LESS than 10 members of the public managed to attend the Port Alfred “accountability imbizo”, held at the old station building on Tuesday afternoon, causing it to be postponed to a later date.
Among those who managed to attend were councillors, businesspeople and representatives of organisations such as SPCA and the Community Police Forum (CPF). Representatives from Saps and the various Cacadu district departments were also present.
“There are no members of the community here,” said meeting coordinator, community liaison officer for the Cacadu Department of Safety and Liaison, Miliswa Grootboom.
Port Alfred police station commander, Colonel Lizette Zeelie, said she had commissioned her officers to post notices of the meeting at strategic points in town including at ATMs and at the Post Office. However she admitted no notifications had been given to the media, and this might have led to the lack of attendees.
TotT only learned of the meeting when a member of the public alerted us on Tuesday morning. Zeelie later phoned the TotT offices to confirm it was on.
Grootboom waited until 2.15pm before asking if any more members of the public would be attending. A discussion ensued regarding the meeting’s purpose and the inadequate notification given.
The invitation was said to be vague and needed to be better described to encourage public participation.
“There doesn’t seem to be any specific purpose to the meeting,” said SPCA representative Steve Venter. He suggested the meeting should be postponed until another date.
It was also mooted two meetings be held, one for older residents who might not be available to attend an evening meeting, and another for the general public later the same day.
The representatives from the various departments based in Grahamstown suggested that an evening meeting was inconvenient as they would have to travel in the dark. However, after several people in the meeting pointed out that such meetings must be arranged to suit the residents and not the governmental departments, it was agreed to hold a single meeting on Tuesday June 26 at 5.30pm at the Civic Centre.
Ward 10 councillor Ross Purdon said he would ensure the hall was available for the meeting at no cost.