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An issue described as “extremely sensitive” by sources is resulting in tensions running high in the greater Table View area.
The local Community Police Forum (CPF) and Table View Neighbourhood Watch (TVNW) are squaring off against a breakaway faction calling themselves Parklands Neighbourhood Watch (PNW).
Table View police are, at the time of going to press, keeping their distance and not commenting on what appears to be a growing concern.
As a result, the question about whether PNW is legal remains unanswered.
Parklands residents are unsure whether to support PNW or stick with the tried, trusted and efficient TVNW.
The fuss started when TVNW member and Parklands resident, Bjorn Harrison Sagar, decided Parklands, Sunningdale and the new Rivergate suburbs were being marginalised by the existing neighbourhood watch.
These areas fall under Table View police and TVNW sector 2.
Sagar established a breakaway neighbourhood watch, allegedly without the necessary permission from the police or the CPF.
According to him just under 50% of the active Parklands members of TVNW followed him to PNW. That means there have recently been two neighbourhood watches patrolling the streets of sector 2 – one not recognised by the other.
Rumours about PNW members’ “heavy-handedness” and them “doing the police’s job” have been doing the rounds, but Sagar says these are completely false.
“Bring these guilty parties forward. There are none! We are strongly opposed to this way of doing things,” he insists.
“When opening this watch we have acted within our constitutional rights. We are not doing anything illegal.”
According to him he has had numerous high level meetings with various authorities in the recent past and is confident PNW will be allowed to operate.
Sagar reckons people should see the “bigger picture”.
“We are all here for crime prevention. We want to help the community and we should all work together. Claremont has four neighbourhood watches. Bothasig has one. Edgemead has one. Why can’t Parklands also have one?”
CPF chairperson, Andrew Brace, insists that PNW is not recognised by the CPF or the police.
Brace adds: “In Mitchell’s Plain there were eight neighbourhood watches, but most were closed down by provincial commissioner Arno Lamoer because of a lack of coordination. The more watches there are the harder it becomes to coordinate matters. The CPF is made up of many forums and we have to make it work. We and the TVNW form part of one of the biggest success stories in the province. Quite frankly, Sagar doesn’t want to work in these structures.”
TVNW’s Ryno Roberts also reckons PNW is illegal.
“Why interfere with something that works? Yes, according to us they are illegal, but that isn’t our decision. We would prefer to stay out of it. This creates confusion in the neighbourhoods,” he says.
Table View station commander Dirk Vosloo has indicated he will release a statement on Thursday or Friday, clarifying the matter.
One of the reasons mooted for the opposition towards PNW is that the police wouldn’t want to sit in even more meetings.
Sagar responds by saying everyone should meet during the CPF meetings, so there would be no need to have extra meetings.
“Why is there a satellite police station in Parklands?” asks Sagar before answering: “Parklands needs focussed micro-management. People call us vigilantes and say we’re illegal, but they should sit down, take a breath, and really think about it.”
Brace responds by saying that there is indeed a neighbourhood watch operating in Parklands – TVNW sector 2.
“There are three sectors in the greater Table View area and each has its own watch. TVNW sector 1, TVNW sector 2 and TVNW sector 3.”
Spokesperson for the local CPF, Gemma Redelingshuys, weighs in: “According to South African Police Service Act, Act 68 of 1995, the police shall, in order to achieve the objects contemplated in Section 215 of the Constitution, liaise with the community through the CPF. No structure is able to exist in Table View without being registered through the local CPF and the local police. “Ultimately the CPF is responsible for the whole community. At this point in time, there is no act in place allowing the Department of Community Safety to grant a neighbourhood watch structure legal grounds to exist within a community. In a community with an already well-established neighbourhood watch with strong ties to the community, local authorities and armed response, a second neighbourhood watch is nonsensical.”
During multiple interviews with involved parties (not all of them quoted above), a lot was said off the record. The residents who are unwittingly caught in the confusion, need this issue to be resolved as soon as possible.
***DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE AND PHOTO WERE PUBLISHED IN TYGERBURGER, A CAPE TOWN BASED MEDIA24 COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER. NEITHER MAY BE DUPLICATED WITHOUT ACCREDITING THE SOURCE – TYGERBURGER, MEDIA24.***

