DoCS, SAPS and IEC sign CPF Election Partnership
Statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
Today is a significant landmark in the professionalisation of Community Policing Forums (CPFs) in the province and another step towards ensuring the interests of our communities remain the main concern when it comes to effective safety service delivery.
A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) has been signed between the Western Cape Department of Community Safety (DoCS) and the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC’s) Western Cape Provincial Office, in partnership with the South African Police Service (SAPS).
The agreement stipulates the roles and functions for the IEC, DoCS, and SAPS, to ensure that free, fair and democratic elections for the various Community Policing Forum (CPF) elections are conducted in the province.
New CPFs, Cluster CPF Boards will be elected between now and the end of the year and a new Provincial CPF Board will be elected early next year to serve their various communities for a five year term.
The agreement between the IEC, as the custodian of free, fair and democratic elections in South Africa, and the Department of Community Safety in partnership with the SAPS will help ensure transparency and the professionalisation of the CPF elections in order to ensure a better service is provided to communities.
As part of this agreement, the IEC will administer the elections of the various CPF structures in the province by:
- Attending and monitoring identified hotspot CPF AGMs, as identified by both DoCS and SAPS;
- Scrutinise and endorse the membership list in conjunction with DoCS and SAPS;
- Assist the Department with preparation of the ballot templates;
- Provide certain electoral material such as ballot boxes and security checks; and
- Observe the voting, counting and results processes.
It is important that CPFs must always remain community focused, free of political interference and gate-keeping, where only the interests of a few are served. The ultimate purpose of Community Policing Forums is to serve the interest of the entire community in promoting good relations between the SAPS and the community. These forums are an invaluable oversight mechanism to ensure that the people of the province receive quality safety services.
In the past, problems have been experienced with certain CPFs not promoting cooperation or improved communication between the police and the entire community but rather serving their own interests and agendas through the forum.
To help ensure that CPFs serve the entire community, it is extremely important that each CPF, their members,, cluster CPFs and ultimately the provincial CPF board understands their specific role and mandate.
The objectives of community police forums and boards are clearly set out in the South African Police Services Act 68 of 1995, Chapter 7, Section 18(1), which states that:
“The Service shall, in order to achieve the objectives contemplated in section 215 of the Constitution, liaise with the community through community police forums and area and provincial community police boards, in accordance with sections 19, 20 and 21, with a view to:
- establishing and maintaining a partnership between the community and the Service;
- promoting communication between the Service and the community;
- promoting co-operation between the Service and the community in fulfilling the needs of the community regarding policing;
- improving the rendering of police services to the community at national, provincial, area and local levels;
- improving transparency in the Service and accountability of the Service to the community; and
- promoting joint problem identification and problem-solving by the Service and the community.”
For more information on the CPF elections and updates on area specific Annual General Meetings (AGMs) to be held, please visit the dedicated page on the department’s website or sms “CPF ELECTIONS” to 35395 (sms charged at R1.00).
I thank all the role-players for their commitment to transparent elections which will result in effective and functioning CPFs in the Western Cape.
I urge communities to become involved in their local Community Policing Forum and for all suitable candidates to avail themselves for election to their respective CPF. Safety is everyone’s responsibility and our systems and structures are only as successful as the individuals who avail themselves to partner with the police, the department and the community to make our areas safer.
Cell: 079 694 1113