CPFs cry foul over funding

Dumisani Qwabe, secretary of the Nyanga CPF, left, and Gugulethu Community Police Forum (CPF) chairperson, Sonwabile Magida, talk to the residents.

Community Police Forums (CPFs) and neighbourhood watches in Gugulethu, Nyanga and KTC have expressed their disappointment at the Department of Community Safety’s decision to hand over information they had gathered, to politicians and have also raised concerns over the lack of payment of stipends to CPFs and neighbourhood watches.

The crime fighters met at the Nyanga Cluster offices in Gugulethu, on Tuesday July 24, to discuss, among others, ways to collectively fight crime, calls for the deployment of soldiers in the area and the escalating crime in their respective areas.

They all complained about the lack of progress in the payment of stipends, with speaker after speaker reminding the house how they struggled to fight crime.

Nyanga CPF secretary Dumisani Qwabe also accused the Department of Community Safety Department of giving their crime intelligence to politicians, claiming that the recent Democratic Alliance (DA) march to Gugulethu and Nyanga police stations had been inspired by information they gave to Community Safety MEC Dan Plato.

Mr Qwabe called on government to act equally on all people’s demands and lamented the lack of cameras in their areas.

“We are not politically aligned. We are people fighting crime in our areas.

“The information about crime that we give ministers should not be used for their political parties, but should instead help us fight crime. Gugulethu has 12 cameras and two in Nyanga that are not working, whereas in town there are about 110 cameras. On top of that they have police, and Metro Police,” he said.

He added that police would not be able to fight crime alone, and that neighbourhood watches should continue their work.

He said government had made a mistake when it put an end to the Peacemakers and Bambanani anti-crime volunteer programmes.

Gugulethu CPF chairperson, Sonwabile Magida, appealed to Mr Plato to give them money to run their programmes.

He said they had applied for funding, but nothing came their way.

“If other CPFs can be given finances to run programmes, why not here? The MEC needs to come to the party and provide funds to us too,” he said. “There are programmes to run here and we can run them smoothly.”

But Mr Plato’s spokesman, Ewald Botha, dismissed their claims, saying that the department treated all CPFs fairly and equally.

He said the department’s support and relationship with CPFs continued to improve across the province. “To my knowledge, 133 of the 150 CPFs (88%) have agreed to participate in the Extended Partnership Programme (EPP) as a structured approach to measure and build functional community-based structures under the legal mandate governing CPFs,” he said.

He added that SAPS had given their full support to the programme, which had been developed to enhance CPF functionality and partnership among communities, CPFs and SAPS.

Mr Botha said the department had allocated R3.2 million to CPFs through the EPP for 2018/19. He added that CPFs, CPF Boards and NHWs would also benefit from 16 consultative workshops to be held across the province during 2018/19.