Crime forum boss’s past convictions

Gareth Wilson

SUSPENDED Richmond Hill Crime Forum chairman Alan Mounter, who has spearheaded various crime prevention campaigns in the Nelson Mandela Bay suburb, has six previous convictions similar to the offences he claimed to be combating, court documents reveal.

Up until his suspension last week Mounter, 51, was also receiving a stipend for providing security services – responding to residents’ emergency calls – which is in direct contravention of the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority Act of 2001 which requires paid security personnel to be registered, which Mounter admitted he was not.

Mounter, who ran the community-driven Richmond Hill neighbourhood watch I-Patrol project and is widely known for his e-mail newsletters, was suspended after being found guilty of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm by the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court two weeks ago.

But outraged residents have sent numerous e-mails backing him, saying they want him reinstated as chairman. Mounter’s suspension stems from the assault of Luyanda Msengana, who was squatting in an abandoned building in Central. Mounter was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for five years, against which he is appealing.

Official court documents from the national criminal record centre – seen by The Herald – reveal he has six previous convictions.

In 1980 he was convicted in Pretoria of two counts of theft and, according to the document, “making conflicting statements”. He was given a suspended sentence or an option of paying a fine.

A year later, also in Pretoria, he was found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol and, months later, for “possession or use of a prohibited dependence-producing drug or plant”.

In 1992 Mounter was convicted again, in Port Elizabeth, for driving under the influence of alcohol and given a fine and suspended sentence.

In 1993, he was re-arrested in Cape Town for, again, “possession or use of a prohibited dependence-producing drug or plant” and given a R300 fine or 30 days’ imprisonment.

Three years later, he was detained in Port Elizabeth for reckless and negligent driving. He was later convicted and given a suspended sentence.

Mounter’s suspension has led forum officials to request an internal forensic audit on funds donated by residents towards the project. Other forum documents reveal that every month since December 2010 funds of between R900 and R5000 were withdrawn from the crime forum account, under the title “chairman gratuity”.

According to Richmond Hill residents, on a monthly basis Mounter would send two boxes around during sector crime meetings in an attempt to raise funds.

“One box was for funds for the I-Patrol vehicle and the other for himself,” said a resident who declined to be named. “He does not hide the fact that he is being paid by the community. If you do not pay, you do not get help.”

According to John Preller, chairman of the Community Policing Forum which governs the Richmond Hill forum, internal policy did not allow anyone with a criminal record to serve on the committee.

Mounter said his convictions happened “many years ago. I was young and still growing up.”

He admitted money was paid by the community for his services.

“I do get money from the community for working 24 hours, but it is what they want to give. No one forces anyone to give money.”

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