 

Despite strong opposition from Table View Community Police Forum (CPF) and the local police, Parklands Neighbourhood Watch (PNW) might very well become a recognised entity before the end of the year.
Section 6 of the Community Safety Act No 3 of 2013, which is envisaged to come into operation towards the end of the year, will provide a legal framework for the accreditation of neighbourhood watches by the Department of Community Safety (DOCS).
Chief director of civilian oversight at DCOS, Gideon Morris, says the act will pave the way for future legal accreditation.
TygerBurger reported last week in the article “Crime fighting tension” that a new entity calling themselves PNW is rocking the crime prevention boat in the community.
The local police did not comment at the time but it has since come to light that Table View police station commander, Col Dirk Vosloo, is also opposed to PNW.
The direct question of whether he supports PNW at this juncture was met with a definitive “No”.
“In Table View we have an active neighbourhood watch covering all three sectors. Parklands falls under Table View police station. Currently Table View police are opposing the establishing of a second neighbourhood watch,” said police spokesperson Lt Elizabeth Munro.
She adds, however, that they are awaiting possible procedural changes, as meetings took place between DOCS, the provincial CPF board and the provincial police.
Sagar is upset at the opposition he is receiving for opening an organisation he describes as “willing to cooperate” and “there for the community”.
Brace insists a new watch must have the support of the CPF and the police, and that there TVNW is already an efficient watch serving the greater Parklands community .
TVNW is seen as a sterling example to other watches in the city, so Sagar was asked why PNW wants to create an alternative.
“I’d rather talk about why it is better to create our own watch than point out why we didn’t like TVNW,” he says. “We can raise funds for our specific area and we can micro-manage our specific demographic issues. Parklands, as opposed to the beach front or Flamingo Vlei is demographically hugely different. There are many, many issues that make us very different to the rest of the area.”
When asked what TVNW’s response was to Parklands (Sector 2) being micro-managed, when most of the current PNW members still belonged to TVNW, Sagar said: “Right near the end we put it in writing that the eight members of Sector 2 met as a sub-forum and voted on it unanimously. We put it to them that we needed a response, but we did not get one at all. We merely want to create an alternative for Parklands residents.”
For Vosloo, the reasons behind the split aren’t important.
He wants the community to get involved in crime prevention, but he insists authorities should beware of setting a precedent by recognising PNW as a watch.
“Tomorrow Sunningdale want one, then Bloubergrant want one, then Big Bay want one. One day we will have a meeting with the neighbourhood watches and there will be 20 watch chairpersons where we now have one or two that relay information through to their various structures,” says Vosloo.
“I have absolutely no problem with Sagar as a person. It’s just a question on how they are doing things. Why fix something that isn’t broken? And now he jumps right over us and goes straight to DOCS and the head of the provincial CPF. This has become an issue and that is the problem,” says Vosloo.
Keeping things simple and efficient is one of the core reasons why Vosloo and Brace oppose PNW.
Brace says TVNW has structures in place. It has two different radio networks – one for the watch and one for the CPF. The latter links armed response companies, security companies, medical groups, law enforcement and the police. This network isn’t for the public. The watch members use the former network and the sector captains, who filter information from one to the other, have both.
So if a member of the watch sees something suspicious, the message first goes to the sector’s captain, who then escalates the message to relevant authority.
“A new watch would definitely complicate matters,” says Vosloo, “We cannot afford another radio in this station and from a management perspective for me to work with another watch, another meeting, another forum is illogical.”
Sagar, on the other hand, doesn’t believe a new watch would complicate matters at all.
He reckons PNW could sit in at CPF meetings and the police would not need a new network, as PNW would use the same structure to get messages through to the CPF network.
“We do not need permission from the CPF to start a watch,” says Sagar, “they are the liaison between the public and the police…It is considered to be a courtesy to notify them of a new watch.”
Disregarding opposition, PNW has been patrolling the streets in Parklands and surrounds for many weeks.
Vosloo and Brace admit PNW isn’t doing anything illegal.
“We just cannot at this stage recognise them as a recognised body,” says Vosloo.
Brace adds: “I discourage people joining PNW, because it might then be seen as being recognised by the CPF.”
Vosloo says: “The fact that they are now organised with bibs and everything has created uncertainty with the existing structure, TVNW.”
For Sagar, the opposition won’t stand in the way of him trying to keep Parklands a little safer.
“I don’t think the public knows how under resourced Table View police really is. I cannot understand why they don’t embrace us with both arms. There are no issues between PNW members and TVNW members. We all know each other! When I see a TVNW member patrolling our street I wave.”
Opposition towards PNW might be for nothing if the new act is approved, which is just a matter of time according to spokesperson of DOCS, Greg Wagner.
Currently, however, the act states that a new watch need the permission of the police and the CPF, and it shall be accountable to both.
***DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED IN TYGERBURGER, A CAPE TOWN BASED MEDIA24 COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER. IT MAY NOT BE DUPLICATED WITHOUT ACCREDITING THE SOURCE – TYGERBURGER, MEDIA24.***

