Six neighbourhood watches in Samora Machel and surrounds have received reflective winter jackets and other gear from ward councillor Lungisa Somdaka and the City.
At the handover, at the Samora Machel community hall on Friday April 14, Mr Somdaka praised the patrollers and urged everyone in the community to aid the fight against crime.
“This is a way to recognise the people that walk our streets, people that stand in the corners to combat crime. We decided that with a portion of ward allocation money, let us buy the jackets because winter is here. We are blessed to still have people who are prepared to try to fight crime,” he said.
Apart from 75 jackets, the Heinz Park, Ward 88, Kosovo, Ward 32, Samora Machel and Ikamva watches also received ten bicycles and some whistles.
Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith urged anyone with information about crime to come forward.
“We must all be proud to be impimpi (informers),” he said. “Criminals harm us, they hurt our children, our families and hurt us. We shouldn’t sit and fold arms for fear that we are snitches.”
There were many opportunities for watch volunteers to improve themselves, such as through firefighting and first-aid courses, and he added that they should take priority for expanded public works programme (EPWP) jobs.
Local police officer Constable Siviwe Gaqa said it was hard to patrol the area because of potholes and a lack of streets in the informal settlements, but the watches played a vital role by acting as the eyes and ears of the community, and their presence helped to reduce crimes such as muggings.
“We are delighted to have them in our midst,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of all the neighbourhood watches, Nolubabalo Madonono praised the ward councillor for his efforts.
She said she had joined the watch in 2021 after seeing that crime was rising in Samora Machel.
“The equipment will make a difference, and it will be easier for the community to recognise us. It is winter now so the jackets will be helpful.”
She urged others to join the watch.