Claim CPFs are neglected for funding allocations over Neighbourhood Watches
Cape Town - The Department of Community Safety has been accused of pouring money into its Neighbourhood Watch initiative while neglecting schemes such as the Community Policing Forums (CPFs).
The issue of Neighbourhood Watches (NHWs) dominated debate on the Department of Community Safety (DoCS) budget vote in which MEC Albert Fritz announced that DoCS had been forced to cut its budget by a net R27.9million, with the money being reprioritised towards efforts to address the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rejecting the bill and calling NHWs “a parallel structure”, ANC provincial spokesperson for Community Safety Mesuli Kama said: “What is evident in the budget are the plans of this government to deliberately frustrate and sabotage the work of CPFs.”
“On top of budget cuts under these adjustments, the department has not dispersed a single cent to CPFs from the start of this financial year to date,” said Kama. “Whereas some CPFs have been working with a zero-budget assisting in the fight against Covid-19 in their areas, NHWs have been allocated R6.8m to educate people and to encourage them to maintain social distancing.”
ACDP MPL Ferlon Christians, while supporting the bill, said: “The NHWs are shrinking, because the Walking Bus is paying members stipends, and this is causing NHW members to quit and join the Walking Bus. Why does the MEC not pay members of NHWs a life cover?”
EFF MPL Melikhaya Xego asked: “What will the ever endangered members of NHW say when they realise that the provincial government is cutting the budget intended to assist them to fight crime?”
Responding to the debate, Fritz said: “We are busy expediting funds to CPFs, but we can’t just dump funds with people. We need people to be held accountable and to have a plan. That’s the important point we’re making. We really want to look at whatever is the best model for moving forward.”
Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Community Safety Reagan Allen said: “NHWs are essential to make our communities safer, as eyes and ears on the ground, and key to improved safety responses in the province. As the only province who have accredited NHW bodies accountable to the DoCS, a further budget allocation of R1m under programme 4: Civilian Oversight - for resourcing of NHWs in response to Covid-19 - is welcomed.”