The community of Mitchells Plain today witnessed the launch of the Justice of the Peace and the Commissioners of Oaths (JOCOP) forum. This initiative was started in partnership with the SAPS in Mitchells Plain in order to allow members of the forum to assist the community of Mitchell’s plain without having to wait for the SAPS to be available for assistance.
According to JOCOP chairperson Jasmine Harris, the planning for this initiative started 20 years ago and thus the launch has been waiting a long time for the programs implementation.
“I saw the need in Mitchell’s plain, especially at the police station, people stand in long queues waiting for affidavits and certifications. I approached Brigadier Cass Goolam and said that we have people in the community to do this job and the police will then be better able to fight crime,” Harris explained.
Brigadier Goolam has been assisting Harris with the implementation of this project. As a member of the JOCOP, the individual will have powers to provide those who are awaiting a signature for an affidavit with the required signature.
“A justice of the peace has so many powers, people no longer need to wait on a court or wait on a warrant to have a drug den searched; a JOCOP member will have the authority to issue such a warrant, however with certain conditions attached to it,” Harris went further.
“If a community member knows the whereabouts of drugs in an individual’s house then one has to provide an affidavit to have a warrant issued and the affidavit must be very specific as to where the drugs are located in said house.”
Justice of the Peace members have ten powers which include search and seizures, for example the confiscation of drugs and the signing of warrants and affidavits.
Police in the area will now be given a workshop to brief them on the roles of a justice of the peace.
“We as justice of the peace can work hand with the police to overcome issues faced by police and the community if they just know how to make use of our services,” Harris continued.
Brigadier Goolam says that this initiative will greatly improve efficiency at the precincts located in the area.
“We have been getting a lot of complaints about the queues and we serve a dense population most of our work is dealing with affidavits and dealing with commission of oaths, however our core function is crime reporting so the advent of this forum will assist us in lightening the workload with regards to administration work,” Goolam concluded. VOC (Umarah Hartley)