Community policing in the Eastern Cape is on the brink of collapse due to an “unpatriotic” public who demand stipends to join these structures.
This was claimed by community safety MEC Weziwe Tikana during a press briefing at her office recently.
The statement comes as the police and the provincial Community Policing Forum Board are deadlocked in negotiations over remuneration for CPF members.
Tikana said a culture of entitlement was high among unemployed villagers and township residents.
“But in areas like Gonubie and Beacon Bay in middle and upper class communities, CPFd structures are going strong. The residents there work around their schedules to take turns to go out on patrols,” she said.
Tikana said demands for stipends were common among traditional leaders in rural areas.
“The government doesn’t have money contrary to what many may think,” Tikana said.
An annoyed Tikana said the state could not pay people to protect themselves from criminals.
However, provincial CPF board spokesman Thembinkosi Windvoel said if the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) could pay people to clean their own streets, then why not pay CPF members. EPWP, the department of public works’ poverty alleviation project, pays a monthly R600 stipend.
Windvoel said: “…for every organisation to run smoothly, it needs money. We need money for admin like making phone calls to the police and inviting members to meetings. Also, attending meetings at different venues requires money.
“EPWP workers, ward committee members, hospital board members and water board members all get stipends and our jobs are no different.”
Windvoel denied the claims made by Tikana that CPFs were ineffective due to their demand for payment.
“The stipend negotiations have been going for a while, it doesn’t distract us. The meetings are happening at provincial level between us and the police top brass. The work is still happening on the ground.”
Tikana said the safety of communities should be a collective effort.
“Ensuring safety in communities cannot be the sole responsibility of the SAPS, although they [communities] are the sole responsibility of SAPS and a main stakeholder in crime prevention.”
Tikana urged communities to strengthen existing CPFs and assist in ensuring strong street and village committees.
“The establishment of CPFs is a critical factor in combating crime.
“Currently traditional leaders and village committees get phone allowances,” said Tikana.
Eastern Cape provincial police spokeswoman Colonel Sibongile Soci also contradicted Tikana’s claims, saying all the 195 CPFs in the province were functional. — malibongwed @dispatch.co.za