The creation of a car watch team by Ward 23 councillor Nora Grose and Table View Neighbourhood Watch (TVNW) has met with a cool response from some who question how its members are vetted.
The formalised car watch group was announced on the Ward 23 Facebook page on Sunday October 16. The group has 12 members and is seen as a way to keep the community safe while creating work.
The TVNW will vet the car watchers and issue them with identity cards and bibs.
The TVNW will also do regular patrols with law enforcement and SAPS to check on the watchers.
“Most residents, be they local or visitors to our area, have reached a point of frustration with car guards,” said Ms Grose. “Wherever you go, you are almost certainly confronted with beggars posing as car guards, and, in some instances, it has happened where motorists or visitors are verbally abused by these so-called guards.
“This gave rise to the initiative to establish a ‘car watch’ under the management of the local neighbourhood watch in Ward 23.
“The idea of having a ‘car watch’ is really a way of letting the community know they can feel safe and that their cars will be safe,” said Ms Grose.
However, Table View resident Martin Horn posted on the Table View Frustrated Ratepayers’ page, claiming some of the guards who are part of the programme have pending criminal cases and many have been found guilty of criminal offences.
“This initiative was not discussed with SAPS, the CPF or any armed response company. Actually, one of the people in this very picture (shown on the group) appeared in court just last week. His case was postponed,” said Mr Horn.
Arno Pieterse said: “I am still of the opinion though, that this is the reason private security companies exist, where individuals that qualify, can be gainfully employed, while receiving a proper salary.
“‘Donations’ and ‘hand-outs’ for parking cars is counter productive and rapidly opens the doors to the same old illegal ‘car guarding’ issues many areas face.”
Others praised the initiative, saying it would benefit the community.
Liza Wilson, posting on the Ward 23 Facebook page, said: “Fantastic, well done guys!” and Lawrence Ireland said: “I will happily support this.” Hazel van Eeden said: “Great initiative that can add a lot of value.”
Ms Grose said there would be repercussions for car watch members involved in crime. She said watch members would go through a stringent vetting process.
“If they have committed crimes, the vetting process that will be done by neighbourhood watch and SAPS will reveal such.”