Neighbourhood watch looks back at the past year

At the Green Point Neighbourhood Watch AGM last week they discussed issues and priorities for the year ahead

The ongoing concerns about the squatter camps at the Quarry, litigation and crime were among the key issues discussed at the Green Point Neighbourhood Watch (GPNW) on Wednesday March 24.

The meeting heard that the neighbourhood watch had adopted a new constitution last year.

Chairman Peter Flentov said they’ve always aimed to reduce crime in the Green Point area and build a safer community by working with the police, Law Enforcement and local security companies to implement responsible and effective community-level crime prevention initiatives.

However he said, they have added to their constitution that their mission includes holding SAPS and other law enforcement organisations accountable to the community.

Sharing challenges they encountered in 2020, Mr Flentov said their radio holders had left the area after the announcement of the lockdown in March last year. “This had a negative impact on us, and at the time, we also lost our active SAPS members who were placed to lend a hand on the Cape Flats,” he said.

He said the neighbourhood watch and Avenue Response had introduced Buzzer, an app that can be used by residents to call for help in emergencies and to report suspicious activity and other crime-related incidents in their areas.

Mr Flentov said he and the neighbourhood watch were being sued by an ex member and that the case had been postponed.

He said the other party wanted them to agree to drop the case when the individual realised they would have to be cross-examined on the stand, but the watch’s legal representative had advised to continue.

“The person agreed to drop their cost order and wanted us to drop our application to overturn the order that we had previously agreed to. Our attorney advised us not to drop the case but rather have it postponed indefinitely. So that is where that rests right now,” he said.

Former chairman of GPNW, Charles Scheltema, said the court cases had had a negative impact on the executive committee and the new chairman, describing them as a “distraction” to the neighbourhood watch. He added that Mr Flentov had also been harassed on social media.

Residents also wanted to know the plans for the Quarry as they felt most crime in the area emanated from there.

When resident Mnadi Bestbier told ward councillor Ian McMahon that the best gift he could give residents was to sort out the Quarry, Mr McMahon said they were working as hard as they could to get Law Enforcement to conduct crime prevention operations at the Quarry.

He said he planned to work with Ward 77 councillor, Brandon Golding and law enforcement officials to get answers to how issues at the Quarry would be addressed. “I encourage residents to also get involved in initiatives because if we’re to expect the City to do everything, we might be disappointed,” he said.