Mitchell’s Plain saw the official beginning of a new forum that will aid police in service delivery on Friday last week.
The Justice of the Peace and Commissioner of Oaths (Jopco) forum held its launch in conjunction with the 16 Days of Activism campaign, which runs until Thursday.
The members of the forum have already elected their executive committee.
The event was also supported by local court officials, the department of justice, ward councillor Sheval Arendse, who also serves on the forum, police and community members.
Jasmine Harris, chairperson of the forum, explains that the members have an important role to play. “We provide essential services to the community and bring them closer to the residents. I hope that the forum grows from strength to strength and that we strive to provide a service the community deserves,” she says.
Harris says the partnerships the forum members are creating are of utmost importance. “Together we can make our community a safer place,” she says.
“We must bring peace and look at how we can solve matters in a good manner.”
This is the second attempt at initiating this forum.
Harris acknowledged Ivan Remedies, the original initiator of the forum twenty years ago.
According to the department of justice, a justice of the peace possesses all the powers of a magistrate, except for the power of sentencing.
Any commissioner of oaths may, within the area which he serves, administer an oath or affirmation or take a solemn or attested declaration from any person.
He may not administer an oath or affirmation or take a solemn or attested declaration if he is prohibited to do it in a specific matter in terms of some regulation.
Another exception is when he has reason to believe that the person in question is unwilling to make an oath or affirmation or such a declaration.
Brigadier Cass Goolam, commander of Mitchell’s Plain police station, says the forum will play an important role in alleviating pressure at the station.
“Most of the complaints we get at the customer service centre is for certifications. We have a limited number of resources at the station and most of them are being used for certifications,” he says.
There are about 50 members in Mitchell’s Plain who qualify as part of the forum.
Goolam says since the initiative was started in June, there have been reduced queues and fewer complaints. The other reason the forum is important is that the members can take their services directly to the community, he says.
Harris has thanked Goolam for his support.