Safety in numbers

  • 21 Aug 2020 | by Western Cape Department of Community Safety

Safety in numbers – Blog

The WCG Whole of Government Targeted Hotspot Plan works to change individual and community behaviour to slow the spread of COVID-19 in high-population, high-transmission areas. Community Safety, in partnership with lead departments and other spheres of government, has taken proactive measures to protect communities and save lives.

The Western Cape is envisioned as a place where people, both residents and visitors, feel safe and live free of fear as a cohesive community. All spheres of government are held accountable to ensure the safety and security of communities. The Department of Community Safety emphasises, further to this, that safety is the responsibility of all citizens.

Our vision of a safe Western Cape cannot be achieved in isolation. Community consultation and strong strategic partnerships with key safety stakeholders, including community structures, are critical to the success of any safety project, including our Targeted Hotspot Plan.

“Hotspots are typically characterised by poverty, unemployment and lack of awareness of the dangers of COVID-19.”

The prevention of rapid community COVID-19 transmission is a national priority. “Hotspots” of rapid community transmission have been identified, where communities live in densely populated areas under challenging living conditions. Hotspots are typically characterised by poverty, unemployment and lack of awareness of the dangers of COVID-19.

The Department of Community Safety aims to facilitate funding and support for accredited neighbourhood watch (NHW) structures in COVID-19 hotspot areas through to 31 December 2020, with a possibility of extending. This includes the deployment of Chrysalis Academy graduate volunteers to these areas and Forty-two accredited NHW structures assisting with the COVID-19 response.

Handover of posters from Minister Albert Fritz to KDF Chairperson Ndithini Tyhido. 

In collaboration with WCG lead departments, the City of Cape Town and the Khayelitsha Development Forum, the Department has also initiated the planning and implementation of the COVID-19 hotspot relief campaign which will take place in conjunction with regular patrolling. The campaign will entail the promotion of social distancing and the five golden rules of good hygiene by NHW groups and Chrysalis volunteers.

To date, the activities implemented in consultation and partnership with various role players and the sharing of valuable information have been well received. However, this is an ongoing process and community support and cooperation is welcomed in order to make a considerable change, particularly in Khayelitsha.

Chrysalis graduate volunteer training presented by Doctors Without Borders

Albert Fritz, Minister of Community Safety, has supported the efforts of all role players to promote change in Khayelitsha.  This was evident during a press briefing on Chrysalis youth graduates, marking their deployment to the Khayelitsha targeted COVID-19 hotspot in June.  Minister Fritz said, “The deployment of Chrysalis graduates in Khayelitsha has been ensured by working in partnership with the Khayelitsha Development Forum (KDF), Chrysalis Academy, the Department of Health, and Doctors Without Borders (MSF). These crucial partnerships play a massive role in ensuring that our graduates are adequately trained and prepared to help flatten the curve in the most affected communities.”

A total of 60 Chrysalis graduates are deployed at various shopping centres and community health facilities. They are tasked to create COVID-19 awareness by encouraging the community members to adhere to social distancing protocols, wash or sanitise hands regularly, and wear masks.

The Echo Accredited NHW was one of the groups to hit the ground running after receiving their starter kits, with activities like COVID-19 awareness programmes. Echo is a group deployed on the DOCS Safety Improvement Volunteers Project Programme.

In July, Minister Albert Fritz, handed over 15 starter kits to NHW structures, signaling the beginning of the NHW Safety Improvement Volunteers Project with COVID-19 relief measures in Khayelitsha. The programme will be expanded to support an additional 19 NHWs in the Eastern, Tygerberg, Klipfontein and Southern hotspot areas in order to assist in creating safer communities during the pandemic.

The Department of Community Safety, together with its safety partners, has one mission: to change behaviour and interrupt the chain of COVID-19 transmission.