Loonat hits back

Hanif Loonat
Hanif Loonat
Peter Abrahams/ Son

Hanif Loonat yesterday (Monday) reacted angrily to his ousting as Mitchell’s Plain’s cluster community policing forum (CPF) chairperson.

People’s Post reported last week on our website that Ebrahim Abrahams was elected as the cluster’s interim chairperson at a meeting of the Mitchell’s Plain cluster on Wednesday (“Loonat ousted as CPF cluster chair”, 26 January).

The police stations in the cluster include Grassy Park, Lansdowne, Mitchell’s Plain, Steenberg, Athlone, Lentegeur, Strandfontein and Philippi.

The decision to oust Loonat was supported by seven of the eight stations.

This is not the first time that Loonat has been removed. He was suspended as the chairperson of the Western Cape CPF in 2013 before being reinstated. He was also ousted as Lansdowne CPF chairperson in 2015 three weeks after being elected to the position. He was then re-elected before becoming the Mitchell’s Plain CPF cluster chairperson.

Loonat issued a statement yesterday in which he alleges that the procedures carried out at last week’s meeting were irregular. Allegations levelled against him at the meeting are unfounded, he says.

“I have become aware of deliberations and engagements by a cabal in the Mitchell’s Plain cluster instigated by the chairperson of the provincial CPF board for some time now. I also have reason to believe that there are certain police officers who are complicit in this plot to remove me,” says Loonat.

He regards this as another attempt in a series of attempts to have him removed as the organisation’s chairperson.

“I condemn with contempt the manner in which the current process was executed for the following reasons: The meeting concerned was our ordinary monthly cluster CPF meeting hijacked by the provincial CPF chairperson, Andrew Lyon, who usurped my position as chairperson of the meeting. In spite of my objection and that of the cluster commander, Major-General Abraham Goss, and the provincial visible policing head, General Manci, Lyon ignored our pleas for proper procedures to be followed,” alleges Loonat.

He adds that Lyon was advised by the provincial police’s legal team that the procedures being followed at the time were improper, unconstitutional and illegal.

Loonat says Lyon then proceeded with a new agenda to remove him and that this motion was already agreed upon by the majority of the cluster CPF’s chairpersons.

Loonat says he objected to the letter of allegations which Lyon tabled against him and that this was dismissed by Lyon.

“Lyon then put the document up for a vote and the majority of the members voted in favour of the document. He then immediately called for a nomination for my replacement and it was then decided by a member of the cabal to unconstitutionally fill my position with the deputy chairperson, who is not eligible to serve on the board at all, due to a criminal record. At that point, Lyon concluded the meeting by announcing that henceforth I was no longer the chairperson of the cluster CPF,” Loonat says.

He denies the allegations made in the letter tabled in the meeting, including that Loonat is “manipulative”, “incredibly opportunistic and destructive”. Loonat reacted by saying he has never been recruited or registered as a police informer, while also stating: “It is not in my nature to be manipulative and the views I express relate to my knowledge and experience as a crime fighter.”

Loonat says the “cabal” in the cluster forum has harmed the organisation by showing “absolute contempt” of the CPF’s constitution.

“The cabal is in fact the cause for division and the impeding of the operations of the cluster CPF. I will now officially appeal to have the unconstitutional process and decisions emanating there from to be overturned,” finishes the statement.

Attempts to reach CPF chairpersons who form part of the cluster were unsuccessful at the time of going to print.

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