In a bid to keep recreational parks safe and usable for communities the City of Cape Town is rolling out its Park Buddy initiative. The campaign is designed to encourage communities to take ownership and assist with the supervision and maintenance of the City’s parks. A group of park buddies from within a particular community looks after the park. They act as a link between the City the community and are responsible for reporting any defects or vandalism. During the launch of the programme in Khayelitsha on Thursday 18 August, a total of 58 park buddies were introduced. They will be responsible for looking after various parks around the City, including the Mandela Smart Park, which had been severely vandalised during the drought season. One of the park buddies Joseph Majalisa said since the Mandela Smart Park was built it has suffered from vandalism.“At night thugs steal the fence, gym equipment and the turf to sell it to the community whom the park was meant for,” said Majalisa. He added that they even use the park to smoke drugs and drink alcohol in front of children because they know there is no security, and the community is not doing anything to stop them.Majalisa said he is happy to be part of the park and he hopes to make a difference.Ncumisa Vava, a park buddy from Langa, said they try their best to look after the parks but it was a monumental task.Vava said she works with her friend, Asanda Titus, to look after seven parks in Langa. She blamed the community for using the park as a dumping site and called for fencing of the facilities. Mayco member for community services and health Zahid Badroodien, said security of the parks is part of their long term plans.He said the City spends a lot of money, which can be spent on other things, on security. Badroodien said the idea behind the campaign is to have people that live in the communities close to the parks and their duties are to keep the parks tidy, ensuring that the equipment is correctly used and reporting any broken or defective components of the park.