Mass exodus at PMB CPF

2016-03-03 15:02
Jay Jugwanth

Jay Jugwanth (File)

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Pietermaritzburg - The Mountain Rise Community Policing Forum (CPF) has been rocked by a mass exodus of members following the sudden resignation of chairperson Jay Jugwanth.

After a special executive meeting held on Tuesday night, Jugwanth and three executive members handed in their resignations. It is believed two others — including PMB Crime Watch group administrator Shanaaz Bux — followed suit yesterday, resulting in half the forum’s management walking out of the station’s doors.

It is unclear why the move took place, but a source close to the CPF said it may have resulted from frustration over internal “police politics” at the station.

After thanking the ex-members for their contribution and support during their tenure, Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Gay Ebrahim said provincial CPF management would call for a special general meeting in the “near future” to hold a “democratic election” to fill the vacant posts.

“In the interim, CPF members will drive the partnership forward,” Ebrahim said.

The source, who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation, said Jugwanth may have become frustrated when he was recently gagged by police management from speaking to the media after he was allegedly assaulted at the station last month.

“Since July 2015, the relationship between the then Mountain Rise station commander, Brigadier Francis Bantham, and Jugwanth was challenging,” the source said.

“Bantham censured Jugwanth after she was told off by Major-General Lucas Ngobeni [then the Pietermaritzburg cluster commander] for not doing enough to discourage Jugwanth from making political comments and writing political letters.”

Bantham yesterday denied stopping Jugwanth from speaking to the media.

“The CPF is governed by their own constitution and they have their own provincial committee. It is a sad day for me as a cluster commander to have lost Jugwanth as the CPF chair and I wish him everything of the best,” she said.

Speaking on behalf of Ngobeni, Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Mthokozisi Ngobese said they maintain that the CPF management should never say anything politically inclined, but because the station is outside Ngobeni’s cluster, he could not comment further.

Another internal battle came in October 2015 after police and the CPF met with liquor store owners in the northern suburbs to discuss trading hours.

“A follow up meeting with a problematic store was constantly avoided by Mountain Rise police when the CPF wanted the Liquor Board present. Insiders from Mountain Rise made Jugwanth the scoundrel with liquor store owners,” the source alleged.

It is believed local government politics may have also played a part in the resignation of the CPF executives.

The source alleged that the station’s management was fully aware that a recently co-opted member of the CPF was “hell-bent” on attending a meeting in February with a “rowdy group” to move a vote of no confidence in Jugwanth.

However, the move is believed to have been stopped by prominent Pietermaritzburg politicians during a discussion on a WhatsApp group.

“When officials are false, when freedom of speech is comprehended as a threat, and when there is a sinister plot to introduce factionalism into the CPF, then it may have been the time to walk away to higher ground,” the source said.

Asked to comment on his resignation yesterday, Jugwanth declined, referring The Witness to Mountain Rise police station management.

Ebrahim did not respond to an e-mail query from The Witness asking for elaboration on the reasons behind the resignations.


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