There are many unsung heroes who selflessly put their lives on the line just to keep their communities safe and do not get any remuneration for their efforts.
Neighbourhood watch members take to the streets in the early mornings and late in the evenings to keep their communities safe from criminal activities while most people are tucked away in their beds.
Mnoni Kente from Site C was among those recognised for their work, in the neighbourhood watch awards, presented annually by the City. The ceremony was held at the Civic Centre on Saturday November 12.
The 56-year-old from Site C joined the watche three years ago as he felt that he wanted to be counted among those who are doing great work in shaping the community of Site C.
Mr Mnoni was awarded an extraordinary commitment award and it never crossed his mind, not even a single day, that he would win an award.
When he joined the watch, he said they took a collective decision as community leaders to assist these members so that the community of Site C could become a better area.
But little did he know that he would encounter challenges which often put their lives at risk as they became targets because they are disturbing criminal activities.
Asked about the award, he said it meant that he had chosen a correct path in fighting for the betterment of his community.
However, he notes that this award has made him more humble because it is never about an individual, but team work.
“I have no precise words to describe how I really feel about this. I feel honoured. But again it is not about me but the gains of the community through our collective efforts.
“I took a decision to be involved when it became a problem for City workers to attend to our community’s problems and residents took a stand that they will protect them.
“I wake up early while many are still tucked in their beds because we start patrolling in the morning in these areas that we know are hot spots,” he said.
Mr Kente said nobody gets paid as it is a 100% voluntary service. He urged other people in the communities to get involved in activities that seeks to change their areas. However, he hopes the government could at least provide a stipend so that members could be able to put food on the table.
Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said neighbourhood watches often proved to be the first line of defence in their communities, and he praised those who worked all day and then still went out at night to patrol their streets.
“The battle against crime can be won. There is a great deal that we need to be grateful to you for, not just for the ones we catch but everything you do to prevent crime. You are a source of hope for many. Don’t stop, keep doing what you’re doing,” he said.
Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said the City appreciated the efforts of every neighbourhood watch member, and watches had a big impact on preventing crime.
“In a caring society, we look out for each other, and the bond of trust that these groups build with their respective communities is incredibly valuable. The City of Cape Town is doing everything it can within its resources and ability to make our City safer for all residents, and you are supporting our efforts,” he said.