Watches welcome new safety act

KAYLYNN PALM

The Mitchell’s Plain Neighbourhood Watch has welcomed the new Community Safety Act, which comes into effect in June and is aimed at professionalising neighbourhood watch groups and ensuring they are properly accredited (“Watches formalised”, Plainsman, April 6).

Ewald Botha, spokesperson for Community Safety MEC Dan Plato, said the Community Safety Act is the first of its kind for any province in the country and that it would be the first time that neighbourhood watches are provided for in any legislation.

“As stated in the act the neighbourhood watch will have to register with the department of Community Safety, that’s compulsory. The admin will also be done by them but we will always be involved,” said Daniel Davids, chairperson of the Mitchell’s Plain Neighbourhood Watch.

“There has been confusion about being part of the Community Police Forum (CPF). We are not separate, we still fall under the CPF and are working towards a common goal – fighting crime,” he said.

Mr Davids said there are eight sectors in the Mitchell’s Plain policing precinct (excluding Lentegeur, which has its own police station). These eight sectors are Westridge, Portland, Rocklands, Beacon Valley, Eastridge, Tafelsig East, Tafelsig West and Hyde Park, which comprise a total of 30 blocks.

“We are encouraging communities to take a stand against crime. If they are keen on joining, there is a registration and screening process.

So please do contact your neighbourhood watch executive. There are eight for each area,” he said.

Mr Botha said the act will help to increase safety in the province through targeted interventions based on sound information and operations, driven by the entire safety fraternity.

“The accreditation and professionalisation of the neighbourhood watches envisaged in the Community Safety Act will help standardise the activities of, reporting by, and support provided to the dedicated volunteers who constitute our neighbourhood watches and who selflessly stand in service of their communities to help make them safer through visible crime deterrence activities,” he said.

Mr Botha said the legislation was passed in 2013 and different sections have been promulgated since then.

The final set of regulations will be printed in the Government Gazette by the end of June and will see the act being implemented in its entirety.