A Community Policing Forum (CPF) meeting was held at the Graskop town hall, on 16th February.
The evening meeting was chaired by Graskop Police Station Commander – Captain Prince Sibuyane. Brian Dingle (CPF Chairperson) was also on the panel.
Captain Sibuyane delivered a message of unity to the stakeholders present at the meeting, including Meerkat Neighbourhood Watch, SA Protectors – security company, DA Councillor – John Lightenhelm, amongst others.
“We must sell the brand of a neighbourhood watch. I want people to be united so that we can prevent crime in Graskop. I walk the town regularly to check if people are safe, I’m also personally involved in patrol. Don’t keep quiet when you see a crime being committed. We must also report suspicious vehicles,” said Captain Sibuyane.
He added that members of the neighbourhood watch are placed in all four parts of Graskop (town, Glory Hill, Extension 5 and the Hostels). This strategy was reportedly aimed at ensuring that CPF members are responsible for their respective blocks.
The strategy was welcomed by Johan Lightenhelm – DA PR Councillor, but some of the stakeholders were clearly not convinced.
Ted Bones – the Secretary of Graskop Chamber of Business and Tourism (GCBT), said that residents don’t attend meetings because there’s great apathy.
“I’m concerned about crime. We’ve lost hundreds of thousands and the life of my family was threatened. I moved from a farm to Graskop and two weeks later our house was broken into. If we don’t feel safe in our own houses, we lose faith. AGM meetings are not held and we struggle to get CPF members together, no crime stats are coming out. I demand that an AGM is held in March and a new committee is elected,” said Bones.
Andre Viljoen – SA Protectors, said that financial problems affecting the CPF can be resolved, through the proper structuring of the entity in order to stand in line for sponsorship.
“The CPF is a government structure with more benefits, but it can be a problem if it’s not structured well. We need a CPF duty vehicle which will be exchanged amongst the members throughout their shifts,” said Viljoen.
Captain Sibuyane said that all concerned groups should form part of a sub-sector forum.