More volunteers make centre safer

2018-05-15 06:01
Some of the safety volunteers who are deployed in the Town Centre. PHOTO: Ashley Potts

Some of the safety volunteers who are deployed in the Town Centre. PHOTO: Ashley Potts

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For the next two months, commuters and customers of the Town Centre will see an increased presence of yellow jackets thanks to an extended partnership between the City of Cape Town and the Mitchell’s Plain Community Policing Forum (CPF).

“This is an annual project we have with the urban renewal office that got volunteers for the Town Centre. This time around it is not the traditional deployment during the holiday period,” says Abie Isaacs, CPF chairperson.

The deployment of the 44 safety volunteers is a sign of how serious the volunteer body is about combating crime, he adds.

Their aim is to look out for the safety of commuters and consumers moving through the Town Centre, and not the businesses.

“The volunteers are deployed in the Town Centre on a stipend basis and have gone through all the necessary accreditation processes including criminal checks. They are all regular volunteers from the Mitchell’s Plain precinct,” says Isaacs.

Their deployment started on Monday 7 May at 06:00 and will run until the end of June.

“We endorse the initiative because it speaks to the poverty relief programme as they are part of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). It is the same volunteers who give up their time year in and year out, and now the opportunity was granted for them to earn a stipend. We want to thank the City of Cape Town for making this possible,” says Isaacs.

“They are contractually employed by the City of Cape Town but they are still volunteers. While in the Town Centre, do not treat them negatively. They are getting a stipend but they are not getting a salary. We urge the community to embrace them and assist them with information.”

The volunteers work alongside the Law Enforcement agencies based in the Town Centre.

Isaacs says following the project, they will also look at creating a safety summit centred around the Town Centre.

“All relevant stakeholders in the Town Centre will be involved so that we can look at a safety plan for Mitchell’s Plain but focus around Town Centre,” he says.

The first partnership started in 2004 with deployment in the Easter or December holidays.

Richard Bosman, executive director for Safety and Security says Mayoral Urban Regeneration Programme (MURP) has been involved in a deployment project for community safety volunteers.

“ Various City of Cape Town departments together with MURP officials work to identify areas across the metro. The MURP team works with the Community Policing Forum(CPF) and existing Neighbourhood Watches to agree on identified crime hotspots,” he says.

“The Town Centre has been selected due to the crime situation as identified by police. The City through MURP interventions is there to facilitate processes and interventions aimed at ensuring safe and sustainable neighbourhoods.”

The initiative is based on the current MURP-designated areas which do not cover all of Mitchell’s Plain. Due to the involvement of the organised NHWs and CPFs the volunteers from the Mitchells Plain Police precinct are selected from sectors agreed on by the CPF and the NHW.

“MURP is guided by the community needs in the prescribed areas. Currently MURP is working with the relevant stakeholders to address safety issues in the Town Centre and is in the process of designing and developing a safety plan as per request by affected stakeholders and other role-players,” says Bosman.

Deployment will still take place in December.

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