'Manipulative' community police head in Cape Town being ousted from position

Hanif Loonat. (Tammy Petersen, News24)
Hanif Loonat. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Cape Town - Mitchells Plain cluster community policing forum (CPF) chairperson Hanif Loonat is being ousted from his position for allegedly being manipulative and threatening to tap the phones of other members.

A letter, signed by members of eight Cape Flats community police forums, was written to Loonat on Wednesday calling for his immediate resignation.

The Mitchells Plain area is notorious for gang shootings.

Loonat is now considering his next step.

The decision to have him step down, the letter reads, evolved over "many months and after tough deliberation and thoughtful consultation".

"It is recognised that you have developed a highly manipulative public personality using print, broadcast and social media. It is unfortunate that media outlets and the people who follow you do not know how incredibly opportunistic and destructive you are behind the scenes."

The letter continues that Loonat had caused harm to partnerships and intimidated members who disagreed with him.

"You continue to express views in public forums that represent your own opinions and not those of the collective whose mandate you seem to ignore. Your personal political ambitions have also impacted negatively on us, where we are clearly required to remain non-aligned and apolitical..."

Members 'silence

Loonat has previously stood as a ward candidate for the ANC in Lansdowne, but has expressed his dissatisfaction with the ruling party in recent months.

Among the accusations being made by the letter's signatories is that Loonat has threatened to tap the phones of CPF board members to "expose unsubstantiated claims and allegations to silence members from speaking out", causing divisions within the structure and "paranoid behaviour" which sees anyone who disagrees with him ostensibly being viewed as an enemy.

He was also, in the letter, challenged for making statements to the media without proper CPF mandate and for undermining the provincial CPF board after failing to be elected chairperson.

Loonat, who has been involved in CPFs and volunteer crime-fighting since 1995 both in Johannesburg and Cape Town, said "three generals who didn't become the provincial commissioner" were also behind "this thing" against him.

He said he would demand an inquiry into his removal, accusing a provincial board member of also driving his ousting.

When News24 contacted this member, he refused to comment on the matter, going as far as saying the conversation with the News24 reporter "never happened".

Loonat said he would comment further at a later stage as he was still considering how to proceed.

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