SA goldminers get War Room against crime

Springs sets up its own War Room against ever-increasing crime

21 April 2011 –Battling against ever increasing crime, the taxpayers in the gold-mining town of Springs have set up their own War Room. Their unpaid citizen-patrols cover an area of about 20km² in Selection Park, Clydesdale, Edelweiss, Daggafontein, Struisbult and outlying smallholdings. The local police only has twelve police-vehicles on patrol and as in other many South African communities, the local taxpayers are volunteering enmasse to help police carry out their jobs.

The War Room walls are covered in detailed maps and a radio to communicate with members on patrol. The CPF hopes to purchase 300 security cameras to monitor the Selection Park area.
(based on source: Amanda van den Barg, journalist in Springs)

Springs goldmining town South Africa

SPRINGS station commander BrigJeshopShabangu_slammed by CPF for WEAKEST LINK Late last year the CPF was embroiled in a row about the competence of the local station commander, Brig. Jeshop Shabangu, left, describing him as ‘the weakest link in our fight against crime’ after he had failed to replace the police-coordinator who opens the new dockets for trauma-victims: thus leaving these serious crimes uninvestigated.

 Springs CPF Koos vdBerg_Darryl Deetlefs_Sarel vVuuren_KleinbooiMahlangu_Brig Shabangu_Shongwe However by the end of November, the CPF and Shabangu had made peace, left, and crime-prevention has become their primary focus.

This week, Louis Hennings, chairman of the CPF, said he has big plans for the War Room – which will also be used for their monthly meetings with police. He even hpes to do away with the unpaid-volunteer citizens’ patrols completely – using CCTV cameras instead to monitor the Selection Park area. According to Hennings, around 300 security cameras will be installed throughout the suburb, all of which will be linked to plasma screen TVs in the War Room.

“We will also use the room for disaster management, should anything ever happen, as we already have the radio set up which makes co-ordinating people in emergencies a lot easier,” says Hennings.Hennings hopes to have the cameras set up within the next three months.

The War Room will also be used for their monthly meetings with police, and with the maps being used to plot criminal activity, any special operations with police will also be organised from there.
“As it stands, our members take up shifts to patrol the whole of Selection Park and the cameras would make a huge difference to our own efficiency,” he says.

 Springs SAPS commander Brig Jeshop Shabangu – ‘weakest link in fight against crime in Sept 2010’:

Springs SAPS commander Brig. Jeshop Shabangu on 20 Sept 2010 was still taken to task by the local Citizen-Policing-Forum – who put a vote of no confidence against him after he had failed to replace the VEC-centre’s officer while she went on maternity leave.

Trauma-victims dockets not opened

The CPF-volunteers running the Victim Empowerment Centre (VEC) at the Springs Police Station accused the station-commander of not replacing the VEC-centre’s police-cordinator after she went on maternity leave. Thus trauma-victims’ dockets were not being opened and the rape-and violence cases against them not investigated.

CPF chairman Paulos Dube accused Brig Shabangu of having made no effort  to replace the officer. In a letter addressed to the National Commissioner , the Minister and Deputy Minister of Police, the CPF listed a number of allegations – stating that they were receiving no support from Brig Shabangu or the Springs police.

They noted that while VEC volunteers still assisted police with rape– or domestic violence cases, its secretary Judith Williamson felt that they could do so much more. Dube agreed, saying the ‘value of the VEC to the community was immeasurable; and that the support they offered to victims of rape and domestic violence gave the police a better chance of making an arrest.

Shabangu did not consider rape and domestic assaults as crimes?

Shabangu disagreed, complaining that his police-station only had twelve police-vehicles, that they were ‘understaffed and our main core function was crime prevention, something we have to focus on first.”

Springs’ policing is divided into six sectors; each sector has two vehicles which patrol 24/7. Shabangu also was accused of having chased away a group of foreign Grootvlei miners after they had applied for signed affidavits from the police in order to renew their work permits. The CPF said ‘they could have been helped by the police.” However, Shabangu claimed that the ‘miners were asking the police to do something illegal, namely to extend their work permits’.

About Adriana Stuijt
Retired South African-Dutch journalist formerly Sunday Times Johannesburg

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