CPF dispute over local elections

The Kraaifontein Community Policing Forum (CPF) chairman is concerned that members will have to step aside from their posts if they are planning to run as candidates in the upcoming local government elections on Wednesday August 3.

Kraaifontein CPF chairman, Mawethu Sila, said they had received a letter on Monday June 20, which requests that would-be candidates should step aside from their roles in the CPF until August 4. While they claim the letter came from former Kraaifontein CPF deputy secretary, Lesley Ashton, now chairwoman of the Tygerberg CPF cluster, she points out that the letter came from provincial police.

Mr Sila registered his independent candidacy on Thursday June 2 after lengthy negotiations with provincial ANC leaders about their councillors’ list for the municipal elections collapsed.

Mr Sila said the Kraaifontein CPF had been in the process of responding to the letter, also addressing it to the provincial police and asking them to intervene. Mr Sila added that there had been nothing in the CPF constitution that stops its members from contesting the elections.

Mr Sila also questioned how Ms Ashton had become elected chairwoman of the cluster at an annual general meeting in February, while she had been facing a disciplinary process with the Kraaifontein CPF at the time.

The Kraaifontein CPF had been absent at the annual general meeting (AGM) where leaders of CPFs from Goodwood, Brackenfell and Edgemead elected her as chairwoman.

He said the process should not have gone ahead without him as the chairman, particularly in a vote involving one of his colleagues at the Kraaifontein CPF.

He said he had been busy “at the last minute” on that day.

Ms Sila said the least Ms Ashton could have done was to be honest about the disciplinary process that hung over her head. He said due processes had not been followed and now there was almost nothing the Kraaifontein CPF could do about it because she is the incumbent chairwoman.

“The only platform we can raise that, is at another AGM or at a public accountability meeting.”

Speaking to Northern News, Ms Ashton said she did not pen the letter, does not know about it but thinks members should stand aside from CPF duties until after the elections.

She said at the AGM, hosted at the Kraaifontein police station, where she was elected, and at several other meetings, the Kraaifontein CPF had been absent without reporting and only came to one meeting.

By bringing up the allegations that led to her disciplinary hearing, the Kraaifontein CPF had been “trying to rack up history”, Ms Ashton said.

She said the disciplinary process had not been followed through because it “wasn’t properly executed” and had since been closed by Brackenfell police cluster commander, Brigadier Moses Memela.

Sean McCleland, deputy chairman for the cluster board and Brackenfell CPF chairman, said the statement that members could not run for office is incorrect. “Correctly, the directive stated that members of the CPF executive committees would stand down from their respective positions on the CPF executive if they so wish to run for office in the upcoming local elections,” he said.

Mr McCleland explained that the CPF provincial constitution outlines that the CPF should remain “100 percent non-political, and no political agenda can be recognised within the CPF executive”.

He said the provincial CPF board, along with statutory members of the executive, had issued the directive, expressly stating that members of the CPF who wished to contest the upcoming local elections, step down from the roles “to protect the integrity of the CPF executive and realign himself/herself as a co-opted member” after the elections are over, Mr McCleland said.

“Once the election is over, if the person has not been elected into a position of office he may then again make himself available to take up his post within the executive if it has not been filled already,” he said.

Asked if Ms Ashton’s “outstanding” disciplinary processes had rendered her an illegitimate chairwoman, Mr McCleland said it had been declared at an executive meeting last November that the disciplinary process had been “flawed”.

He said that the previous cluster chairperson had not applied due diligence and had not applied the correct processes.

“It was also found that the disciplinary process had taken longer than the prescribed six-month period, and therefore any action, implication or process was null and void and did not apply,” Mr McCleland said.

In responding to the Kraaifontein’s CPF’s accusations that she had been “badmouthing” the organisation, among other charges, Mr McCleland said it would be a “pointless” exercise to “delve in detail into the matter”, which has been closed since last November.

“It is also reasonable to state that an agreement was reached between Ms Ashton and the outgoing Kraaifontein CPF chairman, Mr Sila, under the instruction of then cluster commander Brigadier Memela, and all parties agreed to renew and move forward in the relationship, as respective representatives of the community within the Tygerberg cluster,” Mr McCleland said.

Brackenfell police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Erica Crous, said a Northern News query had been forwarded to the relevant person at the precinct, but had not not been responded to at the time of going to print.