Mitchell’s Plain police’s Proactive Team sowed seeds of kindness by donating food parcels to households they had identified as being in need.
This comes amidst the national Covid-19 lockdown, during which some families have taken financial knocks, leaving them unable to meet their basic needs.
There have also been claims of police brutality, incidents of residents throwing stones at them, mistrust in the police and gangsters taking advantage of the community’s poverty.
Earlier this year station commander Brigadier Cass Goolam handpicked team members to bring down crime in identified hot spots.
They focused on confiscating firearms and drugs in crime hot spots like Tafelsig and Eastridge.
On Thursday May 5, they followed their own mandate to “bless” five households with parcels that included rice, noodles, cooking oil, maize, sugar, rice, soya, vegetables,soap and toilet paper.
They had joined financial forces to put together the parcels and had discussed who the recipients would be.
Brigadier Goolam said it was the team’s initiative, one that he was quite honoured to participate in and at least nominate a household.
He had nominated Ruwayda Johaar and Rashaad Swain, the grandparents of Lamees Samsodien, 10, in Tafelsig.
Ms Johaar was shocked to have police officers knocking on her door on Thursday May 7.
“Ma my vader. Wat maak julle hier? Is iets verkeerd,” she asked.
Ms Johaar said Lamees and her four siblings have been with them for more than seven years, since the court gave her custody of them because their parents abused drugs.
Brigadier Goolam has silently been supporting Lamees and kept in touch via police reservist and missing persons volunteer Shakiera Hardien, who looked after the little girl before the matter was heard in court.
“She is quite a bright kid but we have come to know that her siblings are with her and that the family is struggling a bit,” he said.
Brigadier Goolam said the team’s hearts spoke to them and that they had identified households in need of support during their shifts.
The first house belonged to a boy who lived in Beacon Valley with his five siblings, mother, aunt and cousins.
Constable Donovan Cloete said he always sees the boy playing in the road and that they wanted to encourage him and his siblings to stay in school.
“Ons het vandag gevoel ons wil hier kom and in julle harte in klim. Julle harte steel en om julle kos kaste vol te maak.”
He said gangsters prey on the needs of the community.
Constable Cloete said the gangsters put groceries in the cupboards and then expect the family to hide things in return.
He said they did not expect anything in return but to bless the house and encourage families to use this handout as a stepping stone to better their lives.
Ebrahiema Nicolls, 53, from Tafelsig, whose wife, police reservist Nuraan Daniels, 46, died in 2013, said he appreciated the gesture.
His granddaughter Nuraan, 5, cried when the police entered their family home.
She had witnessed the police search people in her road a while back.
Mr Nicolls consoled her to say that “it is okay. They are not here to hurt us. They are our friends.”
He said people were quick to gossip and would perhaps spread rumours that he was selling drugs.
However, he added: “This was a pleasant surprise.”
Another recipient, pensioner Elizabeth Jacobs, from Beacon Valley, was close to tears when the police walked into her home with food.
She lives with her great-granddaughter and granddaughter, who worked at the cinema at Liberty Promenade Mall but due to the lockdown was not working.
Ms Jacobs had been to the school close by four times but was turned away.
“Julle kom amper soos julle gestuur is,” she said.