“So, the lion is walking through the jungle and he comes across a rabbit. He roars, ‘Who is the boss of this place?’ Terrified, the rabbit stutters, ‘You are, Mr Lion.’ Same thing happens with a springbok and a zebra. The lion meets an elephant next and roars, ‘Who is the boss of this place?’ The elephant picks the lion up with his trunk and thrashes him against the trees, before tossing him off into the distance. The lion, suitably chastened, says, ‘Okay, no need to get violent just because you don’t know the answer’.” Lt Col Luthando Nosilela, SAPS Hermanus station commander, Hermanus CPF AGM, 27 September.

A swing vote at the Hermanus ACPF AGM saw AfriForum Overstrand’s chairperson Elmarie van Dalen scoop the position of vice-chairperson on the Exco, after a 5-5 deadlock against former policeman and Denel security advisor Eddie Holloway (OnVerWag). This follows the resignation of Theuns Coetzee due to other work pressures. Elmarie said she was surprised at her election, but very happy, as “security is my passion”.

WOMAN ON BOARD New
Hermanus CPF vice-chairperson
Elmarie van Dalen.

 

 

 

 

 

Eddie was then unanimously voted in as projects manager, filling Chris Nieuwoudt’s shoes, who resigned some time ago, while Caroline Gabb (Onrus Ratepayers’ Association) replaces Carmen Titus as PR officer.

Problems

The following issues were raised:

  • It is proving virtually impossible to interest younger people in joining any of the neighbourhood watches, leaving the burden of security and administration to an ever-aging CPF.
  • Similarly, volunteers with legal knowledge cannot be sourced, as they wish to be paid by the CPF, which works on a volunteer basis.
  • The SAPS’s phone number changed almost two years ago, but old signage has largely not been replaced, and only some websites have done so.
  • The general quality of statements taken by the police is poor.
  • Witnesses to crimes in particular areas are especially unwilling to become involved in cases.
  • The magistrate’s court buildings are inadequate and, while there was apparently land available for extensions, the Department of Justice was unwilling to pay for it.
  • The backlog of cases awaiting hearing is “enormous”, running to over 1 500 serious cases.
  • Two projects that were planned last year – Adopt-a-Cop for primary school children, and the Junior CPF for high school learners – could not be implemented, but it is hoped that with the appointment of the new station commander these plans can be put back on the table next year.
  • Plans for a dog unit have seemingly stalled after it transpired that land that was promised for this project is in fact not available. If the plans cannot be implemented in the near future the unit will be set up in Grabouw instead, which will not assist in local gang problems.

Praise

  • The new fingerprint unit has managed to reach as far as Zwelihle this year, in unexpectedly quick time.
  • Three neighbourhood watches in particular – Sandbaai, Vermont and Onrus – were praised for a “very successful year”, as well as good combined operations.

Plans

  • A camera surveillance system is “at this stage a pipe dream”, said CPF chairperson Mervyn Milner, “but one that we hope to implement at some point”. How many cameras will be needed, costs involved, and how to fundraise it are all still unknown. “It could be R10 M or R100 M, we don’t know until we’ve had the experts in. We need to work out where the cameras should be
    placed strategically, and ideally there should be enough to cover the area from Fisherhaven to Voëlklip.” According to Mervyn, it is “the influx from the Transkei that is responsible for the steep crime hike”, and that “for whatever reason, bus loads of migrants and immigrants are dropped off in Hermanus every day.”
  • Police personnel are to be trained in taking proper statements by the chief prosecutor.
  • It is envisaged that Fernkloof and Voëlklip will need neighbourhood watches of their own soon, as gangs and tend to move in zones.

Zwelihle and AfriForum team up

In what may seem an unlikely alliance to many, plans are in the pipeline for AfriForum (Overstrand) to assist Zwelihle in resetting up its own dedicated neighbourhood watch (ZNW).

Despite being intimidated, assaulted and even, on occasion, arrested, some 40 Zwelihle residents are determined to fight the exceptionally high crime in the area. Alcohol, drugs and unemployment are the usual suspects. Says chairperson Vusumzi Tshona, “Housebreaking is out of control, drug dealers have free reign, and rape, assault and murder are another story.”

According to Vusumzi, children as young as 12 are being recruited to sell drugs, which they are then paid a portion of, thus hooking them on drugs as well, and bringing in more business for dealers at the same time. To fund this escalating addiction, burglary is their answer. Secretary of ZNW, Nomzi Khambi, explains: “The youngsters steal right here in the community and then sell the stuff amongst us. We need to make people understand that they must not buy these wares. They are contributing to the community’s problem. And even criminals from Mt Pleasant come here, rob us and go home.”

According to Nomzi, the criminals try to “defend” themselves to the community by saying they are stealing from whites. “But they steal even more from us. And even if that is true, that’s unacceptable. We are all people, our blood is the same.”

With regard to rape, there are cultural and administrative issues.

FIGHTING SPIRIT Treasurer
Noluviwo Nkoanyane, chairperson
Vusumzi Tshona and secretary
Nomzi Khambi are on the lookout.

 

 

Says Vusumzi: “In our culture the family will try to sort it out. Women are not encouraged to report abuse to the police, and then there is the problem of the Zwelihle police station itself. There is no trauma room or anywhere private to make a statement, so you have to stand in front of all the police and people in the station and say you have been raped. Then everyone knows.”

Currently there are some 40 foot patrollers, men and women, although on occasion the women have been assaulted when intervening in crime or fights. Nomzi herself was set upon by a group of young boys, who attacked her with rocks. When she hit one back in defence, he ran to his mother, and Nomzi was subsequently arrested herself. “Mothers in particular don’t want to believe their boys are involved in drugs or crime, and will defend them. But the reality is often quite different. And people must also be taught not to protect relatives from the consequences of their actions,” says Nomzi.

The patrols are carried out in Kwasa Kwasa and the old location.

In terms of patrols and the growth of the neighbourhood watch, Elmarie van Dalen, chairperson of AfriForum and new vice-chairperson of the Hermanus CPF, has offered AfriForum’s help.

“We have equipment like torches, radios, boots and jackets, as well as training courses,” says Elmarie. As far as working with AfriForum goes, the trio are only too happy. “English, Afrikaans, Indian, black, coloured, white – we must all work together to fight this scourge.”

Elmarie agrees: “Unfortunately AfriForum has had some negative connotations in the past, and it’s not to say all current members are perfect, and we do stand for the rights of minorities, particularly Afikaaners, but our mission statement is to create and sustain a society where Afrikaners are able to lead a meaningful and sustainable existence, in peace with all other communities. We all need to help each other.”