Stephen Sherry and Michael Lategan, two law enforcement volunteers from the far south, have been recognised by the City of Cape Town for their hard work and dedication.
Aimee Kuhl, councillor for ward 64, handed over certificates of appreciation to the pair last week in acknowledgement of the roles they play in their community and further afield.
“Against the backdrop of politically-motivated unrest and a severely under-resourced police department, it is ordinary South Africans like them who make a huge difference,” she said.
Sherry said that despite having enough law enforcement work to keep him busy every day of the week, he has managed to find a healthy balance between his day job, home life and volunteer work.
“It can become quite taxing (but) it gives you a sense of pride when you can see the tangible results of what you’re doing. We can see the difference – we can see the community getting cleaner and parks getting safer for kids to play in again,” he said.
Lategan, who works closely with Sherry, added: “The highlight is being recognised as a contributing part of the law enforcement in the community and by other law enforcement agents.”
The two men volunteer in their local communities of Fish Hoek, Muizenberg and Simon’s Town, but also where needed, which can be in Diep River or even further.
Sherry said: “It entails serving the community. We’re like a neighbourhood watch except we carry the powers of a full officer. Where neighbourhood watches are the eyes and ears, we take it one step further and we get hands-on and do a little bit more. We are able to serve the community in terms of bylaws; the issuing of fines where bylaws are being transgressed and more.”
He adds the backing of the City is the support they need in a sometimes thankless job. “The councillor has always been there for us and having her support has helped push us along quite nicely. It’s awesome for her to have her finger on the pulse of what’s happening on the ground.”
Kuhl says the work done by people like Sherry and Lategan is valued by the City and of great value to the community. “It is active citizenship like this that unites us where there are constant forces trying to deliberately divide us.”