 

The well-publicised dispute between Table View community police forum (CPF) and Parklands Neighbourhood Watch (PNW) seems no closer to a resolution.
Verbal punches have been thrown by the chairpersons of the CPF and PNW, both maintaining they are fighting for the community.
Suffice to say, CPF chairperson, Andrew Brace and PNW chairperson, Bjorn Harrison Sagar, are not the best of friends.
Despite TygerBurger reporting on 14 May in the article titled “Fight for new ’watch” that the PNW could become a recognised entity before the end of the year as per section 6 of the Community Safety Act No 3 of 2013, the accusations continue to fly.
Question marks surround Brace and Sagar’s on-the-record quotes such as “I don’t have anything against him as a person” when taking their off-the-record quotes into account.
Sagar thought he had this when provincial community police board (CPB) chairperson Peter Mead emailed Table View police, Brace and Sagar on 13 June.
It read: “At the last meeting we concluded by saying that we would ask all affected parties to submit their position in writing for assessment… To date no one has submitted anything. In light of this I consider the case closed. Table View police and the CPF now join the many, many stations that have more than one watch and I look forward to their continued engagement to provide a safer community.”
Mead told TygerBurger on Monday, however, that the CPB does not say PNW is now a recognised entity, but rather that the CPB is in no position to withhold Sagar’s application.
“The statement above came from an extremely drawn out process where the CPB offered assistance to mediate between parties that were at odds as to the viability and relevance of a new watch in the Parklands area. After much debate we asked all of the parties concerned to submit their position in writing for us, as mediators, to take it to our partners to try and guage its merit. There were no submissions. Therefore the matter was closed,” says Mead.
To this Mead responded: “As CPB chairperson it is not my core function to oversee the origination and formalisation of watches. Please refer the matter to your local CPF.”
Mead later told TygerBurger that this statement by him, in no way implies or suggests that the CPF has any authority to grant status to a watch.
“It clearly states that they can assist in the origination and formalisation – they can assist in setting them up,” he explains.
As for PNW, Mead says that neither the CPB, the local police nor the CPF are in a position to withhold someone’s application to start a watch.
“The legislation is quite clear – if someone wants to start a watch and they fulfil all of the requirements, then there is nothing standing in their way of becoming one.”
According to Mead and chief director of civilian oversight at the Department of Community Safety (DOCS), Gideon Morris, there is currently no legislation governing the operation of a watch.
“We have the draft in place (Community Safety Act No 3 of 2013) but to say that current legislation stipulates that a watch needs the permission of the local CPF to operate is not correct,” he says.
Brace and Sagar are both convinced their interpretation of the situation is right.
According to Brace the opposition towards PNW is coming from the local CPF, the school’s forum, the ratepayers association, the ward councillor and the non-governmental organisation forum.
He also claims they can continue to count on the support of local police commander, Col Dirk Vosloo.
Sagar also depends on Vosloo conceding to PNW’s wishes to become a recognised neighbourhood watch, but according to Mead no amount of opposition or support will be taken into account if “all the requirements are fulfilled”.
“According to this constitution, PNW went over and above the local CPF and the police to try achieve their goals, knowing fully the regulations controlling neighbourhood watch structures,” said Brace.
He said DOCS undermined the local CPF and police by acknowledging PNWwithout consultation.
He says PNW is unconstitutional and Sagar is not a team player.

 

 

 

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