SAPS must work with and support local Neighbourhood Watch Structures
The MEC of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, is calling on the South African Police Service to work more closely with local Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) structures. This follows a series of attacks aimed at NHW members, with SAPS being called out for not supporting local NHW structures.
Recent reports outline how a Delft NHW member fled attacks by a group of men who then proceeded to stone his home. SAPS reportedly did not respond to the call out. Previously on 25 September, a family member of a NHW structure was shot at multiple times while walking home. The Department of Community Safety has further received reports of similar incidents in Gugulethu, where a member was shot while patrolling.
MEC Fritz said, I call on the SAPS to work in a more coordinated and responsive manner with their local NHW structures. Ultimately, the role of a NHW is to act as the eyes and ears of the SAPS. Whilst the work that NHWs do in reporting incidents to SAPS does in fact lighten their load, NHW structures should not respond to crime in place of the SAPS. As per the Constitution, SAPS are the primary agent responsible for crime prevention. My department will through its routine assessments of police stations, inquire as to the level of support and engagement between local NHW structures at their SAPS police station.
A further two cases were reported to the Department of Community Safety with regards to the relationship between NHW and SAPS. A NHW member from Lentegeur was recently arrested whilst patrolling near a suspected merchants home. The Department has activated a Court Watching Brief on this matter. A similar incident was reported over the past weekend at the Tafelsig Base Camp.
I further support NHW structures’ calls, particularly within the Delft community, to extend the patrol of law enforcement in the area. To that end, I will liaise with the City of Cape Town on solutions to further safeguard the brave women and men who selflessly and tirelessly patrol our communities. Going forward, the Premier’s Safety Plan further requires that our approaches to safety should be led by data and technology. To that end, my department is rolling out the use of Microsoft Kaizala, a secure messaging and work management software application which allows collaboration with others in NHW structures, to ensure better information sharing and gathering, said MEC Fritz.
MEC Fritz added, In turn, I call on all NHW groups to ensure that they are accredited with the Department to receive the necessary training and resources which ensure the safety of our members and that they are fully capacitated to act as the eyes and ears of their communities.
Source: Government of South Africa