Charles Scheltema, Green Point
As outgoing chair of the Green Point Neighbourhood Watch (GPNW), I wish to recognise and pay tribute to the dedicated work of our founder and long-standing chair, Bradley Braithwaite.
There were times when he almost single-handedly ran the GPNW.
When he left Cape Town in 2018, he donated approximately R60 000 to the GPNW, primarily to keep our GPNW radio network functional and operational.
We will remain indebted to him for a long time for ensuring the success of the GPNW.
When Mr Braithwaite left a small group of dedicated and committed people formed a new exco and we had regular monthly meetings and engagements with SAPS and other role-players in the GP community with some highlights and some lowlights.
One of the highlights was a fund-raising project for an LPR (License Plate Recognition) and overview camera system, to go live soon. We also engaged with SAPS in various visible policing actions from crime walks and assisting with roadblocks to other interactions.
Membership numbers grew by about 17% per annum (from an admittedly low base) and more has to be done to grow a committed GPNW membership.
We sent out two newsletters during 2019 informing members of our activities and about the crime situation in Green Point; also here more also needs to be done in order to improve communications with our members.
Our cash flow has improved (income roughly doubled) and expenses were kept under control. Some of the GPNW’s objectives i.e. to reduce the fear of crime and to work closely with SAPS and security providers in our area and to promote the reporting of incidents and to be the “eyes and ears” of SAPS also materialised. We strived to become a community problem solver and not be complainers and to respect and be respected by our community.
A final highlight was the revision of our GPNW Constitution (with the assistance of a community lawyer); this was adopted unanimously at the recent annual general meeting.
A lowlight was the fact that the GPNW and the chairperson received an irregular ex parte court interdict in October 2019 from a well-known GPNW member after the exco reprimanded him and terminated his membership for repeatedly undermining the objectives of the GPNW.
This matter has taken up a lot of unproductive time and energy and unnecessary costs.
Our lawyer suggested we re-instate the member, which was done and in November an offer was made by the GPNW exco to withdraw the case and to remove it from the court roll, as a date was set for March 6; the member refused the offer.
Shortly before the recent GPNW AGM (at end of February 2020) the GPNW exco received an offer from the member’s advocate to withdraw the case and each party accepted cost – the GPNW exco accepted this offer without any prejudice.
Another lowlight is also the fact that a small group of GPNW members and some residents continue to demonstrate the actions of “ ABC of Victims”, ie they Accuse, Blame and Complain; their actions (mostly unsavoury and counterproductive comments on social media) clearly divide the GP community and it undermines everything the GPNW tries to achieve.
These actions violate the code of conduct outlined in the GPNW constitution and the Western Cape Provincial Constitution and Code of Conduct for Neighbourhood Watch Structures.
As outgoing chair, I wish to challenge this negative group to change their non-productive behaviour and rather to use their energy in a positive way and to get involved and “do something” to improve and unite the community, instead of dividing it.
Finally, I wish to thank the exco of the GPNW most sincerely for their commitment and positive support during my tenure as vice-chairman and chairman over the last few years.
To the new chairman and exco, I wish you everything of the best to take the GPNW to the next level and in so doing to improve the lives of all members of the Green Point community and to continue to strive for a low crime area and where all crimes are reported and criminals are brought to book.
Working together, we can be stronger.