CPF chair ousted

2015-06-16 06:00
Hanif Loonat 

Peter Abrahams

Hanif Loonat PHOTO: Peter Abrahams

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Just three weeks after being elected as the chairperson of the local community police forum (CPF), community activist Hanif Loonat has been ousted.

An incensed Loonat says conflict already started brewing a day after his election when members of the CPF felt the election “did not go their way”.

People’s Post previously reported on the earlier failed CPF structure, which led to a re-election in which Loonat was elected (“New CPF chair, secretary”, 12 May).

“According to my knowledge, the objections that came after the meeting came from an individual. However, these objections were not supposed to be entertained in the first place, because objections were supposed to come from an organisation,” Loonat explains.

He adds he feels “left out in the cold” by the Forum as he believes he only has the best interest of the community at heart.

“In my short-lived term I was able to assist with and go on raids with the police. I also ensured that the organisation of our neighbourhood watches was done,” Loonat says.

The activist, who says he was labelled a “trouble-maker” after his appointment, adds he had many plans in place to eradicate crime in the area.

According to Loonat, a re-election will now have to take place again due to the structure falling apart for the second time.

“Whoever serves on the CPF represents the voices of the 12 000 people in its community. Why is this being jeopardised by a few individuals who are doing it for all the wrong reasons?” Loonat asks.

He feels the people who pushed him from his position prefer another candidate who was also nominated on the election evening.

“I do not understand why they are going though these lengths. Before I moved up to provincial level I served as the CPF chair in this organisation and we were one of the top CPF structures in the country.

“Today that is the opposite and we can be regarded as one of the worst structures,” he says.

Loonat also claims members of the CPF executive were instrumental in his removal.

Yvonne Adams, deputy chairperson of the CPF, says the claims are unfounded.

“We did not fight him. According to my knowledge, the re-election was deemed null and void. We are volunteers who are in positions to serve our community in partnership with the police,” Adams says.

Adams confirms the next election is on Saturday 27 June. Four available positions will have to be elected.

Provincial minister of the department of community safety Dan Plato confirms the Lansdowne CPF election during last year.

“We conducted the CPF elections last year and the results have been positive. Our partnership with the IEC ensured free, fair and democratic elections which assisted in professionalising CPFs and to promote good relations between the police and the community,” Plato says.

He adds the responsibility to “validate the outcome of the CPF elections has been delegated to the CPF general meeting task team, which comprises provincial police and the department.”

Plato says of the 150 CPF general meetings which were jointly facilitated since September last year, a few were instructed via the police command structure to redo their elections owing to the fact that they did not comply with the prescripts as set out in the “uniform constitution for CPFs and boards in the Western Cape”.

Plato says in the case where CPF members resigned, special meetings were held.

“In the case of Lansdowne CPF, three members resigned. A special meeting was held and the outcome was submitted to the task team for verification,” Plato explains.

“Over and above this due process, the task team received two complaints from members of the community on the legitimacy of the process followed. This prompted an investigation in order to respond to these allegations. The outcome is that the elections were not in compliance with the applicable prescripts, because two unregistered organisations were allowed to cast their votes,” Plato says.

For this reason, the task team declared the results of this special meeting null and void and a new date was set for re-election through the provincial police office.

“The CPF plays an integral role in our communities and we need to keep politics out of their structures.

“It is too much of an important service being provided to communities for anyone to be allowed to hijack it with a political agenda.

“It is therefore imperative that we follow all procedures and validate all results to ensure that the CPF remains in service of the entire community it is representing and does not serve the agendas of an elected few,” Plato concludes.


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