Dear Mr Preller
By now it is common knowledge that the Richmond Hill community passed a vote of no confidence in you and some of the members of the Humewood Community Policing forum executive on 7th November 2012 and we trust that this will not come as a surprise to you.
Ever since you suspended Alan Mounter as chairman of the Richmond Hill Sector Crime Forum our relationship with you has been in a downward spiral, because of what we can only describe as your lack of leadership and positive engagement with the Richmond Hill community and its leaders.
The reason that we have resorted to this open letter is as a result of your continued passive refusal to communicate directly with us, or to respond to any of our correspondence, or to take a leadership role in ending this dispute so that we can all move forward in our fight against crime to make Richmond Hill a clean and safe neighbourhood to live and work in.
Look around you Mr Preller, Richmond Hill is undergoing major revitalisation and it is not the community it was five years ago when the criminals freely roamed the streets. This improvement has happened as a result of the resolve of the community to make a difference in our fight against crime and to “claim back” our area and increased investor confidence in the area.
Would you like to see Richmond Hill regress to what it was?
If not then please explain why you are so intent on pressing frivolous criminal charges against five members of the community because of the bakkie we purchased with our money, to clean-up our community and to be used for neighbourhood watch patrols to keep our area safe? You must be aware of the fact that the representative from the Department of Safety and Liaison confirmed to us that the community was perfectly entitled to use the funds that it provided to purchase a bakkie the way it did?
We cannot see what purpose will be served by prosecuting individuals who have sacrificed a significant amount of time, effort and money to make the RHSCF the success it is, especially since no crime was committed.
What do you hope to achieve from this action?
Will it contribute to a reduction in the rate of crime in the area?
Has it even occurred to you that if the charges you are laying against these individuals succeed or fail the rift between you and the community will not be miraculously mended?
Get real Mr Preller, the Richmond Hill community should be lauded for the proactive stance it has taken with the purchase of its own bakkie and be actively supported by both the CPF and the SAPS to get it operational. Yet we have been told by Brig Koll that we may not use it for neighbourhood watch patrols – but on what authority? Perhaps you can answer that question?
Through your actions you have demonstrated that you have another agenda, which is clearly at variance with the interests of the Richmond Hill community.
You also seem to be in denial and appear to have taken the view that the RHSCF is dysfunctional, but we can assure you that we are alive and well and have revitalised our neighbourhood watch, with the assistance of the assigned SAPS officers and regular patrols are being conducted.
Instead of fighting us, you and your executive, Mr Preller should have been a part of this process, so as to give effect to the objectives set out in the SA Police Service Act, which are aimed at:
- 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.
What have you been doing in Richmond Hill to achieve these goals Mr Preller?
As far as we can see your actions, and those of your executive, have only served to polarise positions and have not contributed anything to bring the dispute to an end.
Under the circumstances we believe that you have betrayed our trust and therefore stand by our vote of no confidence in you and appeal to the SAPS to supply the leadership we need to go forward.
Richmond Hill Community as represented by the members of the Richmond Hill Sector Crime Forum and the Richmond Hill Residents Association.