Safety forum aims to unite all in crime fight

Mitchell’s Plain Community Police Forum (CPF) has welcomed the launch of the United Public Safety Front (UPSF), aimed at uniting communities in the fight against crime.

CPF chairman Abie Isaacs told the Plainsman yesterday, Tuesday April 3, that the umbrella body represented about 1000 representatives from 152 community police forums (CPFs), neighbourhood watches, street committees, civic associations, religious organisations, sports and business organisations. And as an independent body, not limited by legislation, he said, they could “pick up the pieces”, ask for information and bring various groups of people together.

“For me it is like bringing all forces and formations, within the safety environment, together under one roof.”

Mr Isaacs said there was a notion that the CPF was accountable to the South African Police Service (SAPS), when it should be the other way around.

He said the CPF was looking to have full briefing, including an analysis of the area’s crime statistics, for the past month.

Mr Isaacs added that they had been asking for a gang strategy but it seemed their requests were “falling on deaf ears”.

He said delegates had asked for the relationship between SAPS and the CPF to be reassessed.

At the launch of the UPSF at Mutual Park on Saturday March 24, interim chairman, Llewellyn McMaster, said the body believed that for the government to work effectively with the community, all three tiers (local, provincial and national) had to be in communication with communities; seek consensus in communities; be accountable; be transparent; be responsive; be effective and efficient; be equitable and inclusive; and follow the rule of he law.

“Our people have suffered enough and the efforts of our community police forums have only seen that the police have not taken our proposals to protect our communities seriously,” said Mr McMaster.

According to the UPSF’s founding document, violent gang fights had erupted across the urban areas of Cape Town and the rural areas of the province.

Representatives at the summit were split into various groups, looking at housing, health, religious, business and safety structures.

Reverend Franklin Williams, the public relations officer for the Mitchell’s Plain United Residents’ Association (MURA), who attended the break-away discussion for the commission on housing development, said his group focused on town planning and how townships were designed and contributed to crime generation.

“We were enlightened on how houses should be built in such a way that they can see the street, watch children play and have a view of your neighbour’s house so you look out for each other,” he said.

John Cloete, another interim committee member of the USPF, said they would like to follow a solid process.

“We will have a debriefing with the facilitators of the summit after the Easter weekend. A report will be produced. Out of the report we will then develop a programme of action which will then be communicated to the communities,” he said.