Call to boycott imbizo

2016-11-15 06:00

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Community safety organisations and stakeholders in Grassy Park are concerned about allegations brought against the commander of Grassy Park Police Station.

This comes after two staff members of the station lodged a complaint of crimen injuria against the station commander.

Colonel Shawn van Wyk recently brushed off the allegations, saying it is a “smear campaign”.

Van Wyk was not available for comment at time of going to print, but safety organisations in Grassy Park are demanding answers before, they say, trust is restored in their police station and its management.

The Voice of Parkwood organisation has decided to boycott a police imbizo planned for sector 1 residents tomorrow (Wednesday).

Voice of Parkwood chairperson Paul Phillips says if the meeting goes ahead they plan to demonstrate at the proposed meeting.

“Based on the internal challenges the commander and management are currently faced with, the proposed imbizo will be deemed ineffective, will not serve its purpose and will only be of relevance for the record and deemed by concerned stakeholders as another formality,” Phillips says.

He adds the imbizo will “further dismantle community relations as it will be perceived as another talk shop”.

“The foreseen outcome will only benefit criminal elements and their activities as the expected outcome will be perceived by them as a divided and dysfunctional community structure and relationship with the police,” Phillips says.

The Grassy Park Community Policing Forum (CPF) has called for a commission of inquiry into the police station.

“The Grassy Park CPF executive committee noted the allegations against the station commander of our police station with great concern,” CPF spokesperson Philip Bam says in a statement. “These allegations appeared in media reports recently and relate in the main to matters of the management style of the station commander. Over time, staff members at the station also mentioned their unhappiness to CPF members, causing concern about the morale at the station.”

Bam adds that the “low morale” at the station would impact negatively on service delivery in the area. “Many other allegations about corruption are doing the rounds and understandably it can be career-limiting for concerned police officials to officially report their suspicions,” Bam adds.

“There are many service delivery complaints, with residents claiming no police response days after a complaint was lodged, even in the case where perpetrators are on the property or in the area for apprehension. The CPF understands that these concerns were previously brought to the attention of the police cluster and provincial office. In all of these, the CPF had not been informed either by the station commander or the cluster and provincial police structures,” Bam explains.

Acknowledging the complaints regarding service delivery that will be investigated, Bam says they are concerned that there is no indication that an investigation is being done regarding the complaints by staff.

“The CPF executive could no longer ignore these allegations and considered a number of options of actions to take. After due consideration, the CPF executive decided to draw the attention of the police authorities to the problems as well as the provincial community safety ministry. Realising that because of the power relationships and the fear of victimisation, the CPF executive committee now calls for a judicial commission of inquiry into the state of policing at Grassy Park and the conduct of the station commander. Concerned staff and the public needs assurances of protection to give evidence without fear of intimidation,” Bam says.

“We believe a judicial commission is the only way to clear up the issues and get the Grassy Park police station on an even keel,” he says.


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