Know your organisations

2019-05-21 06:01

The Princess Vlei Civic Association is calling on the warring Southfield Neighbourhood Watch (SFNHW) and Southfield Eyes to end hostilities for the betterment of the entire community.

SFNHW and Southfield Eyes, non-profit organisation (NPO) that does charitable work in various areas, have been allegedly at loggerheads over who should do what and over funding.

The association’s acting chairperson Enver Maneveld said there is prevailing confusion in the community around the two structures. This, he says, also contributes to funding and crime reporting.

According to Maneveld, Southfield Eyes is a SFNHW splinter group, however, they still go out to patrol in the area.

“The charity organisation is doing good work and they are registered as an NPO,” said Maneveld, adding that “they can’t patrol. The organisation recognised to help fight crime is the Southfield Neighbourhood Watch,” he says.

Maneveld says they have had discussions with the two parties to seek mutual ground, without any joy.

“What we want to let people know is when giving your donations for security, that must go to Southfield Neighbourhood Watch. When donating to a charity, that goes to Southfield Eyes. There have been instances where people donate to Southfield Eyes and expect security. It is not going to work like that,” he says.

Maneveld called on Southfield Eyes to “stop patrolling” or “join the neighbourhood watch. No one can stop people from patrolling, but making people believe you’re a neighbourhood watch is not good,” he says.

Gregori Bezuidenhoudt, Southfield Eyes operations manager, refuted the claims. He says they have made it clear on their platform and donors that they are not a neighbourhood watch but facilitates crime alerts. “There should be no confusion by residents. We are not accredited by the Department of Community Safety as a safety structure under their auspice,” he says.

Bezuidenhoudt says they offer the community a platform which has about 1200 strong connections to raise crime alerts, medical alerts, services offered, small business advertising and lost pets among other things.

He adds that they also provide a community upliftment platform. “There are projects underway whereby funds are raised to help the community and surrounds, be it feeding schemes, to the primary school in our area ... A few of the projects around safety, such as raising funds for cameras, having a 24/7 patrol vehicle, have not been as successful, yet we continue to do our best to keep these longer-term goals on the radar … ,” he says.

When People’s Post further inquired from Southfield Eyes if raising funds for camera and vehicle patrol was not trampling on what the Watch should be doing, Bezuidenhoudt says it is not specified who should be raising funds. “Our aim is to help. We get voluntary donations and should it happen that we get the money for the patrol vehicle or the camera, the committee will have to sit and decide on the way forward,” he says, adding that they are not in competition with anyone.

Ravena Naidoo chairperson of the Watch says not to sound harsh, but safety lies with them. “We have been trained and accredited to do this work. There are situations where we have to respond to a crime and Southfield Eyes members are there. This adds to the pressure on the team as we have to look after the scene and keep those involved safe and also keep members of the Southfield Eyes safe,” she says.

Naidoo adds that they have tried through various platforms to alert residents of the work they do. “Safety and security lies with the Watch. We have invited Eyes to work with us, extended an olive branch but they still don’t do it. We have also asked them to inform us, should there be any crime alerts but they don’t do it, instead, they respond,” she says.

“I just want to make it clear that we are not in competition. We all have the interests of the community at heart. Those who must fight crime should do that and those who want to do charity work must do that, all for the benefit of our community,” he says.

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