I WOULD like to add some balance to the statements made by (and to) the press which emerged in the completely unjust article, "Crime forum boss’s past convictions” (June 8).
If the Community Police Forum (CPF) had merely suspended Alan Mounter pending the outcome of his appeal, as stated, I doubt that anyone would have taken issue. However CPF chairman John Preller demonstrated extremely poor leadership and judgment in the way he suspended Mounter with no warning, having made no attempt at communicating with the community, or even ensuring that our committee knew what was going to happen and could make alternative arrangements for the security of our neighbourhood.
His credibility as someone with the best interests of our community at heart is made questionable by the fact that this matter was discussed with the press before it was discussed with the community.
I was involved from the inception of Richmond Hill Sector Crime Forum, attended the meetings and received the correspondence. At no point was the CPF constitution mentioned, or its contents made known to us.
No mention was ever made of criminal records, past or present, and no-one on the executive (of whom I was one at that time) was ever asked to make any declaration in this regard.
As the CPF chairman, surely the onus should have been on Preller to uphold the CPF constitution when the SCF was set up and when it had a change of committee? Since we were unaware of the clause quoted at our public meeting on Wednesday, based on which Mounter was suspended, surely the CPF and the SAPS should have checked all this at the time?
If this was a simple matter of suspending Mounter while his case was under review, why the calculated public smear campaign, in which The Herald reporter has been a willing pawn? How are we, as a community, expected to trust these people with whom our security is supposed to be of primary concern?
Any intelligent and ethical reporter, when presented with such a one-sided story, would automatically ask himself: "what is the agenda of the person giving me this story” and would seek to hear the other side of the story to present a balanced report. Before issuing opinions to any reporter, the unnamed resident should make sure that he or she knows what he or she is talking about (and again, a reporter with any integrity and competence would confirm the information with other unbiased sources).
So, to clarify the statements by "unnamed resident”:
Firstly, the community voted that a gratuity amounting to 50% of our donations made for the forum should be paid to the chairman because, as quoted in the minutes of April 7 2010, "the floor feels that this level of commitment deserves some form of compensation that goes to the chair in recognition of the very real impact that this level of interaction and vigilance requires. Motion passed unanimously.”
Therefore this was common public knowledge and not the sinister and illegal thing Preller is trying to imply. As it transpires, the running costs were always taken into account first and the chairman received the balance, which was often below 50%.
On one or two occasions, two bowls were handed around at forum meetings, simply to expedite the process, and all funds were then counted together and treated as normal. It was not a case of one for the running costs and one for Mounter, as implied.
Secondly, the article also refers to Mounter’s "well-known letters” to the community. The reason these are popular and well-known is because he has a delightful, humorous, positive way of stating incidents and opinions.
His quip in one of these, to the effect that "if you are one of the few people paying in faithfully to support the entire neighbourhood, your home will be watched more closely” was mentioned completely out of context by someone with an axe to grind and minimal sense of humour. It was never understood by any of us with any intelligence as anything other than one of his humorous quips to encourage more residents to carry the financial burden of securing and cleaning up the neighbourhood.
Shame on you, Preller, SAPS and Wilson, for your attempt at assassinating the character of a compassionate, caring, capable and selfless human being who is absolutely not the "hooligan” you have attempted to portray him!
Sue Hoppe, Richmond Hill, Port Elizabeth
THE assault charge against Alan Mounter is in the public interest because he is the chairman of a local crime forum that is funded with public money. For the same reason, this previous convictions for crimes including theft, perjury, drunk driving and possession of drugs should also not be ignored. The Herald has covered the story in an objective and unbiased manner, and will continue to do so for the remainder of Mounter's legal proceedings. – The Editor