After more than a decade at the helm, Pastor Philip Frans is standing down as chairperson of the Hangberg Neighbourhood Watch.
He will be also be resigning as Hangberg Community Police Forum (CPF) sub-forum chair, and Christopher Strauss, a longtime watch patroller, will be replacing him in both capacities.
“I am stepping down for personal reasons. I believe I need to focus more on my duties as a pastor, but also will be more involved with my cleaning and security business,” he said.
Pastor Frans, 62, has been actively involved with community work since the age of 17, undertaking various roles in George, Belhar, Elsies River and Hout Bay.
He first stood as chairperson of the neighbourhood watch in 2005, recognising there was a dire need for an anti-crime presence in Hangberg.
“My worst experience was being kidnapped in 2006 after a run-in with some criminal elements. There have been many challenges in this community, particularly in terms of drug and alcohol abuse and the crime that comes with that. It’s not easy to deal with those situations,” he said.
“Becauseofthedangers involved, people acting unpredictably because they aren’t sober, it isn’t always easy to get people to patrol. But saying that, it was a great pleasure to serve my community, and as difficult as it was, there were also many success stories.”
He recalled assisting youngsters caught with drugs to quit or overcome their addiction. “I was even prepared to take them in my bakkie to rehab. I also got them involved in learnership programmes, and they man-
aged to stop using drugs. I think I got a lot of respect from the com-
munity for that. I also think people respond to us because they see we are actively doing something at a time when the Metro police are not pa-
trolling our areas.”
While he would be stepping down as chair, he would still be working with the neighbourhood watch in a “behind-the-scenes” role. “People often ask me what I’ve got out of this, and I always tell them my reward is to see smiles on people’s faces if we help them. I always look forward to our annual Christmas party where we bring joy to hundreds of youngsters. That’s been very special.”