Watches in turf feud

A Kraaifontein police sector commander’s name has been drawn into a feud between two neighbourhood watches.

The Department of Community Safety is investigating allegations that a neighbourhood watch has been intimidating members of a break-away group.

According to Kraaifontein Community Police Forum (CPF) chairman Mawethu Sila, the trouble started when a member of Windsor Park Neighbourhood Watch, Gerald Visser, split from the group to form a separate watch for Zoo Park, which had previously fallen under the Windsor Park watch.

Zoo Park and Windsor Park are small areas abutting each other near the Kraaifontein library.

Mr Visser alleges Windsor Park neighbourhood watch members, in cahoots with the police sector commander, started “harassing” him. They had followed him around and deliberately driven by his house with sirens blaring, he claimed.

In a letter to the Northern News, Mr Visser, said Windsor Park watch members had made “civilian participation in Zoo Park NHW quite untenable”.

The CPF and Kraaifontein police station, he said, had tried to resolve the situation. An “intervention” involving the CPF and station commander Brigadier Gerda van Niekerk had been held late last year.

Mr Visser said a “detailed 101 complaint” had also been submitted “regarding what can only be understood as the ‘personal type’ vendetta being maintained by the Sector 5 commander Constable Charl Reilly”.

Sector 5 sub-forum meetings on Thursday February 8 and Wednesday March 22 had also “tried to address” the “intimidatory type behaviour” of the Windsor Park patrollers, he said.

That had led to the Windsor Park patrollers being told by the CPF to “refrain from patrolling, hooting, flashing lights, tailgating and peering over fence walls” in Zoo Park, Mr Visser’s letter said.

Windsor Park Neighbourhood Watch chairwoman Anita Crouse declined to comment citing the pending investigation.

Ewald Botha, spokesman for Community Safety MEC Dan Plato, said the Kraaifontein CPF had alerted the department to the situation.

“There is currently an inquiry under way, which will address this issue, but this has not been finalised yet.”

Mr Sila said the CPF had asked the department to escalate the inquiry so the matter could be resolved.

Questions Northern News sent to the police about allegations made against Constable Reilly were not answered by the time this edition went to print.

The inquiry by Department of Community Safety took place at Kraaifontein police station yesterday, April 4, but the Northern News had not received news of the outcome by the time of going to print.