Mayor of Cape Town Patricia de Lille called for the community to support the fight against drug abuse and crime.
Ms De Lille was speaking in Samora Machel, Philippi, on Monday, during the handover of equipment to the area’s neighbourhood watch, the Ikamva Peacemakers, who received the 2015 Neighbourhood Watch of the Year award.
The mayor praised the Ikamva Peacemakers for their sterling work.
The equipment included two-way radios, jackets, torches, bicycles and whistles. The handover received much applause from those who attended the event.
The mayor encouraged the Ikamva Peacemakers to continue their good work.
“As a Capetonian, I couldn’t be more proud of the Ikamva Peacemakers. They are the response to the call of concerned parents who were worried about the safety of their children going to and from school.
“The parents and teachers in this area were also worried about their children being at risk of falling into drugs and gangsterism. The parents wanted to protect their children from all the pitfalls which could prevent them from reaching their bright futures. We all know that drugs and crime rob our children of their future. Children are a gift from God therefore we must nurture them and look after them, protect them,” she said.
She praised IKamva for its role in strengthening ties in the community between the police, community policing forum (CPF), and the street committees. She said it was great that they had created a network and coordinated their efforts to ensure safety.
She also thanked the Nyanga police station commander Bridgadier Vuyisile Ncatha, for supporting the Ikamva Peacemakers.
“I have been told that he often personally joins them on Friday and Saturday nights when they patrol. Together they conduct searches in gang dens and taverns, confiscating drugs and guns and performing citizens arrests. Thank you for leading by example and prioritising the important work being done here on the ground. We know that there is only so much we can do to within our limited mandate. This means that everyone has a role to play, especially communities,” she said.
Ms De Lille was joined by the City’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith.
Mr Smith said the City’s safety and security directorate has trained 5 400 neighbourhood watch members and equipped 5 000 members as part of a R5.3 million investment into empowering communities to take back their streets.
He called on people to work with the government and stop politicising everything. He said his department will soon introduce incentives to neighbourhood watches. “We will be handing over a cash donation to an individual. We are doing something quite unique than other provinces. We recruit neighbourhood watch members into the City’s Law Enforcement Auxiliary Service (reservists or ‘specials’ as they are known). Many of these members will be recruited to be police reservists,” he said.
The Ikamva Peacemakers are 50 members of the community who patrol in the Samora Machel, Kosovo and Vlei informal settlements. During the week, they mainly protect school children en route to school and home, and monitor five schools in the area.
Chairman Thembela Jacobs said they are doing a good job but there are still challenges. He said he was thankful to the City for the equipment. “We are excited with the help. But we still need more help. There are bushes that we hope to cut down. We also want to cut down the number of murders that are happening in Kosovo and Browns Farm. That contributes to Nyanga badly,” he said.