By: Africa News 24-7 Team
JOHANNESBURG- The executive chairperson of the Gauteng Provincial Community Police Board (GPCPB), an important body tasked with among others advising the provincial commissioner and the Department of Community Safety regarding local policing priorities, is a dodgy character who has in the past been in conflict with the law.
Africa News 24-7 can exclusively reveal that GPCPB executive chairperson Jacob Masilela, who has been in his position since 2016, was found guilty of a common assault charge in 2004. In 2016, the same year he was nominated to his position, Masilela found himself in conflict with the law as he was charged again for common assault, the same crime he was convicted of in 2004. However, the case was withdrawn from the court role for unspecified reasons. It remains a mystery how Masilela continues serving in his position when the constitution of the GPCPB clearly states that persons with a criminal record are not eligible to serve on the board.
Africa News 24-7 sent questions to Masilela via WhatsApp. In his initial response, Masilela sent Africa News 24-7 a screenshot showing the withdrawal of his 2016 common assault case. When it was brought to his attention that Africa News 24-7 had seen evidence that he was convicted of common assault in 2004, Masilela got irritated and claimed it was against the law for anyone to conduct a background check on him without his consent. He added that he would not respond until he had seen the response of The Office of the Provincial Commissioner.
In his response Gauteng Deputy Provincial Commissioner Major General Theko Pharasi said the matter of Masilela’s criminal conviction was brought to the attention of the Provincial Commissioner on 20 March this year. “Indeed, he has a criminal record and since then, we are dealing with the matter.” Asked if individuals nominated to the GPCPB were not vetted prior to taking their positions, Pharasi said: “Community Policing Forum members are from the public and are being elected by the public to represent them in the structure and in the normal circumstances, the process starts at the station where they are vetted to check suitability to function optimally in the office.”
Added Pharasi: “It must be taken note that Mr Masilela has been the chairperson of the CPF since 2016. The current administration is considering applying the constitution of the GPCPB clause 9.5.2 which deals with removal from office.” Pharasi disclosed that Masilela had applied for the expungement of his criminal record “and is awaiting the feedback from Department of Justice”.
What is the Gauteng Provincial Community Police Board (GPCPB)?
The GPCPB was established in terms of Chapter 7 of the South African Police Service Act, Act 68 of 1995, and as amended on 28th October 1998 providing a framework for the establishment, functions and control of municipal police services and the South African Police Service Interim Regulations of Community Police Forums and Boards, with the aim of ensuring effective liaison between the South African Police Service (SAPS), Cluster Community Police Boards and Community Police forums in Gauteng.
Its key objectives include among others to establish, promote and maintain public participation and private partnership between the community and the SAPS in the fight against crime and to improve the transparency and accountability of the SAPS to the Community. Its key functions include promoting the accountability of the SAPS to communities and encourage cooperation between communities and the Police Service. The board also advises the Provincial Commissioner and the Department of Community Safety regarding local policing priorities. The board receives and evaluates quarterly reports from cluster boards and submits integrated quarterly reports from the boards to the MEC, the provincial commissioner and the National Community Police Board. The board also participates and informs the relevant provincial legislature committee in their evaluation of the policing services in the province.