next municipal vote approaches; the undead remains of EcoPeace lurch into the fray.

Realising its image problem after the scandal which in 2006 cost its council seat and deposit, it now shelters under the cloak of the Socialist Green Coalition (SGC - nice logo, if a tad butch). From what I know of other coalition members, I have nothing but warmth towards them. But I lament their naïveté in taking the Murphyist entity at face value. The consensus seems to be, let's not let issues arising from individuals get in the way of presenting the right set of principles to the public.

Of course I broadly support the principles espoused by the rump of EcoPeace - I helped formulate them! The old Ecoparty only emerged from the navel-gazing-in-jacuzzi stage which lost it its deposit in the '96 elections, after the influx of seasoned activists including myself gave it a new platform and name. Within a few months of relaunching as EcoPeace in 2000 it won a seat. The pity is, none of us are left in the group - those not purged, have departed in disgust and/or despair.

The question then, to be answered by other SGC members, is whether they want to associate with EcoPeace's good rhetorical stance, when its current proponents' track record drastically contradicts that stance. What is the value of a call for resources to be diverted from fatcat councillor lifestyles to community projects, when those very community funds are grossly misappropriated? What use calling for participatory democracy, when the caller has not only excluded his critics from meetings by means of armed security guards, but furtively amended the constitution of the organisation to lend spurious legitimacy to his actions, and to grant himself permanent control of membership?

Surely the most important political principle of all is "practise what you preach"!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Now that the dust has died down, and this blog is only of historical interest, let me just preface it with the following: it is the story of the hijacking of Africa's first Green electoral success.

The complicated conflict detailed below eventually turned out to have been basically a cover-up for misuse of funds. Although it appeared at times more like a soap opera.

Because the main text (posted in the menu to to right as "the long-delayed document") is a quasi-legal briefing document and an archival source, it is tedious. But you can see highlights by clicking on the "preliminary posting" in the menu on the right. If you want to cut to the chase, the MISSING MONEY, scroll down in that posting to "The Smoking Gun". If only we (the majority of committee members, who had been "expelled") had had that information earlier. We, and I, made many mistakes, but they were honest ones.

To the response that this is only one side of the story, I say: this is the version that can stand the test of documentary evidence and witnesses' testimony; the most objective test our society can provide - courtroom procedure.

I can say this because on two occasions, rather than face that test, Alan Murphy backed down and made dramatic concessions:

* admitting that he acted unconstitutionally;
* readmitting members he had expelled (only to re-exclude us at the next meeting by requiring re-application using a form granting him sole discretion in granting the application);
* admitting that his defamatory attacks on me were unsubstantiated;
* conceding that he does not contest the contents of this blog;
* agreeing to pay all legal costs as well as substantial damages.

If his version of the story were true, he would have been able and prepared to stand up for it in court. Instead he pushes it surreptitiously.

I am currently taking a break from my studies due to lack of funds, and due to much travel, unable to take part in organisational activities.
Michael Graaf's Profile
Michael Graaf's Facebook Profile
Create your badge

Thursday, July 17, 2008

the court order

It has come to my attention that in his usual fashion Alan Murphy is misleading his remaining supporters about the outcome of the defamation suit between us. He claims that he merely backed down over his defamatory claims concerning his former girlfriend, in order to preserve her feelings (bit late to become considerate, after publicising her psychiatric history) - concealing that he made other, more important concessions.

Furthermore he claims that I am infringing on a clause in the settlement by publicising its terms.

So, I here give the text of the order, to put to rest any doubts.

"In the Magistrates' Court (Durban), case no 20906/05
In the matter between
Michael Graaf (Plaintiff)
Alan Murphy (Defendant)
Consent Order
The Defendant will pay to the plaintiff the sum of R16000 (sixteen thousand rand)...
[specifications of timing of payments]
2.1 The Defendant acknowledges that the statements made by him, referred to in paragraphs 3 and 5 of the Plaintiff's particulars of claim cannot be supported by reliable evidence and he withdraws such statements.
2.2 The Defendant does not contest the statements made by the Plaintiff in the press and on the internet, upon which the Defendant's counter-claims are based.
The Plaintiff will not make any unwarranted defamatory statements in respect of the Defendant in the future.
The above arrangements are made in full and final settlement of the claims between the parties under the above case number, which are hereby withdrawn."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008



Milestone court order as former EcoPeace councillors settle defamation suit.

In his heyday, ex-Councillor Alan Murphy threatened both the Speaker of the Council and the City Manager with defamation suits, but in a settlement endorsed by the Durban Magistrate's Court today he not only conceded to defaming another former councillor, but accepted that “defamatory” criticisms made of him were defensible on a factual basis . He had been accused of financial mismanagement, subverting the constitution of his organisation, purging his critics from the group, and betraying electoral promises. Murphy also agreed to pay costs and an amount in damages to former councillor Michael Graaf.

Graaf said he regretted that the matter had had to play out in this way. “In his letter purporting to expel me from EcoPeace, Alan reserved the right to involve me in a reconciliation process at his own discretion. Despite the recommendations of a special meeting of EcoPeace held under a High Court order, and despite what he has told his remaining followers, he has taken no steps in this direction. Four years on, the ball remains in his court.

“Now that I have won this settlement, I again urge him to come clean. 'The truth shall set you free'".

Friday, January 18, 2008

Update and summary

This blog is about how Africa´s first green electoral success was destroyed.

The complicated conflict detailed below eventually turned out to have been basically a cover-up for misuse of funds.
I am currently taking a break from my studies due to lack of funds, but still pursuing a defamation case against the main culprit, Alan Murphy, not only to clear my name but to place on public record the shameful story which he has so far managed to conceal.
For some highlights, click on the link in the post below : http://truth-about-ecopeace.blogspot.com/2006/02/preliminary-posting.html

Saturday, April 29, 2006

In the last few weeks I met a few innocent voters who while aware of some of Alan Murphy's antics, had voted EcoPeace for reasons such as "I wasn't voting for the individual but the cause" or "There's nothing else worth voting for."

I had to explain to them that EcoPeace is no longer itself. If it was a halfway democratic organisation, would a CEO who admits violating the constitution, and who has been found (by the organisation's own accountant) to be unable to account for almost R26 000 of community project funds (in one year; perhaps more in other periods), be unchallenged and not made to answer for his actions?

Because blog technology displays postings in reverse chronological order, for a condensed version of the story start reading at (click on):