Rebuilding the community, step by step

2020-01-21 06:00
A safe park for the youth of Gatesville to play and have fun in is part of the plan of the Gatesville Neighbourhood Watch to make the area a safe environment.

A safe park for the youth of Gatesville to play and have fun in is part of the plan of the Gatesville Neighbourhood Watch to make the area a safe environment.

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Reclaiming and rebuilding Gatesville to the standard of a safe living environment is the aim of the Gatesville Neighbourhood Watch (GNW).

GNW was established by five women and a man to eradicate crime in the area in November 2016.

“GNW is affiliated with the Athlone Community Policing Forum, Athlone police and the department of community and safety in the City of Cape Town. The GNW has started a seniors club, a walking bus, a youth club, an exercise programme, a women empowerment forum, a tenants’ committee and various feeding schemes,” says Fowzia Veerasamy, chair of the GNW.

The group works closely with Aslam Cassiem, councillor for ward 46. The idea behind all of these community organisations is to keep residents active and also to assist through different apps of the GNW.

“We want all the residents to live a healthier lifestyle and to connect with people from different backgrounds, rich and poor, and different religions. To do this, we organised for a clean-up of Gatesville to be held on Sunday 26 January. We will meet at Rylands High School. Besides Cassiem, the Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith and other Mayco members will be attending,” Veerasamy says.

The Gatesville women empowerment forum treats seniors to breakfast twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays, helping them to take their medication after a healthy meal.

“All these expenses come out of our own pockets and we do it in conjunction with the walking bus which also does the breakfast meals for the kids. The tenants’ committee is an organisation that assists flat-rental residents with various housing issues. It was through the committee’s affiliation with the Development Action Group that I was awarded the housing learnership in Berlin, Germany, last year. As a result of the learnership, tenants’ rental arrears were scrapped and the rent of seniors living in Gatesville flats was frozen for two years,” she says.

The senior club operates every Wednesday at Rylands Civic Hall. Seniors from Gatesville as well as surrounding areas join in for exercise, outings, recreation, arts and crafts, and games.

For the younger generation, the youth club offers various programmes to stimulate them, especially in modern technology, old-school games, outings and interactions with positive role players to build self-esteem.

“Although GNW is predominantly about safety and security, we see to C3 complaints (a form for service requests and complaints) in the Gatesville area.

“We have also organised successful Women’s Day events and various other initiatives to better our community,” she says.

The clean-up is the first of the GNW’s projects for 2020. Its AGM will be held on Tuesday 18 February and on Saturday 29 February it will host a heart2heart show for women only, to relax and just be a woman.

The show will be held from 18:00 to midnight and tickets are R100 per person.

Veerasamy says the GNW and all organisations under its umbrella have held various programmes and projects with great success.

“We were recently joined by Ursula Naidoo, the oldest and most active member, and Ghouwa Kannemeyer, the patrol-co-ordinator.

“Kannemeyer is very stern and straight to the point. All weapons confiscated since she joined was due to her ability to know when perpetrators have a weapon on them, giving us members the satisfaction of safety,” she says.

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