AfriForum held a country-wide resistance patrol on 6 June 2020 after neighbourhood watches encountered fierce opposition from some SAPS members to resume their activities during level 3. Level 3 regulations stipulate that anybody can leave their house in order to render a specific service, excluding activities listed in Table 2 of these regulations. Lt Gen Fannie Masemola, Deputy Commissioner of Policing, considered AfriForum’s interpretation of the regulations and directed correspondence to all Provincial and Divisional Commissioners.
After the level 3 regulations came into effect, the civil rights organisation was of the opinion that the regulations did not make provision for the exclusion of the activities of neighbourhood, smallholding and farm watches. AfriForum was so convinced of its interpretation, that they undertook to assist any neighbourhood, smallholding or farm watches with legal assistance if their members were arrested simply for safeguarding their respective communities. AfriForum’s neighbourhood watches resumed their activities and started patrolling their areas.
“AfriForum believes the safety of communities should be a priority. Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has proved her incompetency by failing to consider communities’ safety as a primary concern. The fact that AfriForum has to exert pressure to convince authorities of the necessity of neighbourhood, smallholding and farm watches to promote safety within communities, as well as the importance of them resuming their duties, just confirms this,” says Ian Cameron, AfriForum’s Head of Community Safety.
“The government and the SAPS’s interpretation of the current regulations is still not completely accurate, since they reportedly expect neighbourhood watches to have permits to deliver services to their respective communities. However, this doesn’t correspond with the regulations – they will only need permits when they have to cross district, metro and provincial borders to render their services,” he concludes.